Joba a reliever until at least ’09

Sir Sidney's last stand
Robinson Cano on errors, contracts, and the media

Mark Feinsand has the news. Joba Chamberlain will spend the rest of 2008 pitching out of the bullpen, and while the Yanks still consider him a starter, Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are clearly hedging their bets on this one. I’m reading between the lines a bit, and I don’t like what I’m seeing at all. Joba should start. One injury shouldn’t be the bellweather for that decision.

Sir Sidney's last stand
Robinson Cano on errors, contracts, and the media
  • TurnTwo

    but say it aint so! there’s no way they’d bring him back and put him in the bullpen! theyd rather him just shut down completely than risk him by putting him in the pen! … ok, i’m done.

    cant say it surprises me. i dont think they’d ever make such a decision based on one injury, but maybe its a reality; that his shoulder cant take a full season’s worth of starting out of the rotation.

    i think a part of this lies in what his injury actually was. was it seriously just shoulder tendinitis, or did they see evidence that could prove to be nothing now, especially with a full offseason of rest ahead, but could come to cause major issues down the road?

    we dont know the whole story here just yet.

    • daneptizl

      Just because he suffered an injury while he was young doesn’t mean he can’t handle being a starter.

      • TurnTwo

        i dont disagree with you.

  • Adam B.

    Given that his last bullpen session was 45 pitches, there’s no way he could build up the arm strength to be a starter for enough starts to be worthwhile the rest of this year. The minor league seasons are almost done (and Staten Island won’t be a level of competition to truly gauge how good he’s actually pitching) and stretching him out in the majors would mean he’d probably make 2 starts of 5 innings or more. Is that really worth it? They’re better off at this point just getting him whatever innings they can without stressing the shoulder much.

    • Pete

      This is exactly what I was thinking — why all the panic? If it was July and he was to spend the rest of the year in the ‘pen, I might tend to think something more serious was up, but there’s less than 4 weeks left…

  • MD

    there are numerous starting pitching acquisition options this winter………they are preparing to go deep into this, and if successful, would use JC as a 7/8th inning guy, and Mariano’s successor……if they dont bring in 2-3 of a dozen starting pitching options this winter, then they would consider moving him back to starter, IMO……

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      You can’t be serious with this line of thought.

      Yes, there are numerous starting pitching options available this offseason. None of them are under-25 cost controlled players already with the organization who aren’t yet entering the peaks of their careers; none of them are players that the Yanks can slot into their starting rotation for the next decade. Most of them are either about to enter the downside of their peak years, or have already left them, and all of them will require a massive financial commitment that is an inherent gamble, the type that has blown up the rosters (and playoff chances) of teams like the Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, and Rangers, to name a few.

      This is not to say that I’m not interested in making the team better by pursuing guys who can help us like Sabathia, Sheets, or the like; I am. But nothing, not even ridiculously signing two or three top flight starters in the offseason, should persuade us to waste Joba’s significant talent in the bullpen for anything more than this month of September 2008. Doing so would be like Cameron’s dad leaving his 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California in the garage, undriven.

      (Yes, i did just drop that Ferris reference. You heard it.)

      The bullpen is not only less important than the rotation, it’s less of a need to be fixed… our pen is fine without Joba. Our rotation ain’t.

      This can’t seriously be a question.

      • steve (different one)

        Joba is “so choice”

        • zzzzz

          hahahahaha. you guys kill me sometimes.

      • MD

        it’s not my line of thought….it’s what I am trying to interpret from their statements, actions, and what they don’t say…..

  • A.D.

    Unless for some reason his shoulder really can’t take being a starter (which is handled just fine for all of last year in the minors) this is redic.

    Sure Joba is awesome in the 8th inning, but he’s damn awesome as a starter and starter > reliever. Hopefully this is just a way for him to get innings & the usual month of building up pitch counts would take essentially the remainder of the season, though I’d prefer they just throw him for 3-4 innings to begin a game, and then have Giese come in, and potentially have his last outing be a real start

  • Yankee1010

    I think the real issue is that they don’t want to commit to starting him right out of spring training this year. He’ll probably pitch around 100 innings this year. If he starts next year as a starter and is healthy the whole year, he’ll be around 200 innings. They don’t want a 100 inning jump, so who knows if they’re planning another in-season conversion. I shudder to think what would happen if they did that again. There would be the “Joba In The Pen” crowd to deal with again.

