While the Yanks win in Baltimore, Hank awakens from his slumber

Restacking the rotation
A thought on Jorge

The Yanks won today, and as is often the case when the Yankees win, I’m happy not to nitpick the game.

I could write about how Jason Giambi is 3 for 3 with 2 HR and 4 RBI against Mike Timlin and 2 for 43 with no home runs and 2 RBIs against everyone else. But SG at RLYW did a better job writing about Giambi and his potential future in New York in this post.

I could opine about the silver lining in the timing of A-Rod‘s injury. His wife is due to give birth this week, and his quad strain can heal while he attends to Cynthia. But Kat O’Brien already wrote a whole story about A-Rod’s injury.

Instead, I’ll write about the words of wisdom that Hank Steinbrenner, quiet through the season’s first 20 games, threw our way this evening. Take it away, Michael S. Schmidt:

With the Yankees off to a 10-10 start, and with two of their young starters struggling, the Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said there was one thing in particular he would like to change: He wants Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees’ hard-throwing setup man, to move into the rotation.

“I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now,” Steinbrenner said Sunday by telephone. “There is no question about it, you don’t have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don’t do that. You have to be an idiot to do that.”

Here at RAB, we try to be a bit more diplomatic about it than Hank is, but the man’s got a point. He continued: “The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever. I had no say in it last year and I wouldn’t have allowed it. That was done last year, so now we have to catch up. It has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.”

Hank, for the record, also feels that Mike Mussina “just needs to learn how to pitch like Jamie Moyer.” And I agree; as I’ve said numerous times, Mussina simply cannot get hitters out by blowing them away with his 85-mph fastball. In fact, he’s gotten few swing-and-misses this year. Mussina instead must get by while command and guile. He has seemingly yet to embrace that.

But Mike Mussina aside, the good stuff here is really about Joba. Hank wants his hard-throwing power pitching throwing innings that count. He doesn’t want him throwing rather meaningless 8th innings in three-run games. Hank sees a rotation struggling with command, struggling with getting guys out, and he knows that a potential fix is waiting in the Yankee bullpen.

Right now, simply because of innings limits, the Yanks can’t rush Joba into the starting rotation. But the tide is turing; the Yankees will deploy Joba in the rotation sooner rather than later. And it seems to me that, as Hank professed his faith in Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, Mike Mussina is now on notice. Shape up; those footsteps you hear are from the 22-year-old fan-favorite will four Major League-caliber pitches under his belt.

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Restacking the rotation
A thought on Jorge
  • Matt

    This is some of the best news I’ve heard lately. I am so glad that they are not gonna keep Joba in the bullpen any longer than he HAS to be. I can not wait to see Joba the Starter!

  • matt K

    Do you think Mussina could do anything out of the pen?

  • JasperJ

    I can’t wait to see Joba starting games and dominating with his stuff for six innings every five days rather than his current work. I must say though that I seriously doubt the ability of a pitcher to throw 200 innings when he’s throwing 100 mph fastballs and 90 mph sinkers. I have to hope that for the sake of his arm, especially when people are saying his mechanics are poor, the speed slows. I don’t think it’s physically possible to show that commanding power and speed inning after inning, and start after start without something getting blown out in that million dollar arm.

    • Pedro

      I heard when he’s a starter he sits more at the 94-96mph range instead of the 97-100mph as a reliever.

      • zack

        Well, shoot, “only” 94? Can’t be a ML pitcher when you “only” throw 94 :)

  • http://www.overheardinnewyork.com NC Saint

    I agree with the basic premise – Joba as starter is a very good thing – but I see this comment as bad news. Going into this, the one good thing you could say about Hank was that, while he has a tendency to run his mouth and sound like a jackass, he is smarter and more patient than his father. He’s a Steinbrenner, but he at least makes some promising noises about the importance of the farm system, not judging Hughes on his first full year, etc.

    I’d still say that’s all true, but these comments sound more like crazy Big Stein to me. Joba simply couldn’t pitch a full season as a starter without creating a massive unnecessary injury risk. Everyone knows this, and it isn’t rocket science. There is no reason to think that he is in the bullpen for any other reason, or that Cashman didn’t plan to get him back to starting. There are other ways that problem could have been addressed, but there is no denying that he can’t throw 200 innings. Hank’s suggestion that shifting him to the pen was a ‘panic’ move completely ignores this issue.

    One of the biggest questions about the Yank’s future that this year will answer is to what extent Cashman will be undermined by another deranged idiot. As much as I’m delighted to know that Joba will head back to the rotation, this is not a good sign for the answer to that question.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      To assuage your fears somewhat, the Yankees are not run as a Hank-led dictatorship. Hal has an equal say in these decisions, and Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi lend their input as well.

      I do think Hank is right though when he says that Joba’s move to the pen was a panic move. Last season, it was a clear-cut panic move. The Yanks needed 8th inning help, and Joba’s stuff suggested that he could fill the role. Had the Yanks never moved Joba to the pen last season, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, ad nauseum, this season.

      • http://yetanotheryankeeblogger.blogspot.com/ Wolf Williams

        I don’t think panic is defined as “we need to win as many games as we can because we’re within striking distance of the playoffs, so let’s get this guy up here, have him relieve, and see if he helps the ballclub get into October.”

        The Yankees weren’t in panic mode when Joba was moved into the big league bullpen. They had fought their asses off all season to get into position to win the wild card, if not the division (which they damn near did, as well). Using all your assets to accomplish a professional mission is not panic; it’s good common sense.

        Was it panic when Torre had Mo pitch three innings in game seven of the 2003 ALCS? No. It was the right thing to do. Just as putting Joba in his best position to help the club, last fall, was the right thing to do. What were Torre and Cashman supposed to tell the players last season? “Guys, we have a stud down in the minors who we think could get us into October…. but we’re going to leave him there because bringing him up now would upset our plans for the next 3-to-5 years….. So thanks for your efforts fighting out of that 20-29 hole, but let’s pack in until next season…..”

