But when the Yankees announced to day that Joba Chamberlain had a torn ligament in his right elbow and would likely miss the rest of the season, I couldn’t but wonder: What if there’d never been no Joba Rules?
More specifically, what if there’d been no need for them?
When Chamberlain first showed up at Yankee Stadium in 2007, a big corn-fed Nebraskan, I thought he had Next Great Yankee Closer stitched across his broad chest.
He had power, and he had attitude. Yeah, he was a bit wild. But back then, Mariano Rivera was, well, only 37 years old. There was time to mold and shape Joba, allow him to mature.
But no. The Yankees had to try to make him a starter. They wanted as much as Joba as possible and the best way to do that was to put him out there every few days and let ‘er rip.
I saw Rivera 2.0, they saw Nolan Ryan.
In 2008 and 2009, Chamberlain made 43 starts and pitched 257.2 innings. Sometimes he was strong but he was mostly erratic and frustrated.
The Yankees tried to minimize his workload with a plan known as The Joba Rules. It was noble, and I’m sure based on some semi-scientific theory on the amount a work a young arm can handle.
Well, scrap it.
Actually, the Yankees did it themselves. This season, Joba was back where he should have been–in the bullpen.
But now I’m wondering if the move came too late.
What if he’d been there all along.