Mar
24

Faulty logic in the Joba debate

By

You might have caught Bob Klapisch, normally one of my favorite MSM writers, discussing the Joba situation yesterday. Honestly, I have no problem with people arguing that Joba should be employed in the bullpen, so long as they provide ample logic to back up their position. However, Klapisch’s logic doesn’t pass muster.

A question Klapisch has early on: “But who else in the American League can boast a Joba-factor?” He goes on to say that Joba “demoralizes” lineups, “softening them up for Mariano Rivera in the ninth.” Well, what exactly demoralizes opposing hitters? The fact that they’re completely shut down in the eighth, I guess. And yeah, Joba completely shut down teams over his 24 innings last year, allowing just one run. However, I’m more than doubtful that the ratio would rise over the course of a full season.

Even if Joba managed a herculean 1.30 ERA in relief, he’d still have company. If B.J. Ryan does indeed come back, the Blue Jays have Jeremy Accardo, who is rather sickening in the bullpen. The Indians have Rafael Betancourt, who posted a 1.47 ERA last year (and don’t forget Rafael Perez, too). The Angels have Scot Shields, who is usually a shutdown guy, last season notwithstanding. So right in the AL, we have a few elite setup guys.

(Of course, Boston could add a Joba-esque 8th inning guy if they moved Josh Beckett into that role. Ditto Tampa Bay and Scott Kazmir, Detroit and Justin Verlander, and Seattle and Felix Hernandez.)

Klapisch goes on to say: “The Bombers haven’t been this reliable after the seventh inning in more than a decade.” The Yanks were 81-4 last year when they had a lead going into the 8th inning. In 2006 they were 84-5 in that situation; 77-2 in 2005; 82-5 in 2004. In 1998, a decade ago, they were 93-1. So yes, there is room for improvement. I just think that Klapisch overstates the point here.

In other words, the Yankees foresee Chamberlain as their ace – someday. But that grooming process could take a year or two, which is why the Bombers were wise to return Joba to the bullpen last week and would be even smarter to keep him there for the entire 2008 season. Put it this way: Is there anyone in the organization who can clone his eighth-inning brilliance? Anyone at all?

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but it seems Klapisch is suggesting that since it will take “a year or two” to get Joba fully up to speed — at which time he’ll be 23 or 24 — they should eschew that option and just use him in the bullpen? I’m sorry, but that reeks of shortsightedness.

Furthermore, does it matter that no one can match his eighth-inning brilliance? The team ERA in that inning was 4.83 (5.16 without Chamberlain), but it wasn’t their wirst. The second and third innings were particularly terrible, at 5.56 and 5.33. The fifth inning was at 5.00, and the seventh was at 6.50. So it seems the team needs some brilliance all around. Of course, as a starter, Joba would be covering some, if not all of those innings in question.

Another disagreeing point: “Consider that Chamberlain is on a 140-inning limit this year. How many of those will be wasted as a starter when the Yankees are on one of their run-scoring binges?” Is that justification for starting Kei Igawa? Seriously, it’s a heap of faulty logic. You never know when you’re going to score runs. Joba will pitch in blowouts, and he’ll pitch in close games, just like every pitcher.

“When Chamberlain blew away three Blue Jays hitters the other day on 15 pitches, it was a reminder why he kept the American League to a .145 average last year…” Yeah. He blew away three Jays minor leaguers. Forgot to mention that, huh?

“In case anyone hadn’t noticed, Chamberlain’s ERA had swelled to 6.14 before returning to the bullpen this spring.” Repeat after me. Spring Training doesn’t count.

Klapisch finishes up by saying that “by all logic” Joba should be in the pen. Which is true if you count logic which has holes I can drive a Mack truck through.

Categories : Pitching

43 Comments»

  1. Bo says:

    Can we end this talk already?

    Ace starters are much more valuable than 8th inning set up men and closers.

    Who do you take?

    Beckett or Papelbon?