        Moving Joba then was the right move; keeping him there to start this season was the right move. Is it time now to re-think strategy? Maybe. But I think it’s a more a sign of panic to abandon your plan just 20 games into the season.

        No one wants another disastrous April-May stretch like what we endured in 2007, but 20-20, with this ass-ripping schedule, is not a bad accomplishment. The decision makers will do what they must, but calling last season’s experiment an exercise in panic is not accurate, from where I sit.

      • http://2009 Haggs

        The way to avoid this discussion, or at least have it over by now, would be to have Joba begin the season in the rotation. Sure, a blown game or two in the 8th inning would have had everybody going crazy, but quality starts by Joba would quiet that down. Then, his move to the bullpen later this season would have been an automatic one based on his innings cap – leaving no room for second guessing.

        Now, they will do it mid-season, and for the first 2 weeks or however long it takes him to get ready, there will be no starts by Joba to offset his departure from the bullpen, and if games are blown it will be mass hysteria.

        I don’t think the Yanks panicked when they brought him up last season, I think they panicked this spring when they took a look at the bullpen without him in it.

        • TurnTwo

          Joba starting the season in the rotation wasnt possible with the innings cap.

          and if you started him at the beginning of the season as a starting pitcher, and he was in Scranton on April 1st so you could limit his innings for the first 2 months of the season, the fans wouldve went batshit crazy because he wasnt in the majors.

          • http://2009 Haggs

            I meant that they should have done the reverse of what they are doing now.

            Start him in the rotation, move him to the bullpen at X amount of innings pitched.

      • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        +2 points for the use of “assuage”

      • mustang

        OK
        Hank-On Brian Cashman: “I always told him, `I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should.’ He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things.”

        Hank on Santana- “The bottom line is, it’s my decision,” Hank Steinbrenner said.”

    • YankeeJosh

      Spot on accurate. I agree with what Hank is saying in this case, but cringe at him saying this. Think of the outrage here if Hank said he wanted Joba to be a reliever forever or if he starts going off on how the Yanks should have given up Hughes for Santana.

      The fact that we think he’s right this time is irrelevant. Having Hank speak up against the baseball people is a troublesome sign, especially so early into the season. Hopefully, this is a rare abberation, but I tend to doubt it.

      At least Hank doesn’t run this alone. His desire to win and Hal’s balance of fiscal discipline may make a good combination. At least I hope.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    Hank is a fucking pimp. I can’t wait to read the uproar by the mediotic Joba-to-the bullpen guys have to say this morning. I’m literally going to search through thick and thin for every fucking article I can find to read their response, oh this is going to be fantastic.

    So basically, Eat it Mike Francesa, Chris Russo, Jon Heyman, Joel Sherman, Mike Lupica, Bill Madden and Joe Morgan (just cause).

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    “…That was done last year, so now we have to catch up. It has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.”

    That quote right there puts me at ease because although Hal, Cash and Joe G do have a say in the matter I was still afraid that Hank would have pulled some dumb crap and try to put him in the rotation now which would screw with the innings cap.

    People in the media have been saying from Day 1 that Hankenstein has been a detriment to organizational dealing because of his public statements. I defy them to prove this so. Then again, when has the NY media ever needed proof to make such a statement on radio or in print?

  • Stylez

    With Hughes only throwing 14 innings his last three starts I’m thinking that he might be able to make more than what some people had predicted his cap to be 180 innings or 23-25 games. Say he gets rights the ship mid season and ends up with 27-28 games pitched…that leaves 5 or so starts needing to be filled, and 5 or so from kennedy’s left over, and 10 (lets say) from moose spot…That leaves chamberlain with 20-22 starts, so a beginnng june to mid june transition would be ideal and that should bde well for the ensuing run for the playoffs

  • Stylez

    now if farnz and moose can be taken off the big club b y this time it would open up spots for alby and patterson. To bad for Briton cause I feel he’s been shafted by the yankees

  • Scallionboy

    “Instead, I’ll write about the words of wisdom that Hank Steinbrenner, quiet through the season’s first 20 games, through our way this evening”

    So what do pitchers do, in the present tense? “Thregh” the ball?

    Somewhere, Red Smith is crying.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      And somewhere, people aren’t snide jerks when we make typos.

      • Scallionboy

        And somewhere, websites that have copyeditors on their mastheads get copyedited.

        And that, Ben, doesn’t qualify as a typo.

        Grow up.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          Grow up.

          Pot, meet kettle.

          • Scallionboy

            Not funny, not to the point. Your blog is great, but it’s riddled with typos and poor usage. Don’t bother to respond, Ben. If you don’t get it, you don”t get it.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    As Jamal said, Hank’s the f’m pimp.

    If this would have been George Steinbrenner 20 years ago, the edict would have been that the Yankees trade Hughes for Jamie Moyer.

  • http://riveraveblues.com JimT

    I know that folks love to hate on Kevin Youkilis on this sight so thought I would share his early season stats. Currently Youk leads the American league with a 378 BA, is tied for the league lead with 28 hits and is sporting an OBP of 435. He is doing this while seemlessly covering at third base for the injured Mike Lowell. I guess there isn’t room for a guy with this talent and flexibility on the Yankees. Youk just isn’t handsome enough, better to have the “slick fielding” Jason Giambi.

    • swo

      Early nominee for “Most Irrelevant Post of the Year”

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      That’s not at all why people don’t like Youk. And what does this have to do at all with the post here?

