Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Hughes Rules?

The Yankees have made it official, naming RHP Phil Hughes the 5th starter for the defending World Champs.

I don’t think it’s a bad move at all… if I were the Yankees I would basically be looking to keep Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen as the set up man and the eventual successor to Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer.

I have to admit I though that keeping BOTH in the bullpen would be a great idea, as anyone with a pulse should be able to be halfway decent for the Yanks and in the playoffs the 5th starter is redundant. Having both Hughes AND Joba in the bullpen could harken back to the 1998 days of Stanton, Nelson and Rivera when the Yankees bullpen was a tremendous strength.

In any case, I do think that Hughes is more likely to succeed as a starter. I don’t think Joba has the make up of a high end starter. He’s more of a “let it all hang out right now” type pitcher who seems to thrive more in short appearances. I do think he could be a very solid closer once Rivera finally hangs up his cleats. Not as good as Rivera… but then again no one the Yanks get will be.

The main concern for Hughes will be how many innings the Yanks will allow him to pitch. He only pitched 86 innings in 2009 (after throwing only 34 innings in 2008), so there is no way you ‘ll see 200 innings out of him this year. I’m guessing you’ll see a set of strict rules from the Yanks on Hughes. I don’t see him throwing more than 155 innings and even then it’s a bit of a risk and a hell of a jump. You might see Hughes in the bullpen by August no matter how well he’s pitching as a starter.

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