    Schilling/Johnson or Byun Kim?

    Beckett or Urbina?

    Pedro or Foulke?

  2. E-ROC says:

    NoMaas ripped Klapisch a new one, too.

  3. CB says:

    I like Klapisch a lot. He was completely off.

    Perhaps the biggest factor he didn’t consider is what happens to Joba in 2009 if he’s a reliever in 2008. Klapisch completely missed this point. Never touched on it.

    If he’s a reliever for all of 2008 and say he throws an absurd 100 innings out of the pen (which isn’t going to happen – 70 more like it but everyone likes to bring up Mariano in 96). Then he’ll have thrown fewer innings in 2008 than 2007.

    He’ll still be stuck with a 140 innings cap in 2009. So if that’s the case all of Klapisch’s arguments would be just as relevant in 2009 as they are in 2008. And then Joba should stay in the pen for all of 2009.

    At that rate he’s never going to get into the rotation because he’s always going to be invaluable out of the pen.

  4. Jon W. says:

    It’s nice to be reminded from time to time that many of these writers know less about baseball than the average fan. I know it can be maddening, but we should just accept that these guys are simple (often idiotic) fans, just like the rest of us. Maybe I’ll start to care if Brian Cashman tells us a setup man is more valuable than a #1 starter. Until then, I’ll sit back and laugh at the stupidity.

  5. steve (different one) says:

    what is about Joba’s role and Jeter’s defense that turns ordinarily intelligent people into raving lunatics?

    these are the 2 topics that are the biggest “wedge” issues for yankee fans.

  6. Bruno says:

    Boy am I glad he just writes about the Yanks and has nothing to do with actual decision making. What a tool.

    AGENT ZERO & PATRICK EWING?
    http://knickerbockerchatter.blogspot.com/

  7. steve (different one) says:

    Is there anyone in the organization who can clone his eighth-inning brilliance? Anyone at all?

    also, this is terrible.

    since when did the 8th inning become so damn important? is it really that much more important than the 7th inning? what about innings 1-6?

    there *may* be several arms that can approximate (admittedly they probably won’t be AS good) Joba’s 8th inning brilliance already in the organization. Melancon, Robertson, Sanchez, Cox, maybe Horne, maybe Ohlendorf, etc.

    there are close ZERO arms in ALL OF BASEBALL that can approximate what Joba might be able to do in innings 1-7. what does that tell us?

  8. pete c. says:

    I think everyone should look at the situation like, isn’t it nice to have these kinds of problems. Instead of, where are we gonna find a guy to do this particular job?
    The only problem is, at some point in time the Yanks are going to have to fish or cut bait, and decide where the’re going to put him to stay. If they have a wealth of starters then he goes to the pen to eventually take Mo’s spot. If not then groom him for a starters roll. The problem is, NY can’t seem to make up its mind on the subject. I believe that Joba starting in the pen this season and then going down to stretch his arm out for a few weeks is a mistake. Keep him in the pen all season or the rotation all season.

    • steve (different one) says:

      actually, i think the Yankees have made up their mind and have been very clear that his future is as a starter. they just need a mechanism to limit his innings this year.

      keeping him in the pen all season is not an option if they want him to start next year.

      keeping him in the rotation all year would be difficult, but maybe doable. it would require a 6 man rotation, which might put Pettitte and Wang off their schedules.

      i think some combination of bullpen and starting makes the most sense.

      the only question to me would be in what order.

      you could argue that he should start the season in the rotation, then go to the bullpen later. that would be OK, but as of right now, that means they have 6 starters.

      based on the current roster, i think their plan is a good one.

      to me, the most important outcome is that Joba gets to 140-150 innings this year. to do that he has to start some games. if that requires a few starts at AAA, so be it.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Pete C., the Yankees are not putting Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen to fill a job as you say, they are doing it as a creative way to cap his innings this season at around 140-150 innings whilst keeping him on the 25-man roster for just about all of the season. If he was inserted into the rotation from March 31 he would not be able to pitch all 6 months unless he has a maximum of 5 innings per start (and that’s not even including the post season). Do you want our bullpen to be working half a game every 5th day? With the bullpen-to-rotation plan the Yankees are able to enlist Joba in the bullpen for about 30-40 innings and then stretch him out in the minors for a couple weeks then make his return to the majors likely taking the spot of either Mike Mussina or Ian Kennedy (if everyone is healthy).