    • zack

      I know that folks love to worship Kevin Youkilis up in Boston so I thought I would share his early season stats from lat year with you. Through the first half of the year, Youkilis had a 328 BA, which got as high as .358 on May 29, had almost 100 hits, and was sporting an OBP of .420. He was doing this while seemingly covering for the ineptitude of JD Drew, Julio Lugo, and Manny Ramirez, and despite being a league average hitter to that point. Truly an all star reborn..

      But then a funny thing happened, Something that happens every year and seems to correspond negatively to something that happens to Robinson Cano at around the same time. All of a sudden, Kevin Youkilis, that “Greek” God of Walks, that hero of every blue collar Bostonian, reverted to, well, himself. Starting in June, his batting #s fell off the ledge, plummeting in every category so that his second half #s looked like a mean .238, .356, .391, a whopping 95 OPS+. Ouch. Avert your eyes! And, funny enough, this was nothing knew to those who followed the scrappy, hairy chined bemoaner of called strikes. For his career, Kevin Youkilis has an OPS+ of 78 in the second half. Egads!

      So, you’re right, there isn’t room for a guy with this “talent” and “flexibility.” In fact, you might say the have the same thing in the “more attractive” and “just as slick fielding” Wilson Betemit, who may not reach those highs, but also doesn’t reach those lows, and plays more positions, thus being more flexible. Of course, he could never live up to the image of the scrappy, blue collar, “dirt dog” image so coveted in Boston and that has turned the likes of Youkilis, Pedroia, Varitek, and Trot Nixon into Gods, but, you know, thats okay….

      • Whitey14

        Sorry for dragging this out Ben, I realize it has nothing to do with your initial post, but I can’t hold my thoughts.

        Zack, did you seriously just compare Youkilis to Betemit? Youkilis had a very nice 2006 and then improved upon it in 2007. We don’t worship him in New England, we appreciate him, and he earns that appreciation by being an excellent fielder (even though he has limited range) and by being the type of player who hustles and doesn’t give away at bats. He still needs to get used to the grind of playing 140+ games, which is more than was expected of him in the minors. Although his numbers dipped in the second half, I’m sure you were watching when he went 14 for 28 against Cleveland with 1 2B, 1 3B and 1 HR along with his 10 R and 7 RBI. Plainly put, they don’t win that series without him.

        Betemit had a future in atlanta until they decided to move jones back to 3B. He sucked after being sent to LA and he’s sucked since being acquired by ny. You’re right he wouldn’t make it in Boston and it has nothing to do with his scrappiness, it’s the fact that he strikes out every three at bats throughout his career. That just doesn’t cut it for a bench player and ny will soon cut bait on him as well.

        I can’t speak for yankee fans because I’m not one, but I’m guessing if Youkilis had come up a yankee, you’d appreciate him just as much as we do in New England. Even if he is ugly, goofy and has a weird chin.

        Also, it’s a little early in the careers of cano and Youkilis to be using phrases like “happens every year”. We probably ought to reserve that for guys with at least 6 or 8 seasons behind them so we can truly see their trends.

        • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

          haha, you’re so clever how you capitalize ‘Boston’ and ‘Youkilis’ but then write ‘ny’ and ‘yankees’ and ‘cano’. some kind of subliminal war you’re trying to wage?
          i can do it too: The NY Yankees’ Wilson Betemit is 3 years younger than boston’s kevin youkilis and has played 3 more positions – very valuable in a reserve. at this point Betemit’s not as good a hitter as youkilis but is certainly better than julio lugo (and more versatile), he of the career 88 OPS+ (64 with boston). boston would make that trade in a heartbeat even though Betemit is essentially a backup. see.

          • Whitey14

            Damn it Travis, I’ve been doing that for months now and you’re the first person to mention it!

            If the Sox traded Lugo for betemit, it wouldn’t be because they wanted betemit for anything, it would be to remove Lugo’s horrible contract and to open a spot for Lowrie. It’s nice that betemit is flexible and a solid defender, but he holds nowhere near as much value as Youkilis.
            I despise Lugo personally (he was in the past busted for hitting a girlfriend I believe. He does drive in runs and steal bases. Salaries aside, I’ll take him over betemit until betemit gets a full season under his belt and proves me wrong, which I don’t think will happen in ny as they seem to feel he’s better suited for a bench role as well. As for his 96+ OPS, not enough of a difference over Lugo’s 88+ and I prefer Lugo’s 174 steals to betemit’s 5

            • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

              can’t get anything past me!

              i’ll take Betemit’s age (26) over lugo’s (32). one is entering his prime while the other is leaving it. and what do lugo’s steals matter if he doesn’t get on base (boston OBP sub-.300)? Betemit is counted on merely as a UIF while lugo is your starting ss.

        • zack

          Actually, I did compare the two. And I stand by it. I’m not saying I would take Betemit OVER Youk, I don’t think anyone would, but more that the attention and hype Youkilis has gotten is grossly disproportionate for what he has done and is likely to do. Remember, this is a 29 year old who isn’t likely to get all that better as he is in his prime right now.

          If by “very nice 2006″ you mean an ops+ of 106, then yeah, i guess that’s”nice,’ but to me that is “league average” with another extreme 1st half 2nd half split-almost no power after the break.

          And come on, are you seriously trying to argue that he isn’t worshiped in Boston? There’s nothing wrong with that, look at Paul O’Neill. What it does though is overhype his true ability. Sure, he had a great series against Cleveland. But he had two crappy other series. Lots of players can rise up for a series. Look at Scott Brosius, I would hardly call him a great player (and he tends to get overhyped too), but he had some great post season series. Doesn’t make him something other than what he was.

          As for Betemit, as I said, I don’t think hes as good as YOukilis, but that comment was in response to the post above it, which claimed “there isn’t room for him” or some such. And I responded that the Yanks in face have a flexible guy, who, if given the playing time of Youkilis, could probably equal his OPS+ while playing MORE POSITIONS.

