Monday, August 31, 2009

Joba Rules Redux - Why Bother?

Look, we can all understand the Yankees trying to protect a talent like Joba Chamberlain, but what in the world can we make of the new Joba Rules where he starts a game, goes three innings and pitches just 35 pitches? Besides taxing the bullpen, what in the world is the worth of that?

In a game where Chamberlain finally managed not to walk half of the batters he faced, Chamberlain was efficient for a change and averaged only 12 pitches an inning. He had one inning where the White Sox bunched a few hits and scored a run, but other than that, his pitches were not stressful. Why wouldn't you at least let him go five innings?

The thing about this is that they are trying to save his arm and limp him along to the playoffs. But will he be able to stretch out those playoff starts for very long if you are regressing him to three innings per start?

Nothing about the Joba Rules seems to make sense. John Kruk on Baseball Tonight compared Chamberlain to Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. Both pitchers are the same age and have the same amount of service time, but King Felix has pitched five times the amount of innings than Chamberlain has. Kruk is fed up with the Yankees babying of Joba.

While Kruk is an old-school guy, his frustration is warranted. The Yankees fortunately have the luxury of botching this whole thing as they have a big lead in the AL East. But sooner or later, they have to start making sense of what they are doing with Chamberlain.


Steve G. said...

The thing I've never understood about the "Joba rules" is the need to make them public. I'm sure the Red Sox have guidelines about how they handle all of their pitchers; they monitor everything. Yet you don't hear about how Clay Buchholz is limited to X amount of pitches or anything. What is the incentive for Giardi and the Yankees to release the information to the media?

William said...

Fantastic point, Steve. I had never even thought of that angle. You never hear about Porcello Rules or Buckholz Rules or Hanson Rules, etc. Excellent point.

Josh Borenstein said...

Agreed. It's got to be kind of embarrassing for Joba to have these "rules" out there for everyone to see. I know he's only 23, but cut the umbilical cord already. He seems similar to Rich Harden. Great stuff, huge upside, but not much durability. At least Harden has come on strong of late. Joba has been mediocre, any way you slice it.

bobook said...

So what? Does it matter what Kruk or any of us think? If Joba is fresh and pitches brilliantly in the playoffs then this criticism is hot air. The Yanks have cushion, they won the game, the bullpen since May has been solid, and they've keeping an ace in the hole. Uncommon thinking is often met with criticism.

William said...

Interesting comment, bobook. We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.