From Chad Jennings:
For the most part, general manager Brian Cashman has left all of next year’s questions unanswered until the organizaton’s internal meetings take place, but this afternoon he gave his opinion on Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.
“I look at them as starters that can relieve,” he said. “But I look at them as starters.”
Again, Cashman stressed that nothing is set in stone until he meets with his pro scouts, but it seems a good bet that the two young right handers will at least enter spring training as rotation candidates. Any innings limits, Cashman said, would not be significant.
“I would anticipate going into spring training with as much starting depth as possible,” Cashman said. “Plan on having a whole list of guys.”
While the Yankees generally like to jump a player about 40 innings per year, there are two different baselines from which that 40 inning clock can start. The club can either consider the previous season’s total as the baseline, or use the pitcher’s career high. It seems clear that the Yankees are using the career high, as further evidenced by their treatment of Joba CHamberlain this year. They allowed him to pitch almost 160 innings this season, despite the fact that he had only thrown 100 innings the season before. Conversely, his career high was either 112 innings in 2007, or 118 IP for Nebraska in 2005.
Based upon Cashman’s assertion that there will not be a significant cap on Phil’s innings, I would assume that the Yankees will be referring to his previous high as well, as he only threw 106 IP last season, leaving him near 145 for 2010 if the previous season was the baseline. However, his career high was 146 in 2006, meaning he may be allowed to exceed 180 innings. If so, the Yankees decision to place Hughes in the bullpen this season is further justified. He contributed mightily to a championship team, and will now be practically unfettered by limits going forward. This is very good news for the Yankees and those frustrated by the Joba rules in 2009.