          • Whitey14

            I don’t want to sound sanctimonious here, so bear with me and I’ll explain the worship commment. Worship is what people did in yankee stadium on Sunday. Maybe people will disagree with me, but we don’t, or at least should not, worship ballplayers. Knowing what we know about prefessional athletes as a whole, it would just be setting us up for an inevitable fall. Maybe it’s only semantics and I shouldn’t make a big deal about it. My apologies.

            From my viewpoint I tend to root for the Sox more as a team than the individuals. I’ve rooted very hard for three particular Red sox players in my life: Jim Rice, Mo Vaughn and Pedro Martinez. Jim Ed never let me down. Not with off the field antics or by leaving town after saying he would stay if certain contract demands were met. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

            That being said, I think the point you were trying to make was that Youk is a fan favorite in New England and that we Sox fans hold him in higher regard than baseball fans across the country and you’re certainly correct in saying that.

            You make a great point about betemit being flexible, and that’s defintely valuable for a bench/role player, but I don’t think we’ll ever get to see if you’re correct about his full season OPS+ capabilities, unless he leaves the yankees for a better chance at more playing time.

            Youkilis does add more value to the Sox than just his solid offensive production. He is a Gold Glove First Baseman and he can slide across the diamond to fill in at Third Base when needed. I won’t bother to argue that he can play Left Field. Even though he’s done it, it wasn’t pretty and would actually cost him points in this debate.

            I expect Youkilis to hit .300, with 15-20 HR and 80-90 RBI. If he does that and continues to play Gold Glove caliber defense he’ll continue to suit the Sox needs.

            He is kind of dopey though, huh?

  • David

    Somebody should probably point out that Jamie Moyer’s always pitched that way, he just got a better at it over time. It would be hard for Mussina to re-learn how to pitch at age 39. Mussina looks done to me, but Joba to the rotation isn’t going to be simple. He needs to develop a third pitch, and he obviously needs to build up endurance. I don’t see him in the rotation until after the ASB. And then, of course, the question becomes what to do with Mussina. It seems that a team in the weaker league, say Atlanta or New York, could use an innings eating starter. Mussina might just be league average pitching half his games in Shea or for the Braves.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      He already has four pitches. FOUR. Why does he have to develop a third pitch when he alreay has four?

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Joba’s curveball > Joba’s slider

      He went fastball-slider out of the pen because the two pitchers work extremely well together in short stints, see almost every damn reliever worth something in baseball.

      Joba’s dropped a few curves this year, which to me says he’s trying to maintain a feel for it for when he does go back to the rotation. His changeup is a fourth pitch, but BA said it was above-average with potential to the be plus.

    • Eric

      If anyone needs to develop a third pitch, its Phil Franchise

  • Chris

    Why does everyone (including Hank) assume that Joba will just jump in and be an ace starter? Long term he will probably be very good, but he could also be a bust. Short term, I don’t think we should expect any more from him than we’re currently getting from IPK and Hughes. Comparing Joba starting in spring training and IPK and Hughes recent struggles, they all seem to have the same issue of trying to be too perfect and nibble around the edges of the zone. I expect they’ll all get this straightened out, but there’s no guarantee that Joba will automatically be more effective than Mussina this year.

    • TurnTwo

      I dont think anyone is assuming he’ll be an ace starter, but he’ll be an upgrade from what you get from IPK, Hughes, and Moose, minimally.

      Joba has the gas to make a hitter swing and miss, even when he makes a mistake in the zone… thats something IPK and Moose simply dont possess right now…. and Hughes just throws too many pitches early.

      i personally think the offense is more of a problem than the pitching, but i dont diagree with working to transition Joba into the rotation sooner than later…

      i said it before, i thought they shouldnt have even brought him back to Baltimore once he left Nebraska, but rather send him right to AAA to stretch him out…

      give him 4 starts in Scranton, and he’d be ready to go for mid to late May…. by then, you’ve given Moose, Hughes, and IPK another handful of starts to prove their worth at this point in the season, and whoever is shitting the bed more than the other two gets the boot from the starting 5.

      • Chris

        Both IPK and Hughes have enough ‘stuff’ to get hitters out in the zone. The problem is with their metal approach and not challenging hitters. Both of them (and Joba as well) were very good at challenging hitters as starters in the minors. Joba has also shown that he will attack hitters as a reliever. The question is what will he do as a starter in the majors. By his own admission, he was trying to be too careful as a starter in spring training. As soon as he moved to the bullpen, the aggression came back.

        If he’s tentative as a starter then he won’t be an upgrade over IPK, Hughes or Moose – he’ll just be another guy throwing 100 pitches in 4 innings.

        • xkevinx

          I’m sick of the incessant claims that they don’t challenge hitters. They have given up 44 hits in 30 innings – that doesn’t happen nibbling around the edges. It happens from leaving pitches up over the plate.

  • CB

    I think Hanks’s comments are to a large part directed at the media.

    From Bob Klapisch to Mike Francesa nearly everyone in the media is uniformly against Joba moving to the rotation. Even Susan Waldman and John Sterling are against moving him to the pen and they don’t often contradict things that the organization have said.

    And the media has been very vocal about this issue. So most fans keep hearing over and over that the yankees would be crazy to move Joba as he is “irreplaceable” as the set up guy. How many times a week is that written about or talked about.

    I think Hanke’s comments and the way he made them are a wake up call that Joba is definitely moving to the rotation, it’s a decision that goes all the way up the chain of command in the organization and it backed by all the baseball people.

    This is a wake up call to start reporting a different story because Joba’s future is not going to go along with the narrative the media has preordained for him.