    To be clear, I am 100% behind Joba being a starter. I can’t see how one wouldn’t want him to be a starter.

    • Yankee1010

      I meant starting him out of spring training NEXT year.

  • pat

    o god please not the starter/reliever discussion again. 4 plus pitches+ command = STARTER

    • Yankee1010

      Agreed. I’m just saying that I think the Yanks are thinking that he can’t have a 100+ inning jump next year so they don’t want to commit to starting him right now.

      I trust that the Yanks see that he needs to be a starter. It’s really not even a debate.

    • TurnTwo

      but how about 4 plus pitches + command / potentially nagging shoulder issues = uncertain future?

    • Chris

      4 plus pitches + command + blown out shoulder = Mark Prior

  • Ivan

    Joba is gonna be a full time starter next season period. No if’s or but’s about it okay. Almost everybody saw what he was capable of when he was starting and saw the glimps of potential when he was a starter so Joba being in the pen for the rest of the season is not a big deal.

    For crying out loud when he was in the rotation he was the second best starter next Moose. The media will probably make a huge deal out of it and say “we told ya so” which wouldn’t work cuz losing Joba the starter was much bigger than losing Joba out of the BP. Hey Joba came out of the pen and media/fans overreacted saying this is a killer and it was a huge blessing when he was in the rotation. Now when he’s out of the rotation cuz of injury, they see how big of a hole it left in the rotation basically relying on 2 starters which was a clear evidence that Joba was more valuable as a starter than as a reliever.

    The FO knows that so he will be starter next season period.

    • Yankee1010

      Yes, they want him to be a starter next season. But they won’t, and shouldn’t, ignore what happens to pitchers with 100+ inning jumps.

  • Reggie C.

    Joba’s a starter for 2009. That’s not even going to be discussed. There isnt much left in this season so Joba going back to the ‘pen isn’t a big deal.

  • Hitman

    Supposedly the reason behind this is because it would take too long to build Joba back up to full strength again. Usually this takes place at the minor league level but since their season has concluded they can’t do that. However by putting him in the bullpen just to get an inning here he’ll probably only break 100 innings this season. It makes sense to send him to the AFL for the next 7 weeks but starters there only pitch like 4 innings a start for a max of 7 starts. I’m not sure if 30 innings will really mean anything ultimately.

    • Ed

      30 innings is huge. He pitched 110 last year. 140 was his limit for this season. He’s at 90. Say they use him for 2-3 inning appearances from the bullpen and get him 20 innings the rest of the way. 30 in the AFL brings him right to his goal, and lets him hit 170 next year. Consider him the 5th starter next year and skip him on off days and you can keep him in the rotation all season.

  • E-ROC

    Joba will be on an innings cap next year anyway. the Yanks might as well let him comeback as a starter instead of in the bullpen.

  • Ivan

    I don’t think he’s eligible for the AFL.

  • Hobs

    The difference in innings between if he came back as a starter or a reliever is most likely minimal. The organization probably sees this as the safest way for him to return to finish the remainder of the year. No way Hank will sit still if they throw him back in the bullpen after one minor injury. It was probably either this, or shut him down completely. I don’t see this as a prelude to anything.

    • Ed

      Joba was called up in early August last year and pitched about 24 innings out of the bullpen. He was going over 6 innings as a starter, so even if he had to build up his innings his should top 20 innings as a starter, essentially doubling the work he’d get out of the bullpen.

  • tremont

    What would be the problem with getting him one 40-50 pitch stint out of the pen and then moving him into the rotation and bumping his pitches up 15 every time? Sure he might only go 4 innings the first time in the rotation, but the rosters are expanded. Let Aceves or someone else know that they will be needed in long relief. By the way Joba has only been out a month. Can’t they accelerate the process a little bit.

  • Brad K

    He is a starter. Plain and simple. More evidence of Mr. Cashman’s baseball brilliance!

    • TurnTwo

      except that for the last year and a half, everything you’ve heard from Brian Cashman is that they plan on keeping Joba in the rotation as a starter, yeah, i understand where a comment like this comes from.

      • steve (different one)

        He is a starter. Plain and simple. More evidence of Mr. Cashman’s baseball brilliance!

        you mean like when Cashman moved him to the rotation despite everyone in the media, players on the team, and former players speaking out against it?

        there are arguments to make against Cashman’s performance this year, but you happened to pick one of them without zero merit. well done.