      Chamberlain will likely throw 18 or so innings in the minors as he stretches out (I am guessing because that’s the number of innings starters in ST like to throw) his arm for starting duties. Now if the Yankees want to get those last 90-100 innings out of Joba in the rotation, I would assume he has to make his transition into the rotation in the majors in July, probably the beginning of the month.

      So let’s review, 30-40 innings as a Major League reliever, 18 +/- a couple innings as a Minor League starter, and 90-100 innings as a Major League starter gives Joba Chamberlain about 140-150 innings in his 2008 campaign. BTW I chose July as his return date because I would say a pitcher makes about 5 starts a month and we would LIKE them to throw 7 innings a game, so that’s just a rough average of 35 innings per month. At that rate he would need three months as a starter to get to that 90-100 starter innings goal.

      Very rough, I know but it gives us some sort of idea no?

  9. Jamal G. says:

    I think anyone who supports the “Joba 4 Starter” campaign who finds themselves in a debate w/ the “Joba 4 Relief 4EVER” campaign should just ask them a simple question: If you have Mariano Rivera on your roster which pitcher would you rather have, Justin Verlander or Joel Zumaya?

    I forbid anyone to tell me they would rather have Zumaya, I absolutely forbid it.

  10. Chofo says:

    I don’t get when people say that the Yankees haven’t had a reliable set up guy in a decade. They are forgetting Tom Gordon. He was as good as it gets in the League for 2 years

  11. barry says:

    I guess if we go solely by Spring Training Brett Gardner should be in the running for MVP this season. The Yankee’s management seems to be wise enough to realize that Joba’s future as a starter, along with Hughes and Kennedy, are the type of pitchers dynasties are made of. Also the Yankees have to take advantage of Andy Pettite and Mike Mussina still around to help guide all 3 of the young guns. Those two pitchers can teach the big three more about pitching than almost anyone in the league.

  12. steve (different one) says:

    in 2002, they had Stanton and Karsay. 166 IP of 3.14 ERA.
    in 2003, Hammond and Osuna pitched 114 innings of 3.25 ERA.
    in 2004 and 2005, they had Gordon, who was fantastic.
    in 2006, Proctor pitched over 100 innings of 3.52 ERA.
    in 2007, they had Joba obviously.

    the problem isn’t that the Yankees don’t have a “shut down” 8th inning guy.

    the problem is that there hasn’t much depth past the top 2-3 guys in the bullpen, so Torre felt obligated to pitch those guys every single time there was a lead in the late innings of 4 runs or less.

    i think the Yankees have a LOT of depth this year, it’s just a matter of utilizing it properly.

  13. Haggs says:

    I like to make the argument team specific and year specific rather than make it a baseball wide question. In a vacuum, Joba to the rotation makes perfect sense.

    But to me anyway, the Yanks are a better team in 2008 if Joba remains in the bullpen. Especially when you consider that he will not be on the team for a few weeks during the summer as he transitions to the rotation.

    If there is no Joba-lite to fill the pen hole his departure will create, the Yanks could miss the playoffs this year. Of course they could miss the playoffs for a million other reasons, but having a faulty bridge to Mo in the second half would be detrimental, to put it mildly. IMO, none of the potential solutions to the Joba-less bullpen will be on the opening day roster. One of the guys waiting in the wings could step up and at least partially fill Joba’s shoes, but in those 24 innings Joba worked last season he grew some big damn feet.