  • Stephen

    Regardless of you agree with these comments, I just think that Hank should shut up about day to day baseball matters. It just seems far too James Dolan for me. The Yankees were always most successful when George sat down and let his “baseball people” handle things, Hank should follow suit.

  • Manimal

    Man, has the yankee organization really needed someone like Hank.

    I agree with the man, somewhat. I would wait about 2 weeks to see how things settle in and from there you would send Joba down to AAA and work him into the rotation, then after 2 Minor League starts bring him back up and with a little nit-picking with Eiland, he should be ready in about 3 weeks.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    You can’t do that because of the innings cap. If he is a starter in May he will not be able to finish the regular season (and possibly the post season) with 150 innings or less under his belt. People seem to just disregard the October aspect. If he hits 152 or something come Game 162, they aren’t just going to let him loose in October, those innings count too. There’s no need to rush him to the rotation, let the man dominate in the bullpen and then stretch him out anywhere from June to early July as what the numbers seem to dictate the plan is.

    The Yankees have 28 games in every month other than July (24) and September (25). In those games as a starter he will probably get 5-6 starts (6 if he is anywhere from 1st-3rd in the rotation in any month other than July and September) with about 30-35 innings if he were to be completely let loose. But being let loose is not the case with Joba Chamberlain so we have to make reasonable judgments on when he will 1. be sent to the minors to stretch out his arm and 2. make the return to the major league rotation to feed his 150 innings cap the rest of the season and any possible post season play.

    By spending way too much time thinking about this I calculated that Aaron Heilman pitched roughly 14 innings a month as the New York Mets’ set-up man last year, Scott Shields in 2006 roughly pitched 15 innings a month as the Angels’ 8th inning guy, Heath Bell as the Padres’ set-up guy in 2007 pitched roughly 16 innings a month and Rafael Betancourt as the 2007 Indians’ 8th inning reliever pitched on average 13 innings a month. So on average those guys roughly pitched 15 innings a month as their teams’ respective set-up men a la Joba Chamberlain. So we can reasonably assume that Joba will pitch 15 innings a month as the Yankees’ set-up man this year. By those numbers he should be out of the bullpen by the beginning of June where he would have pitched about 30 innings as the set-up guy in April and May. Then as a minor league starter who is stretching out his arm I will make a rough estimate that it would take 20 innings for him (you always hear in ST that starters need 18 innings to be season ready so I’ll use 20 as a nice round figure) to be stretched, which at this point would raise his 2008 innings total to about 50 innings. Then his return to the rotation at the beginning of July (or possibly very late June) would allow him to pitch those estimated 30 innings a month the rest of the regular season to bring him to 140 come the September 28th finale at Fenway Park. And finally as quite possibly the 4th starter on the Yankees’ post-season roster, he would pitch about 10 innings in October but he may make a bullpen appearance or two (a few IMO, don’t see why not if IPK shows he has a good year, just make Joba that relief ace and get you out of any jam, any inning). And those rough 10 innings give us an estimated total of…….150 innings!!!!111!!!!11!

    Yes the math is rough and estimated, yes all of this is just speculation by a 19-year old with an obsession for baseball and his beloved New York Yankees (and a slight case of OCD I might add, LoL), but I think you can roughly (there’s that word again) assume that that this is what the plan for Joba’s transition from the bullpen to the Yankees’ starting rotation will be.

    The thing is, this week of missed games might throw a proverbial wrench into the plans but maybe not, can’t tell for sure, or roughly (LoL) make a guess on it. So is this a timetable that seems fair, or am I just talking crap? BTW, Thank You GOD for baseball-reference, where else would I get an inning/score appearance matrix for Major League pitchers?

    • Count Zero

      Solid analysis — I agree that Joba in the rotation before June seems like it’s just pushing the innings cap problem to late in the season when it will hurt us most.

      OTOH, some might say that if we don’t get better pitching in May, September isn’t going to mean anything. It’s kind of like the discussion about saving Mo for the 9th, only to have someone else give up three runs and blow a tie game in the 7th while Mo collects dust in the pen.

  • Steve S

    Its great because it should settle the debate that Joba would stay in the bullpen. However, I am concerned that Joba will get over exposed as a result of this. Everyone here has preached patience with Hughes and Kennedy, however at first chance were going to put Joba in the rotation and expect to manage his innings for the year. I say they are 10-10 and things could be worse. Mussina has to stay in the rotation at least through May in order to protect these kids. This was the risk the organization was willing to take this season by putting this much on Hughes and Kennedy. If you put Joba in the rotation now, as opposed to June or July, then you run the risk of him throwing way too many innings. Im willing to take this new ride of youth movement, but if your going to buck the trend do it the right way.

    I also think Cashman has repeated another mistake this year. He failed to have a long man come out of spring training with them. Whether it was going to be Igawa or karstens, this team needs a long man. Its not the most productive spot, but when 3/5ths of your rotation are filled by kids with innings limits and a 39 year old who on his good days can hardly make it past the 6th inning, you need to have some insurance to protect the bullpen.

    Ohlendorf has filled that role but I think everyone agrees that the kid has the stuff to be a really good shortman. (A possible 7th and 8th inning guy). And I would like to see that development, instead of these three inning outings every time Hughes, Kennedy or Mussina fail to get out of the 4th inning. Cashman made the same mistake last year. He needs to have someone out there who can come in the 4th in a blowout and eat innings. Rather than forcing Girardi to use three or four guys in a game that they are down by 7 or 8. And this falls squarely on Cash because he cant use Torre as an excuse anymore for poorly constructed bullpens, especially when he has a manager who wont arbitrarily choose to use only a few guys.

    • Count Zero

      Thank you! When I raised that issue before the season, I was told that a long man would only be used 2-3 times per month and I questioned that assumption.

