When someone flops in a New York Yankees, oh mein GOT, (That’s German for OH MY GOD!) it is a spectacular flop. While it may be meant to bring light to the suffering and misfortune of one former Yankee, this decision ultimately lead to the downward spiral of two once-promising careers. Not just as Yankees, but promising careers as major league pitchers that went kersplat.
Ten Years Ago, Phil Hughes Replaced Joba Chamberlain in the Rotation
God do I feel old.
Ten years ago today, while I was halfway through the spring semester of my junior year at college, the Yankees sent Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen in favor of Phil Hughes. Hughes, who was valuable as hell during their run to the championship a year ago, was ELECTRIC out of the pen since 2007. Joba, meanwhile, had one of his most lackluster seasons at that point in 2009, going 9-6 in 31 starts, with an ERA well above 4.
Hughes would have an All-Star season in 2010, going 18-8, with 146 K’s in 176.1 innings pitched, to an ERA of 4.19 (not great, but very few have the ability to maintain excellence throughout the entirety of a season. Look at Severino’s 2017 and 2018). Joba would pitch his final full season before needing Tommy John surgery. After that, he was never the same pitcher. Even with the Tigers, Royals, and Indians
What I firmly believe screwed up Phil Hughes was the Yankees insisting on following “the Joba Rules” to try and preserve Hughes as much as possible. The point remains, you don’t shut down someone with double-digit wins on the season because you’re “worried about his arm” or any poor excuse. Hughes, when it was announced his season would end early in 2010 (his only All-Star season) was never the same again. He was inconsistent at best the remainder of his time in New York.
So, 10 years ago today, the Yankees may have had an unspeakable negative impact on not just one, but two promising major league pitchers.