    So, in a doomsday scenario, the Yankees miss the playoffs, and big mouth Hank thinks he doesn’t need Cashman around anymore, so he dumps him, and the course Cashman has managed to chart the Yankees on the last two years goes out the window. And the selling off of the farm for “marquee” talent begins. After all, they are opening up a new stadium next year.

    So yes, we all (or most of us) want to see Joba become the ace he was born to be. But the question is, at what price??

  14. Ivan says:

    While the bullpen is big part of a team, the thing you don’t want to do is overrated it.

    The yankees the last couple seasons in the postseason lost becuase of starting pitching not the bullpen. Teams have shown you can win WS with big starting pitching and faulty bullpen.

    To me Joba has to start, if he has the potential to be a front line starter.

  15. Goofy says:

    Why do writers continually ignore the possibility of the farm system helping the Yankees? It’s funny the Yankees finally have a farm that can help out the big club in many ways and it gets ignored by some of these sports writers. But when the farm stunk it was brought up adnausium. We heard how barren it was, how the Yankees keep trading away their prospects, how they have no internal help.
    Now that it is good guys like Klapisch and other like him act like the Yankees don’t have any internal solutions.

  16. CB says:

    This seventh and eight inning obsession is strange.

    It’s as if no one people don’t think that in the 8th inning the oppositions 7th, 8th , and 9th place hitters are going to come up.

    It doesn’t take a guy with 4 plus pitches to get out the bottom of the order. Having Joba in the 8th inning role is security but its also like shooting a mosquito with a howitzer at times.

    And the yanee’s goal is not to make the playoffs. It’s to win the world series.

    In a 5 or 7 game playoff series Joba’s value as a starter will be exponentially higher than his value as a reliever.

    If Joba starts 2 of the 5 game in the first round I’ll take my chances with moving on.

    • Jon W. says:

      I can see the point of leaving him in the 8th inning for 2008, if the starters really step up. But this is about more than 2008, it’s about the Yanks’ long term success. Not surprisingly, guys like Klapisch only care about 2008 and getting people riled up if the Yankees don’t win. He’d probably be screaming the loudest if the Yankees got knocked out of the playoffs early again because of poor starting pitching. No matter what they do, the Yankees can’t win in this situation.

  17. pete says:

    Am i the only person who actually likes the plan the yankees have right now? With joba in the rotation, they would have a 6 man rotation, so 3 weeks of joba in the minors isn’t going to hurt the team that much. Plus, as of right now, another steller bullpen guy doesn’t appear to have emerged (save for maybe patterson), so if we let joba do it for a while while melancon, sanchez, edwar, patterson, ohlendorf, etc. develop or recover, then we should be able to come out of May very strong in both rotation and bullpen, and we won’t have absolutely sucked through the first 2 months like we have for the past 3 years. Personally, I’m glad that it’s girardi, not Mike and the Mad Dog, who’s running the show.

  18. dan says:

    I don’t even think Joba needs to be in the minors for more than 2 starts, 3 at the most. He’s going to be pitching 1-2 inning stints out of the bullpen on a regular basis. So one day in June they pitch him for three innings. A few days later in a blowout (which happens often with this starting pitching and this offense) he pitches 4 innings in long relief. Then he’s sent down to the minors, pitches 5-6 innings as a starter. Five days later, he pitches 6-7 innings. If he doesn’t do well, he pitches another game down there. If he makes 3 starts, that’s about 18 innings. If he gets bombed and needs a third start in scranton, he’d only be away from the big league club for 20 DAYS, and be ready to pitch right when he got back.

    • whozat says:

      “He’s going to be pitching 1-2 inning stints out of the bullpen on a regular basis. So one day in June they pitch him for three innings.”