      I don’t have time to look it up right now, but if memory serves me correctly, we have seen five games already this month where we could have used a long man (i.e., the starter didn’t make it into the 5th inning and we were trailing). And that’s not counting the rain start where Joe held IPK back, which was another potential long man situation.

      It’s only the 21st of the month, so the projected 2-3 times is looking more like 6-7 for April. At minimum, you would have to guess that we would have used a long man at least three times (if not four or five) already in twenty games.

  • E-ROC

    Once Joba returns to the rotation, does anyone want to guess what happens to Mike Mussina? Moose might work well out of the ‘pen as a long reliever. I don’t see waiving his no-trade clause. Ditto for Giambi.

    • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

      He would probably become that long man that Steve S. just referenced. At the start of the season I thought Phil Hughes was the one going to be bounced from the rotation later in the season t 1. save some innings for the post-season or 2. just to cap his innings in general. But with the shortened outings he’s had thus far that issue is moving down more and more on the priority list, I think.

    • Steve S

      If mussina wasnt such a whiner I would agree but the guy needs the king of excuses and routine when it comes to pitching. I think he if he were put in the bullpen as of May, he would definitely accept a trade to a National League team.

      No one on this planet is taking Giambi. I know softball teams that would pass even if the yankee took on the money. They need to wait and then make a decision of whether they should eat the money and release him.

  • LLOYD

    Hanky Panky is Dead on Balls Accurate –

    Joba has to be in the starting rotation by June 1. Our starting pitching is an absolute joke and half the games that we lose, we never even had a chance. Being down by 4-5 runs after 4 innings aint gonna cut it (Hello Mr. Hughes and Mr. Kennedy). We need some depth out of our starters, or else the bullpen, once again, will be burned out by August.

    I hate to say it, but I’m starting to regret the no-Santana deal. Originally, I favored patience and youth, but this is getting ridiculous. Hughes and Kennedy have been nothing short of awful, and both don’t seem to have very promising futures: Hughes tops out at 91-92 with a good curve – hardly the makeup of a “great” pitcher as everyone professed him to be during the Santana hype; Kennedy is Mussinaesque, the only problem is that he is more like the CURRENT Moose, rather than the old one – IPK’s stuff is decent, at best, and he needs to be PERFECT to have a chance to win, he can’t rely on his stuff to “grind it out”, its just not there. And to make matters worse, it looks like Sabathia has just eaten himself out of stardom as well – he is shaping up to having one of the absolute worst years of his career, and at a time when everyone said “hey, don’t worry about Santana, we can get C.C. for just money next year.” Oops, looks like that won’t work either.

    I am hard pressed to find the logic in giving up the best picther on the planet, during his prime, for 2 “prospects.” You can just tell with the “stuff” that they have, that its not going to get MUCH better. Granted, both pitchers will obviously improve off of their horrendous starts, but I just can’t see either of them being worthy of a Santana deal-blocker.

    • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

      You should be embarrassed making such claims as “…I’m starting to regret the no-Santana deal. Originally, I favored patience and youth, but this is getting ridiculous.”, “Hughes and Kennedy…don’t seem to have very promising futures.” and finally “You can just tell with the stuff that they have, that its not going to get MUCH better.”.

      I’m serious man, making these claims after a combined 30.1 innings from the two, you should be embarrassed.

      • LLOYD

        Ok, then what evidence do you have to prove my opinion wrong??? They have both been AWFUL, and its not like they have great stuff but have trouble with their command or control, they have DECENT stuff and must have perfect command/control to be very effective. If you can offer any evidence to the contrary, I’m all ears….

        p.s. If you look at Hughes starts last year, with the exception of the Texas game, he was nothing to write home about. He pitched OK in September and had a nice start against Cleveland in October. IPK was never expected to be anything more than a #4 starter. And your telling me that it was worth blocking the Santana deal for these two??? You don’t have to be a genius to see the stupidity in that.

        • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

          evidence? ok, here’s one exhibit: http://thebaseballcube.com/

          compare their minor league stats to any pitching prospect of the last 10 years.

          i can’t believe i have to defend this non-trade after 3 weeks of the season. you can’t judge any trade for years. did you forget Hughes and Kennedy are 21 and 23 respectively?

          • LLOYD

            While I agree with you that it will take time to fully vett this trade, did you actually submit minor league stats in justification of the non-trade??? There have been hundreds of players who were very successful in the minors, but didnt pan out to sqwat in the Majors. All you need is a 92 MPH fastball and good breaking stuff and your considered a “star” in the Minors. Obviously, that doesnt equate to stardom at the ML level.

            And its not the stats that worry me, its their “stuff.” Its just not there. I mean, if Joba got bombed early on (see Spring training ’08), no one cared because they knew he had the stuff to turn it around and would still be great. No one can say that about Hughes or IPK. Its not like Hughes is going to all of a sudden throw a 95-96 MPH heater (as everyone said he did) just because he’s no longer 21. I think it’s safe to say that Hughes will be consistently throw in the low-90’s and have above average breaking stuff – again I ask, is that worthy of blocking a trade for the best pitcher on the planet. I’m still waiting for an intelligent answer….

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

              Nobody said Phil Hughes threw consistently at 95-96. He’s a low-to-mid 90s guy who can top out at 96. We’ve had this conversation ad nauseum, and it’s clear that you’re not going to change your mind or accept that view. What’s the point?

              The trade wasn’t just Phil Hughes though. How about Melky? How Ian Kenned and Phil Hughes and Melky and another player and a contract that, in four years, will look a lot like Jason Giambi’s or Mike Mussina’s? Does that still sound like a good idea?

