Phil Hughes Joe Girardi

Now that Hughes has been named the 5th starter, let’s look back at our February 16th interview with Brian Cashman to see if we can shed any light on the decision and what now happens to Joba:

SJK: On to the 5th starter competition — Joba Chamberlain lost significant juice on his fastball last year, in some estimates over 2 mph. How concerned are you about that and is that something which will weigh into your decision about who becomes the 5th starter?

CASH: Performance will dictate. He was inconsistent last year. He has completed his development program. May the best man win.

SJK: But, speaking of what you just said about sample sizes, how can you make a decision based on Spring Training?

CASH: You are forced to make those types of decisions. You take into account their prior history, but really no one is coming in with an edge. We’ll see what we see. Maybe someone shows up out of shape or pulls a hamstring, that helps make a decision. Maybe someone is throwing ball better than someone else.

SJK: Will Phil Hughes’ reported innings limits factor into the 5th starter competition?

CASH: No, it will not be a factor on his chances of becoming 5th starter. We will mandate what his innings limits will be and Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland will have full authority on how they would manage those innings – just like last year with Joba. They could truncate it at the beginning, it doesn’t matter me. It only matters to me if they exceed their limits.

SJK: Is the loser of the Hughes/Joba battle going to be permanently placed in the bullpen or is this just a 1-year situation?

CASH: There is no permanent anything. Your team has to be flexible. The great thing is we have guys who have the ability to both go in the bullpen and start. If somebody gets hurt, somebody’s performance suffers…Chad Gaudin can start and relieve, Sergio Mitre can start and relieve, Aceves can start and relieve, Hughes and Joba can start and relieve. These guys have the ability to succeed at both ends, some more than others.

So what do you think?