To pitch or not to pitch

People like to criticize the Yankees. It’s just the way things are. I’m sure the Babe Ruth trade would have been criticized had blogs existed way back when.

So when the Yankees announce essentially anything having to do with Joba Chamberlain, there is always backlash. When they announce a plan, there’s backlash; when they say “nevermind” to that plan, it’s the same reaction. The Yankees recently announced that Joba would be starting on irregular rest for the remainder of the season (while going his usual ~six innings) in order to keep his innings count around 160-165 for this season. Much of the Yankee blogosphere expressed disappointment with this decision, to put it lightly. When the announcement came a few days ago that Joba would be starting on regular rest, but put on an extreme pitch count, there was a similar level of disagreement.

You can’t have it both ways. I personally agree with this new plan of shorter outings, especially with rosters expanding, and disagree with the old plan. You see what I did there? I agreed with one, and disagreed with the other. Unless you have a third option, you have to pick one. You can’t disagree with both and not have a better solution. I can’t even think of a viable third option, let alone a better one. In a well-reasoned piece at River Ave. Blues, Joe Pawlikowski argues along similar lines, calling out fellow Yankee-bloggers in the process:

Many of these same people criticized the Yankees when the plan was to spread out Joba’s starts over the remainder of the season. This brings to the fore an apt question: what, then, are they supposed to do? If the Yankees aren’t going to shorten Joba’s starts or spread them out, then what options do they have?

1) Pitch Joba as normal and shut him down when he reaches his prescribed workload
2) Pitch him normally without regard to prior workload

When I said I couldn’t think of any viable options, I didn’t count either of those as viable. Neither one is a smart thing to do–long term or short. Remember when Fausto Carmona was one of the best pitchers in the major leagues? And then remember the next season when he couldn’t get anybody out? Abusing pitchers is just not the smart thing to do. Having a plan in place to incrementally increase pitcher’s innings is the smart thing to do. If you have a better plan than the Yankees do, please share it. If you don’t, then accept it until you do.

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  1. Jack Bershtel said...

    What most people fail to realize is the confidential information that is not privy to us mere mortals in the baseball world. Joba has clearly shown that he is not a workhorse, neither physically or mentally. This potential relief pitcher needs to stay at that. His body nor arm can handle 200 innings a year and I would bet that the ownership of the Yankees knows this

  2. Dan Novick said...

    Why can’t he handle 200 innings per year? I can’t bench press 300 pounds, and if I tried to do so then I’d injure myself. But if I worked my way up to that, there’s nothing inside me that says I can’t. Pitchers are the same way. You can’t start off throwing 200 innings right off the bat when you’ve never done it before. The guys that try to do that get hurt at an alarming rate.

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