              • Steve S

                Thats not fair to Santana. Granted there is a risk in relying and paying a 29 year old lefthanded pitcher $22 million a year and that risk increases as time goes by. However, to predict Giambi and to a lesser extent Mussina, thats as fair as people who look at Hughes and Kennedy’s first four starts of the year and say they are flops. There is no way to prove it, and the gamble associated with Santana is just as great than expecting all three of Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain to have long term success. If one of them works out, then its fantastic, if two of them work out, its a miracle. I still think Cashman was right, but it still was a gamble and has all the potential in the world of failing.

  • gxpanos

    Spanky Stein!

    He is friggin’ WONDERFUL.

    He’s the Manny Ramirez of sports ownership! Day-to-day things, meaningless things, etc., he just can’t handle. He talks too much; he snipes at the Sox, which is just ridiculous; he’s abrasive and undiplomatic. Those things are like Manny selling his neighbor’s grill on eBay and executing the famed Double Cut-Off of Johnny Damon’s throws.

    But I’ll be God damned if Manny doesnt come through when it matters. It’s why we hate him.

    And Hank, so far, for all his blowhard proclamations, has made the right calls when it matters. Don’t trade the farm for Johan, make sure Joba knows he’ll be a starter at some point.

    I couldn’t be happier with him. He gives us high comedy when it comes to meaningless shit, but he also KNOWS his shit when we need him to.

    • Steve S

      I think your off on Hughes, his first start this year against Toronto was a good one. Last September he looked good. His stuff is very good. There are two things that have been off from what he was hyped as- one is the velocity, which i think is less relevant than the issue with his control. Even last year he looked like he didnt have the best control on his fastball. It seems like he has incredible movement on the pitch which is great but sometimes it looks as though he doesn’t know where its going and it sails on him either out of the strike-zone or up where its extremely hittable.

      If you thought that these kids were going to be as dominant as Johan this year then you were and still are crazy. And if you didn’t expect a stretch like this then you were also not being realistic.

      • Steve S

        The comment above wasnt meant to go here

  • Adam

    Everyone seems to think that keeping innings down will save Joba’s arm, but that’s not the case. It’s not necessarily the innings that do damage; it’s the amount of high-leverage pitches thrown per inning. For instance, IPK threw something like 85 pitches in 2 2/3 innings. When I read that I was shocked; that’s a ton of pitches in a row (most of them stressful) without a break.

    Anyway, back to the Joba point. I’m not sure how much good it’s doing throwing him into high-leverage situations right now if the plan is to start him. I realize the bullpen is better having Joba around to put out fires in any inning (that’s another thing; if the game is getting tense in the 4th inning, I bring in Joba or Rivera. The point is, sure, they’re typically used in the 8th and 9th, but what if the game is already lost by then? What I’m saying is, you must use your best arm in the most important and dire situations, and that isn’t uniformly always the 8th or 9th) but having him change the dynamic his arm has to endure mid-season won’t be beneficial to him.

    Tack on the shoulder issues he’s had in the past, and I’m not sure how much good it would do to keep changing him up.

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      it’s not high-leverage situations, it’s high-stress situations, which usually means pitching with men on base or throwing a lot of pitches in one inning. joba generally avoids those two.

  • r.w.g.

    I believe that pitchers are babied way too much and that the lack of throwing they do actually contributes to all the injuries.

    That being said, the 30-40 inning increase from season to season is one thing I believe is totally legitimate. Too many pitchers come back to have cruddy seasons or suffer serious injury when they exceed the mark significantly.

    If they feel like the rotation needs a shot in the arm, give Joba a spot start or two if somebody else continues to not get the job done. But his innings have got to be done so he’s available for the stretch run without restrictions.

  • Pingback: River Ave. Blues | Joba staying in bullpen for now

  • xkevinx

    IPK and or Hughes should be sent down. I was against the Santana trade, but it is shocking how terrible they have been: combined 30.1 innings, 44 hits, 23 walks, 23 SO, 31 ER. 68 bassrunners in 30.1 innings? Unbelievable. For their long term development, it is not good for them to continually get shelled. They should work out their problems in AAA if they don’t get it turned around soon. Cincy is doing it right with Bailey

    I’m all for Joba starting later in the season – I think that he will be great, but “te big Three” apologists on this site seem to think that all of them are guarantees. The only thing that can be said with 3 (probably 2.5) top pitching prospects is that one of them will turn out to be terrible. Food for thought, the following players were all rated top 10 overall prospects by Baseball America (IPK isn’t close):

    Ryan Anderson(2000), Jon Rauch(2001), Juan Cruz (2002), Jesse Foppert(2003), Edwin Jackson(2004), Greg Miller(2004)

    Of those that did pan out, for every Becket, there is a mark Prior that didn’t fulfill potential because of injury. We will be lucky if we get on top of the rotation starter and a number 5.

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      you sound like steve lombardi. these pitchers probably wouldnt learn anything tearing through AAA lineups, it wouldnt be a challenge for them – just look at Kei Igawa. and who’s going to replace them in the rotation? the aforementioned Igawa? Rasner?

      it’s amazing the twins held on to santana (or the Cubs and Maddux) after his shitty rookie year. if that had been the yankees, the fans would have killed him.

      • xkevinx

        I’m not convinced they would tear through AAA linups the way they are currently pitching. They both need confidence – if they are getting torched by Baltimores AAAA linup, what makes you believe they would destroy AAA?
        And yes, I would go with Kei “will through ore than 3 innings per start” Igawa, whose problem has always been control, but he has a 20/4 K/BB ratio this year. Is he better long term? Obviously not. but for the next few weeks – could he really be worse? Kennedy and Hughes currently rank 2nd and 4th for basserunners per inning pitched in all of baseball. I somehow doubt Rasner/Karstens/Igawa could give us less.
        For the record, I said I was opposed to the trade. I think in general you keep high ceiling young pitching, but with the realistic hope that one of them works out. All 3 will not be allstars. One will be an embarrassment, that is just the reality of projecting young pitching.
        I mostly opposed the Santana trade because of salary and length of extension.

