In the past couple years, reading The Sports Guy has gone from cool to, well, not cool. So I guess you could say he “jumped the shark,” but I still read his stuff and listen to some of his podcasts, even though the podcasts seem like a lazy way of publishing idle chatter with his friends and passing it off like it’s an article.
Anyways, he has a running segment where he calls up his friend Jack-O, who is a huge Yankee fan, and they discuss the ongoing developments in the Yankee-Red Sox “war.” Well, I find this segment entertaining and I usually listen to it when I’m at the gym. But Jack-O is pretty much out of the Steinbrenner mold and wanted to trade Hughes and Kennedy and “whoever it took” to get Santana and is perplexed by why they’d move Joba out of the 8th inning role. Worst of all, the Sports Guy agrees with all this, so there is no dissenting opinion.
On yesterday’s edition, not only was this same stuff brought up, but Jack-O also said he was terrified because he heard that Hughes and Joba would have an innings cap and how it was the dumbest thing ever. The Sports Guy acted stunned and wondered what it meant. How do two die-hard Yankee and Red Sox fans not know about the innings cap at this point? Doesn’t everyone know the theory and the reasoning behind it? I mean he calls himself “The Sports Guy” and gets paid to follow these things! Well, it prompted me to send The Sports Guy this e-mail:
Hey Sports Guy,
As a Yankee fan, I do enjoy your “weekly segment” with Jack-O, who I will say is legitimately funny. However, I have to cringe at some of the stuff he says and I don’t know if I can keep listening if you don’t set the record straight.
First, any young pitcher who pitches 30 more innings than he did the previous year, history shows, is likely to suffer from injury and /or performance regression. (And in case you want a heads-up for fantasy purposes, that means you Fausto Carmona) So (smart) teams now have an innings limit. That’s why Joba was a reliever to begin with last year even though he’s always been a starter. He could only throw approximately 30 more innings all year, so they decided to put him in the ‘pen. I can’t believe you’re not aware of this policy as the Red Sox do the same thing and that is part of the reason why Bucholz was shut down last year. That’s what the Twins did with Santana in 2003 (why they had him pitch a bunch of 3 inning relief stints early on).
Also, I am frustrated by this “keep Joba in the 8th inning” talk. Joba has 3 plus pitches (4-seam Fastball, Slider, Curve) and 2 that he’s working on (2-seamer, change). He has the potential to be the “ace” that all Yankees fans are crying for at the end of every season. Jack-O wanted to trade the farm for Santana and then leave a guy who may be the next Santana to pitch as a setup man? Do we want the next Roger Clemens or the next Jeff Nelson?
So the Yanks are doing what they have to: starting Joba in the bullpen to limit his innings and then moving him to starter.
-Brian, Hoboken, NJ