      I forget where I saw this idea touted, might’ve been here…but I think he should be used in 2-3 inning stints every few days out of the pen. Not like Goose, who’d throw nine innings in three or four days, but 2-3 innings every other day or every three days. Bring him on to get out of a jam in the 7th and close out the game, or in the 6th and take it all the way to Mo. Keep him at 40-60 pitches per outing. Then give him a side-session followed by an 80 pitch outing, four days off with attendant throwing on the side, and then boom, start him.

  19. dan says:

    And has anyone noticed that in ST, Melky has only 2 strikeouts and SEVEN walks?

  20. Bruno says:

    I’m afraid they’ll fall in love with him in the 8th. They should keep him OUT of that role at all costs. Joba should be the first guy to spot start this season. We ALL know EVERY team needs 6-7 starters EVERY season, even if everything goes as planned. Then factor in the innings limits on Phil & IPK, and there SHOULD be one on Moose too.

    Spots 3,4,5 need a total of 600in, no matter who they come from. 150 each for Joba, Phil, IPK, Moose would be best case scenario. Knock it down to 140 each, and that leaves 30in for Rasner or other starters, and the rest of the ‘pen. Not a lot of inn to spread out over everyone. This leaves some inn for the post season hopefully and sets up the ’09 rotation perfectly: CC, Joba, Wang, Phil, IPK.

    AGENT ZERO & PATRICK EWING?

  21. Rich says:

    Klapisch is a good reporter but as an analyst, not so much.

    If Joba doesn’t pitch 140 or so innings this season as a starter, it will retard his progress in each succeeding season until or unless his innings caps are able to expand into a 200 IP target. Consequently, delaying the process would be counterproductive.

  22. Travis G. says:

    i dont have a big problem with Joba relieving for a little while, as long as he IS moved back to starting.

    he should be the fireman. i’m sick of managers using their best relievers in ‘save situations,’ when the games are often decided before the 8th or 9th. up by one, Moose has runners on 2nd & 3rd with 1 out in the 6th, bring in Joba, and let him pitch the 7th too.

    the bullpen has NOT been the problem in the playoffs the last few years. the Yanks have played 13 playoff games since 05. they’ve had a lead in the 7th or later in only six of those games. they lost three of them, one by Joba, one by the starter (Moose), and one by Al Leiter.

    i didn’t look at the dynasty years, but i’m sure they had late inning leads more often than not.

    btw, when Joba returns to the rotation, what’s to be done with Hughes, who also has a 150 ip cap?

  23. Jamal G. says:

    Travis, the thing with Hughes is that nobody knows what his innings cap is going to be outside the organization. The problem is Hughes threw 146 innings in 2006 but only 110.1 innings in 2007 due to the hamstring/ankle injuries he suffered. So do the Yankees cut the plus-30 rule to about 20 innings or so? I think that’s the path they’re going to take, so maybe a max of 170 innings we can expect from Hughes this season, I would hope.

    IDK, I’m just trying to guess here, what do you guys think? 170 a fair number, or we talking a max of 160+ or the out there option of him pitching less than 146 innings this year?

  24. Jamal G. says:

    Colby Rasmus just hit a MAMMOTH HR, damn I love that kid.

  25. RustyJohn says:

    “Demoralizes opposing teams by softening them up”? Is Joba the equivalent to an artillery barrage before an amphibious invasion? Reminds me of Nuke LaLoosh “announcing his presence with authority”. I want to throw the heat….let me bring the heat…

  26. [...] Faulty logic in the Joba debate – Joseph P. – River Ave. Blues [...]

  27. I don’t feel Joba will ever be a good starting pitcher but I don’t feel like getting into it because people start throwing insults at me no matter what forum it is. So, I’ll leave it as that. Let’s just agree to disagree.

    • Joseph P. says:

      But you can’t say something like that and NOT back it up. Nothing we’ve seen to this point suggests that Joba can’t be a successful starter. So what do you see that we don’t?

    • dan says:

      If no one saw Joba throw 24 innings last season, there would be absolutely zero talk of him not being good as a starter, or talk of him belonging in the bullpen. If we step inside the way-back machine to July 31, everyone is talking about the ace of the future, not the closer of the future.

