Eighth inning up for grabs this year?
Here’s an interesting article from Joel Sherman of the NY Post:
Unlike with the fifth starter’s job, the Yankees are comfortable going into the season without delineating a primary set-up man for Mariano Rivera.
It had been believed that if Joba Chamberlain failed to win the last rotation spot, he simply would become the main eighth-inning reliever. But manager Joe Girardi has said publicly that Chamberlain must earn that position, and several Yankees officials insisted to The Post that is not just said for effect or as a motivational ploy toward Chamberlain, a player the organization does worry about when he gets too comfortable.
Instead, early in the season, Girardi is leaning toward looking at multiple options and letting the results dictate how he proceeds. Is it best that Joba earn that role for now and for the future? Yes.
So, not only is Joba no longer a starter, at least for the foreseeable future, he might not even be the setup man this season. Given Joba’s work in that role in previous years, and his work as a starter last season, this fate seems somewhat remarkable to me (is Joba really just a run-of-the-mill, middle reliever?). Such a possibility is a realistic one, though, given the strength of the arms – David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves, Chan Ho Park, Damaso Marte – that currently surround Joba and compliment closer, Mariano Rivera.
Despite Sherman’s report, I still think Joba will end up walking away with the eighth inning job, as it seems strange for the Yankees to award it to anyone else. However, even if he is provided the job, Joba might just be on a short leash early on this season (nothing seems guaranteed).
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