  • A.D.

    In the Times today the quote from Cash is more they’re planning on him being a starter.

    Figure he gets over 100 innings by the end of this month, then they can send him to winter ball somewhere to get up in the 130s, and then they just have to be smart about his innings next year

  • pounder

    I fear the Yankee brain trust.Hire Rocking Leo to be the organization pitching guru.Oh,and fire Zeppo, te clipboard carrying Marx brother.

  • Old Ranger

    They activated Joba today instead of yesterday (which would have made him ineligible for AFL) therefore, I believe he will pitch out of the pen then go to the AFL. Even if the Yanks were to pick up 2 or 3 good young starters this winter, Joba (unless injured) will be in the rotation for 2009. Just think; Joba, CMW, C.C., Phil, Moose/Andy and any number of very good FAs…not to bad a start, don’t you think? 27/09.

    • TurnTwo

      how would that have disqualified him for the AzFL? just curious.

      • Jamal G.

        As of August 31st of the current season, no player who has spent more than a year at the MLB level is eligible for the AzFL. Joba Chamberlain was called up on August 7, 2007. He was placed on the DL this year on August 6, 2008. He literally has been in the Major Leagues for one full year. So if he was activated yesterday, he would have been in the Majors for “more than a year” by August 31st.

        • TurnTwo

          gotcha. thanks.

          • steve (different one)

            this is pretty interesting.

            seems like the Yankees plan to send him to AFL, so there is no point in rushing him back now.

            • Stryker

              did you not just read what Jamal said? he’s not eligible.

              • tommiesmithjohncarlos

                Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Jamal just said he WAS eligible. He said that had they called him up on Sunday, he wouldn’t have been, but they didn’t. They called him up Monday the 1st, so hopefully, he’s good money.

                • Stryker

                  well eff me. guess who fails reading comprehension today?!

  • Pops

    this pisses me off

  • dkidd

    assuming an off-season spending spree, would a rotation of cc, wang, sheets, hughes, mussina/pettite with joba dominating the 7th qnd 8th inning be such a bad thing for one year?

    • donttradecano

      youd set back his development…he would go from throwing nearly 115 innings to throwing maybe 70, then if you want to make him a starter in 2010 theoretically the max innings he could throw(or they would let him through) would be 145 which means he cant pitch come september.

    • tremont

      Of course that would be a fantastic rotation. But even the Yankees have limited resources. Why would a team lock two veteran starting pitchers up to long term deals, when the strength of the organization is young pitching? After this season they have to fill 1st base and possibly center field with a player from outside the organization. After next year, you have to fill the two corner outfield spots and the DH. The only internal option for any of those spots is A-Jax. Why pay top dollar for two pitchers when you can probably do well with what you have?

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  • Adrian-Retire21

    Joba should start but lets not get crazy on where he will end up.Many idiots who bought the “Save the Big three” shirts didn’t mind rushing Kennedy who had 146 innings in the minors,JOba to the rotation out of desperation and Hughes who didn’t need to be the youngest pitcher in the anchor the rotation of a $200 million team.

    Until Joba can start a whole year without getting hurt no one should say where he will end up.

    • tremont

      I disagree with the premise that Hughes and Kennedy were rushed. Kennedy was drafted as a polished college pitcher and dominated at every level of the minors. Hughes put up retarded numbers throughout his minor league career and had a no-no going in the 7th inning of his second big league start, before he pulled a hammy and lost 3 months. By the way he was fantastic in September and in the postseason last year.

      Did you see something that nobody else saw this March? Because I don’t see how someone could have said they were not ready.

  • ortforshort

    My vote is for Chamberlain out of the pen. He’s a much better pitcher there. His injury indicates to me that a lot of innings will probably damage his shoulder, making him mediocre in the long run. My advice to the Yankees is go out and spend a lot of money on some quality starters. The Yankees would be crazy to count on Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy for anything next year after what we’ve seen of them this year. One guy starts 12 games and goes down, another shows up with nothing more than a 91 mph fastball and a curve and loses his command trying to overthrow his fastball and the third guy is scared to throw a strike. Maybe they’ll sort it out next year, but if I was Yankee brass, I’d be looking for some sure things this winter.