  28. Bruno says:

    Jamal G.,
    I’d say 150-160 for Hughes. IPK can probably go the most, maybe 170-180.

    Travis,
    When Joba goes into the rotation, it’s longman time for Moose whether he likes it or not. WE before ME.

  29. eric from morrisania says:

    This is just stupid all the way around. WHY MUST THE TEAMS I LOVE ALWAYS MAKE BAD DECISIONS!!!

    a) Splitting up Joba’s season into half-pen, half-starter is a recipe for disaster. Even if he doesn’t overextend himself physically and get hurt, which is very possible, you’re throwing away a half season of development for him as a starter. Am I the only one worried about his comments about his pacing and approach? I don’t want him thinking about dialing it up and dialing it down, I want him learning how to be a frontline ML starting pitcher.

    b) As has been stated, the eighth inning counts the exact same as the third inning, but here’s the rub: there are a few eighth innings that matter less than others – eighth innings in April and May. If you really wanted to use this inane split-season concept because Joba was so dominant in the uber-important eighth inning, have him start first and move to the pen second, when the pressure is really mounting.

    c) We don’t have 6 starting pitchers. We have FIVE. Mike Mussina is not a true starting caliber pitcher anymore. He’s been crap the last two years, his velocity and control are down, and he’s a headcase. This whole “start-in-the-pen-and-move-to-the-rotation” is predicated on the concept that there’s no room for Joba in the rotation now, but there will be later, which means that one of the other 5 starters will have crapped out and sucked so bad that he needs to get pulled… and that’s CLEARLY Mussina, and nobody questions that. So if we’re all counting on Moose to suck up the joint and open a spot for Joba, why wait for the dreck to occur? Put Joba in the rotation where he belongs. Moose is the longman, and he’s the insurance incase someone gets hurt or is ineffective (and the spot starter when we want to rest one of the youngsters). If this hurts his feelings, tough titties. Nice guy? I don’t give a s–t. Good father? F–K YOU, GO HOME AND PLAY WITH YOUR KIDS. You wanna work here? Do what you’re supposed to do. It’s a team, and you’re making 11 million dollars. Do your job.

    d) There are other, much better ways to cap innings. Have Joba, IPK, and Hughes all have 3 or 4 turns skipped in the rotation. Pull them early when they’re ineffective. With Moose, Igawa, Rasner, Karstens, and Chase Wright all available as cannon fodder, we’ll be able to pitch the Triumvirate less without taxing the pen, and the April/May/June months – plus the stretching out/resting bumps and bruises/setting up for the postseason times in September – are great times to throw an occasional bone to Jeff Marquez, Alan Horne, or Steven White. Hell, I’d be more comfortable going with a 6 man rotation for a month if you absolutely have to start Moose… even though he hasn’t proved that he deserves the courtesy.

    e) Not only are you unecessarily screwing with Joba’s development, you’re pushing back the timelines on Scott Patterson, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Britton, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, J.B. Cox, Mark Melancon, Kevin Whelan, Dan McCutchen, David Robertson, Humberto Sanchez, etc. etc. We have a ton of quality young arms who are (with the possible exception of Sanchez) unquestionably destined for ML roles in the pen, not in the rotation. Why take 20-odd bullpen appearances at the beginning of the season and give them to a guy whom you’re not planning on using in that role come September, when you have a whole lot of quality spaghetti you could be throwing at the wall in meaningless games against the Royals and the Rangers? We’re paying Mo Rivera, Latroy Hawkins, and Kyle Farnsworth good money to be the back end of the bullpen; let Hawkins and Farnsworth divvy up the 8th in the early big game situations and see if one of them can nail it down. Pitch all the other, non-Joba young guns in all the other pen-appearances, and see what works. And come July, if the pen is a disaster, you could either make a trade, or… wait for it… move Joba to the pen!