  • mustang

    Enjoy this now. You guys love Hank now because he doing what you want. But I could see the writing on the wall. He was already tempted once to trade the kids for Santana and he was talked out of it. What do you think is going to happen if these kids keep failing ?
    Already after 20 games he starting to talk about making changes. What do you think is going to happen when there are no more Jobas in the pen to move to the rotation. That farm system that everyone here loves so much will be empty in a blink.
    Don’t a mistake about it Hanks controls this team. He said i listen to Hal and Brain but at the end I make the decision.
    GEORGE ALL OVER AGAIN !!!!!!

    • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

      How do you know he has majority control of baseball operations? Because he talks the loudest?

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I knew it, I fucking knew it. Mike Francesa just read a quote from Brian Cashman who made a statement along the lines of Joba is staying in the bullpen as of now and will be in the rotation later. These assholes, M&MD, are now building up the story of a war between Hank and Cash that Hank wants him in the rotation NOW, and Cash doesn’t want him in the rotation till mid-season.

    The funny thing about it is that Mike Francesa fucking read the quote in plain English that Hank said “…It has to be done on a schedule so we don’t rush him.” so where in that fat fucking tub of goo he has as a head, did he get the idea that they made conflicting statements? Where? I defy you to tell me where!

    What an asshole.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    OMFG Chris Russo just said Joba Chamberlain “WAS NOT DOMINATE IN THE MINOR LEAGUES”. He just fucking said that…………….

    135Ks in 88.1 IP, You Asshole….You complete and total douchebagery asshole. I can’t believe this man has the audacity to say Hank and George knows nothing about baseball and he just said Joba hasn’t been dominant in minors as a starter. He also said he wasn’t dominant in at Nebraska. OMFG, I’m killing myself here, but Jesus the stupidity is entertaining.

  • mustang

    “To assuage your fears somewhat, the Yankees are not run as a Hank-led dictatorship. Hal has an equal say in these decisions, and Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi lend their input as well.”
    OK
    Hank-On Brian Cashman: “I always told him, `I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should.’ He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things.”

    Hank on Santana- “The bottom line is, it’s my decision,” Hank Steinbrenner said.”

    This is a dictatorship like his father before him. But hold on guys its going to be a fun ride.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    BTW, MLB 08 The Show has the newest roster update out and Evan Longoria’s ratings are all we could have hoped for. :)

  • mustang

    Jamal G.
    my friend you have no idea what’s coming.
    Let the regin of George the 2nd begin…. its going to be a fun ride.

    • Steve S

      No offense Mustang but I can never get the “old man” disdain for Steinbrenner. Im only 28 so I have no concept of what he was like when he first bought the team, but in the grand scheme of things 35 years of ownership, 6 World Championships and 10 AL Pennants, in the modern era of baseball, with free agency, expansion, etc.. I dont understand what the guy did wrong

      Granted there were some lean years from 1988-1992, and some poor trades made in the 1980’s, but thats nothing in comparison to what appears to be a nightmare from 1965-1974. Arguably this is the greatest owner in modern sports.

  • mustang

    None taken Steve S
    And I wouldn’t want another owner other then the Steinbrenners. However, the guy had no patients for failure. He fired Yogi after what 14 games.
    I may not agree with everyone here about the way they are going about it, but i do understand trying to built from within. George never understood that he just wanted everyone else toy.
    My fear is that Hank will be the same way. I think Hank is using this youth movement as a poly. If it works great he save money , but if it doesn’t he can trade and buy whoever he wants without anyone questioning him.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I think the key difference though between Hank and George is that Hank has a foil in the organization. He can talk all he wants, but as long as Hal’s around, Hank will not be making moves unilaterally. I don’t mind the talk really because nothing more than bunch of headlines and some real discussion about Joba’s role will come of it without consent from Hal as well.

      • mustang

        I hope your right. But I think your giving Hal more power then he really has. When they outline the power structure of the organization Hank was second in command after George and he makes sure that everyone knows it.
        But we will see.
        Just the idea that Hank throwing the word change around after 20 games make me a little uncomfortable.

        • mustang

          And that Cashman ” I don’t know what set him off.”
          Makes me even more uncomfortable.

    • Steve S

      I dont think its odd for these guys to lack some patience. I like the fact that the Steinbrenner’s have always put their ego into the product on the field. They clearly want to make money but they also take a lot of pride in winning. And I also think people are harsh with the Steinbrenner’s because they have a polarizing chemistry with writers and the fans (as the Joe Torre nonsense revealed). They lay out $200 M and they have been in the sport for more than 30 years. And while I like to pride myself on my knowledge of baseball, knowledge in baseball is measurable only by the amount of time you are around it. Granted there are some people who are visionaries but its a trial an error type of thing. To say that you or I are more qualified to make baseball decisions is ridiculous. Put it this way, you care this much now for no other reason than your a fan. These guys are fans who also happen to have millions of dollars invested into this thing. I think George, because of some mistakes in the 1980’s was given a bad rap. And as a result the 90’s Yankees success happened “despite him”.

      I know this a whole separate issue but so far I think Hank’s honesty and public comments have been great for the franchise. In the end it was his willingness to create ultimatums for Santana that properly set the market. The guy wasnt worth the players the Twins were asking for from both the Yankees and Red Sox (as the Mets package clearly demonstrated) and if it wasnt for his “comments” the Yankees might have completely overpaid, because the Twins were dealing with a bare market (three teams). I also give him credit on Arod, he was honest but he wasn’t stubborn to the point where he let Arod walk away. Jason Giambi is going to get paid $26 M after the buyout for what he does in 2008. I like a little transparency in the organization.

  • mustang

    Sorry, I meant patience not patients