21 Apr 2010
Apparently, Joe Girardi has named Joba as the 8th-inning guy this year. In other news, General Franco is still dead.
Once the Yankees moved Joba out of the rotation, the only logical spot for him was the 8th inning. By leaving the rotation, Joba became the heir to Mo. While there is a chance the Yankees could put him back into the rotation in 2011, I find it unlikely they will do so. Unless Joba bombs in the 8th inning this year, the Yankees would have a hard time explaining a decision to reverse course yet again.
What will be much more interesting is what happens if Joba excels in the setup role this season. Let’s say he pitches like he did in 2007 and dominates the league. Mariano is a free agent after the season and while the Yankees will certainly attempt and sign him, I don’t know how many years they are going to offer. Even if Mo pitches like he always does this year, he is going to be 41. I am sure the Yankees will offer him the biggest contract on a per-year basis, but will they offer him the most years? Would Mariano take a three-year deal from another team? I don’t know the answers to those questions, but Joba in the 8th inning could give the Yankees a hedge if they have to take an unpopular stance against a franchise great come November.