    What a concept.

    • steve (different one) says:

      He’s been crap the last two years

      wow, 197 innings of 3.51 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP is now “crap”. tough crowd.

      129 ERA+. 172 K’s to 35 BB’s. 4th best ERA in the AL.

      total garbage.

      • eric from morrisania says:

        Thank you for pointing out my oversimplification. It forced me to go back, check the stats, and see that I was mistaken. He wasn’t “crap” for the last two years. He was good in 2006. He was a crap the two years BEFORE that and the year AFTER that. So, yes, he wasn’t “crap” the last two years, he was just crap three of the past four years.

        2004: 162 innings of 4.59 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP, 98 ERA+, 132 K’s to 40 BB’s, 21st best ERA in the AL, behind Mike Maroth, Carlos Silva, Ryan Drese and Jon Leiber.
        2005:179 innings of 4.41 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP, 96 ERA+, 142 K’s to 47 BB’s, 28th best ERA in the AL, behind Kyle Lohse, Bruce Chen, Paul Byrd, and Gustavo Chacin.
        2006: 197 innings of 3.51 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, 129 ERA+, 172 K’s to 35 BB’s, 4th best ERA in the AL.
        2007: 152 innings of 5.15 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, 87 ERA+, 91 K’s to 35 BB’s, didn’t qualify for the ERA title. If he had, he would have had the 4th WORST ERA in the AL, behind Brian Bannister, Boof Bonser, Miguel Batista, Chad Gaudin, Tim Wakefield, and Julian Tavarez.
        Yeah, he’s a real beast. Do you think the 2006 season was a statistical outlier, or is that the vintage Mussina that we can expect this year, now that he’s about to be 39? Don’t you think that anybody who thinks that he can approximate his 2006 season should have his head examined?

  30. pete c. says:

    Jamal,
    I geuss i don’t get my point across as well as I should sometimes. What I meant was, if they want him to start then groom him as a starter; if they want him as a reliever then groom him to takes Mo’s spot when he retires. Whether we like or agree with either decision doesn’t matter.  I will say this if you read the interview the day after he came in, in relief, he spoke about the differance in the mindset between starting and relieving. It sure seemed like he was more comfortable with relieving than starting, at this point in his developement. But whatever the reason they’ll bring him into a game I believe they should commit to that and not change in mid season. Also I don’t think 18 innings in the minors will be enough, I wouldn’t be surprised if it took twice that but time will tell. So, let’s review, yes they are using him for a job. Mostly because they want to have someone they they can count on in pressure situations. If the Farnz, Hawkins or Ohlendorf can’t cut it don’t be surprised if he stays all season. And no, it doesn’t matter how any of us feel about it Zumiya for Verlander not withstanding.

  31. I think no matter which you go in the Joba debate, it’s all about playing whatever percentages you feel comfortable with.

    If you’re one of the “he’s gotta be a starter….. someday” crowd, you think that he might be worth 16-20 wins a year for 10-12 years, and you hate to see that kind of arm wasted on 75 innings or so every year if he becomes a closer.

    If you like him as a closer, you’re thinking “Geez…. if he becomes a starter, throws his arm out tossing 200 innings per year, would that have happened if he were in the bullpen?”

    If neither of those occur to you, then maybe you’re just going on prior performance and imagining what he might do in the future.

    But no matter what your opinion, there’s no guarantee he’ll pan out no matter which way the Yankees use him, long term or short term.

    Personally, I think he got a taste of being the big shot, and not in a bad way — crowds cheering, only having to perform for an inning, maybe two — and maybe he developed a real taste for relieving. You gotta admit, he took to that spotlight with no hesitation whatsoever, his aww-shucks-Nebraska roots notwithstanding. And that fist-pumping exuberance won’t play over seven innings as a starter. Maybe he just wants to be a reliever now. Sure seems that way to me.

  32. pete c. says:

    Me too Wolf.

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