Yankees’ pitching coach Dave Eiland confirmed yesterday that “The Joba Rules” are officially history:
“He’s just going to go out and pitch and he’ll be the one who’ll
dictate when he comes out as far as getting hit or getting tired or
losing his stuff. He’s not going to have any restrictions, so Joe (Girardi) and I are
not going to have to go into the game thinking, ‘Oh, he’s got 85
pitches or six innings or whatever comes first.’ We don’t have to game
plan it out. The kid gloves are off, and he’s just going to go out and
pitch and he knows that and he’s going to come in and be all geared up
to win that job, as are the other guys. Competition should bring out
the best in everyone.”
Eiland added that he believed that the pitch and innings counts and kid gloves hindered Chamberlain’s performance as a starter, which is a drum I and many others have been banging for some time.
As for the competition Eiland mentions, the other day a commenter here — whose name I’m forgetting, sorry — made one of those points that are so obvious that I can’t believe people don’t say it more often: if the Yankees truly intended to make Chamberlain a reliever, why would they have stuck to the Joba Rules as slavishly as they did these past few years?
Indeed, it wouldn’t shock me if Brian Cashman had some super secret notebook in his office which has Chamberlain was already written down as the fifth starter. In permanent marker.
Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.
Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.
Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.
Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.