Are the Yanks prepared to wipe the egg off their face?

  • First, the Joba Rules would appear to have failed.  Some will say the Yanks messed with this kid’s development under the guise of “trying to protect him”.  Joba goes back to the bullpen and maybe that’s where he was destined to be all along, despite the protestations of lunkheads like me, who see greater value in high end starters than high end relievers.  Then again, maybe Joba would never be the high end starter that we envisioned but is certainly able to be the high end reliever, Mariano’s heir apparent.
  • Second, Hughes’ possible version of the “Joba Rules”.  The “Hughes Mandate”? “Hughes Rules”?  Will the Yanks do what they did with Joba, steadfastly believing they are right in the way they are doing things?  Will they change or tweak their methods or the way they count innings, more about high stress innings instead of the absolute value of innings pitched?
  • What if Hughes The Starter struggles once the regular season starts? Will the team yo-yo these two?  Will Aceves be the first one to be called to replace Hughes?  And if Hughes is in the bullpen with Joba, how good could that be (at the expense of the starting rotation)?  Remember, Hughes was ridiculously good last year in relief.
  • We discussed the Hughes/Joba Conundrum recently as well. What I mentioned then (Feb. 3, 2020):

But…. (deep breath)… did we really witness Joba’s true calling this past Fall? Coming in as the one or two pitch ace reliever who can eventually take over for Mo. There’s no doubting his success as a reliever. Ditto Hughes. Seems that most scouting types seem to favor Hughes as a starter rather than Joba, if given a choice. Hughes just seems more starter-like (calmer, composed, taller, etc.) while Joba just seems like a closer (emotional, hyper, pure heat).


At some point, these guys need to stop worrying about their roles and just worry about pitching. Sure, we could say that right now, that they should just worry about pitching, but it’s only natural to be concerned about one’s role on a team. And without having ever pitched, I wonder if the off-season/pre-season prep is different for a starter versus a reliever.

If Joba is in the ‘pen and Hughes is a starter in 2010, we’ll have to toy with Hughes in a similar way as they did with Joba, though we can only hope that the Yanks learned from their mistakes with Joba last year. And what does that say about “the Joba rules”? Do the Yanks have to admit that they wasted a few years of this kid’s development chasing a busted theory, or can they simply state that they think he’s best suited as a reliever after just one year as a starter?

This has all the makings of a huge mess.

All of this is just teeth-gnashing until the season kicks off.  We’re all sick of many of these same stories and debates.  I’m looking forward, as are you, to discussing the games, finally.  Soon, friends, soon.

About @Jason_IIATMS

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9 thoughts on “Are the Yanks prepared to wipe the egg off their face?

  1. Different topic, but I need a post on Brett Gardner's spring thus far.  Digging the OBP and defense, but everything else is slightly worrisome.  Thoughts?

  2. What should the Yankees have done differently?  Last year, Joba looked like a starting pitcher to a lot of people, and all things considered, he was an OK 5th starter.  The Yankees NEEDED him as a 5th starter, as Hughes was not effective as a starter.   We won the World Series.  Thank you, Joba, for helping us to a World Championship. 

    Where, exactly, is the problem?

    The Joba Rules were needed because Joba has had such a limited amount of time in college and the minors to develop his arm.  Brief review: Joba pitched 118 innings for two U. Nebraska teams in 2005, a partial season for Nebraska in 2006 (cut short by injury),  and part of 2007 for 3 different Yankee farm teams.  He had arm injuries in 2006 and 2008.   Limiting Joba's innings as a Yankee was simply common sense. 

    In what sense were the Joba Rules a failure?  Because Joba might not start this year?  OK, so then Joba becomes a starter next year (Pettite cannot last forever) or the year after that.  Or he's groomed to become Rivera's successor as closer. 

    I don't understand how any of this relates to eggs and faces.

  3. Ben: I've been swamped with work, but if you want to write something up, I'll post it.  Just include all sources.

  4. Jason, no.  The Joba Rules were about developing Joba's talent, building his arm strength and avoiding injury.   Looks like success on all three fronts to me, at least so far. 

    Are you measuring the success or failure of the Joba Rules based on Joba's performance relative to Phil Hughes?  That doesn't sound like a fair measurement.

  5. Larry, what you're saying is true but you're leaving out the most important part.  The "Joba Rules"  (a name implying they only pertain to Joba when in fact every young pitcher has innings limits) were enacted with the express purpose of building Chamberlain's arm strength so that the Yankees could allow him to throw 200 innings as a starter without any added fear of injury.

    If the Yankees stick Chamberlain back in the bullpen this season after all this, then it is a huge failure on their part.  However, some blame does belong to Joba.  Had he pitched better at certain points, it would have made their decision much easier.  But I think (or hope) the Yankees know that you have to give a 23/24-year-old pitcher with only 88 minor-league innings more than one full season in the big leagues before deciding whether he can hack it or not.

  6. Larry,

    You don’t think that if Joba is sent to the ‘pen, the Joba Rules won’t be viewed as an abject failure?

    That said, I’m sick of writing about Joba and Hughes and the #5 spot.

  7. The Yankees held “auditions” for the 5th spot.  They didn’t come right out and give it to Joba, although they probably wished he would have grabbed it.  Joba hasn’t pitched well, Hughes has, and if the season started tomorrow, we’d see him as part of the rotation.

    The expression “egg in their face” would be better suited if they gave it to Joba even with a poor Spring, and then mid-May turned to Hughes due to ineffectiveness.

  8. Jason, the Joba rules will be seen as a failure by anyone who regularly reads the NY. If Joba is anything less than godlike, he will have failed to live up to the expectations of many. He came up early (too early) because the Yanks needed help in a playoff push and performed like a dominant closer for 24 innings. He threw 100 innings in 2008, splitting time, and then threw 157 innings last year with a 4.75 ERA. There is value to that, from a 5th starter. If he can cut his walk numbers down from over 4/9IP he's a solid starter. He doesn't turn 25 until September. I understand this is a mess in the media, but from a development POV, the Yanks have a 24 year old with some success in the majors who doesn't have a spot in the rotation because he plays for the defending WS champs who are loaded.

    People love bashing the Yankees. It's almost as popular as baseball itself. The Yanks will always have every little non-story over analyzed to the point where there will always be something they did wrong. But it's not like Dayton Moore is running the team or anything. They will be OK.