Joba: “I think we retooled great”

Joba Chamberlain was at the Thurman Munson Awards dinner last night and gave Brian Cashman a resounding thumbs up for his offseason moves, mentioning the transactions that brought in Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson and Randy Winn.

“We’ve got different guys coming in who’ve got to fill different roles
and do different things for us, but I think Curtis is going to be great
for us,” Chamberlain said. “He’s going to be in a different role than he was in Detroit.

“Having Javy come back with something to prove, I think that’s going to
be big for us too, knowing that he came in [2004] and probably didn’t
have the best year that he could have, [but] knowing the year that he
came off last year.

“And Nick Johnson being here, a guy who can get on
base for us, and Randy Winn’s been at the game for a long time. I think
it’s just one of those things where guys are going to have to fit in
different ways and we might have to do things differently, but I think
we retooled great.”

Chamberlain also repeated that he is heading into the spring intent upon being a starter, which he also knew last year. The difference this year is that there are no more ‘Joba Rules’ or innings limitations.

“From the get-go last year, I knew that was what I was going to do,” Chamberlain said. “That
peace of mind is great. Going into it now, I know that’s what I’m going
to do, and I know there’s going to be guys fighting for it also. That
makes it even better for me, because I love it.

“I love the competition,
I love the fact that we’ve got to push each other and make each other
better. In turn, it makes our team better. We’re going to get after it
again, hopefully. I made 31 starts last year and I’ll make the same,
but it’ll be about 200 innings this time.”

Phil Hughes is going to be among Chamberlain’s competitors for the No. 5 spot, and while the two hurlers haven’t spoken since the end of the World Series, they’ll have plenty of time to converse and do battle in the weeks coming up.

“I hope he got after it and is ready for Spring Training, because it’s
going to be fun,” Chamberlain said. “I think he has something to prove also. He had a great
year last year in the bullpen, and I think he wants to come out and
prove something again this year. It’s going to be fun for us.”

One more note to share: Chamberlain was asked what changes, for him, between starting and relieving.

“The biggest difference is the fact that you know as a starter you’re going to have to face a guy three, four, maybe five times,” Chamberlain said. “In the bullpen, you’ve only got to face him once. You don’t really have to set him up.

“You don’t have to worry about, ‘OK, I got him out on a curveball his first at-bat.’ They’re too good – you can’t do it two times to them. That’s the biggest difference, the planning and the gameplan of how you’re going to get guys out.”

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