Thinking Out Loud: Where’s Joba?

Pettitte sounds like he's ready to return next season
Pags: Manny, Yanks a perfect fit

Since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 2, eight days ago, Joba Chamberlain has graced a whopping two games with his appearance, and it’s now been four days since his two-out, 22-pitch effort against the Mariners. Meanwhile, Joba is sitting pretty on 91 innings this season with but two and a half weeks left to play. The Yankees need to get him innings, and last night was as good a time as any to bring him in. Why not have him throw two or three innings in a 6-1 game? Why not stretch him out a little from the bullpen?

I understand that the Yanks are proceeding cautiously with Joba. I understand they don’t want to risk further injury, a reaggravation or anything of the sort. But Joba is a great starter and should be throwing more innings. He shouldn’t just become the de facto 8th inning guy because that’s what Joe Girardi has written down in his black binder. If Joba’s injured worse than the Yanks are letting on, they should say so. If not, let him pitch. Give him his innings. He needs it.

Pettitte sounds like he's ready to return next season
Pags: Manny, Yanks a perfect fit
  • zack

    Its the seemingly inexplicable moves like this, Specifically combined with the total lack of information provided, that worry me and made me agree to a point with Goldman’s article from the other day. I understand being cautious, but then just shut him down. If he is at all still hurt, he shouldn’t be pitching. If he isn’t, than WTF are they doing with him? The only way to build up are strength is to pitch pitch pitch.

  • Bruno

    AMEN. He should be starting. Period. Even if he only lasts 2-3 innings, it would still be good to get his mind and body ready to the 5 day, 1st inning schedule/mindset. If anything, sit down Pettite for the last couple weeks, I’m sure his 36y/o elbow wouldn’t mind the rest.

    JOBA shouldn’t spend one minute in the ‘pen in ’09. Start him from day 1. Just skip him every few times through the rotation as needed to limit his innings. It’s so simple, yet they’re making it SO difficult.

  • radnom

    They should have him as the long man every 5th day (line it up with Ponsons start, cut him after 5). Who cares what the game situation is, that doesnt matter. Let him pitch 2-3 inning and slowly increase it each time.

  • sabernar

    Assuming he’s healthy, why not send him to the Hawaiian League? Can major leaguers pitch there?

  • Cam

    I was looking at my Fantasy Team today and realized I hadn’t seen a line from Joba in a while. I’ve been wondering the same thing. Thanks for the post.

  • jsbrendog

    this whole saga has just alienated me to the point of johan santana indifference. i just cant care anymore or i will develop an ulcer. just another example of the yankees inability to do anything right this year (other than not trading for johan but since that was the offserason i dont consider it part of this year)

    • steve (different one)

      i disagree.

      transitioning Joba to the rotation the first time WAS something they did right.

      as for what they are doing right now, i would guess that we simply don’t have every piece of information available.

      because surely Girardi isn’t just saving him for late innings in close games, i think everyone realizes the season is over by now.

      • jsbrendog

        yeah no youre right moving him to the rotationnwas right, that gives them one right thing they did this year

      • Hitman

        No transitioning him midseason to the bullpen was dumb. It’s probably why he got hurt in the first place. They should have started him out the year in the rotation and let him pitch as long as he could and then put him in the bullpen at the end of the season. Now they’re going to do it to him again next season. Amazing.

  • Tripp

    Would sending him to the Winter Leagues in South America be an option?

  • Will77

    It just leaves me to believe that something is up.

    I think next season he should start as a starter. If he stays healthy, he will get his innings. They can skip some starts here and there to get him to the end of the season and then move him to the pen if need be to finish it out.

    The reason why I would do it that way is because he would have built up his strength and they would not have to go through stretching him out during pressure situations. Less injury risk there than the other way around. imo.

    But if he doesn’t remain healthy, then you have a decision to make ala Palplebon.

    Personally I want to see him as a starter. But some guys just can’t handle a large inning load.

    The debate becomes a lot simpler if the Yanks get CC and have a healthy Wang. If they resign Moose you have another guy that can eat innings. I’d even bring Andy back for a year to do the same. That leaves one spot for a youngster.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Papelbon wasn’t moved to the pen because he couldn’t remain healthy (actually, the opposite, it was the Sox pen that couldn’t stay healthy), he was a reliever for most of his career and the Sox were trying to stretch him out to see if he could be a starter. And, he doesn’t have Joba’s arsenal of secondary pitches; he profiles much better as a reliever anyway, which explains why unlike Joba, he was much more effective as a reliever then as a starter.

      He’s not a good comp for Joba.

      And nothing says that Joba can’t handle a large inning load; he’s been a starter forever. He just doesn’t go deep into games or seasons because the team is being extra careful with him to avoid a Priorian breakdown.

      • pat

        Speak of the devil I think paps is hurt now. K Laws little blurb about him yesterday afternoon coupled with the fashion in which he blew that save last night make it look like somethin is up.

        • jsbrendog


        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          He’s probably going to miss time with a strained medial-collateral douchebaggimus muscle, if I recall correctly.

      • radnom

        “Papelbon wasn’t moved to the pen because he couldn’t remain healthy”

        Youre right, it was the opposite, but not quite how you thought. The reason they tried to move in into the rotation after he had already had success was a closer was that he could not stay healthy pitching balls out one inning at a time. The doctors said he should go back to starting, he did for a while, but the BP got injured and he wanted to close so thats what he is doing. A big risk to blow out his arm though, from what they were saying at that time.

    • A.D.

      Yeah Paps was a closer in college, the stretched him out to start since they had Hansen and a need for a starter. Then figured he was better in the pen after Hansen blew and Foulke got hurt/left. Add in the shoulder injury and Paps as a closer makes sense

  • steve (different one)

    perhaps they plan to pitch him in a winter league and are basically just riding out the rest of the season with a little extra caution?

    • Joseph P.

      That’s the only possible explanation I can think of. Other than him being hurt worse than anyone has let on.

  • steve (different one)

    also, i’d like to add that Joba’s usage is *PROBABLY* not being decided on by Girardi.

    i would imagine this is an edict from above.

  • Mickey Rivers Rules

    Odd situation with Joba. And “Dream” rotations notwithstanding: Signing only 1 free agent SP for 2009 is not the key to fixing the Yankee rotation problems. The Yanks would be wise – if possible – to grab Sabathia & Sheets and then hopefully be confronted with the nice problem of fitting in Wang, Joba, Pettitte and/or Mussina or Hughes behind them. As we saw from the failed Brian Cashman Young Starters Crash Course in 2008 it is better to assume the worst – in performance as well as health.

    • steve (different one)

      As we saw from the failed Brian Cashman Young Starters Crash Course in 2008 it is better to assume the worst – in performance as well as health.

      not that i disagree with the idea, but doesn’t this contradict your idea of signing Sheets?

      because it’s not even “assuming the worst” to assume Sheets gets injured, it’s a fairly realistic scenario. and if you assume that, why throw $75M away?

      as for Hughes and maybe Joba, yes, the FO should have counted on some bumps in the road.

      as for Wang getting injured rounding 3B in an inter-league game? well, i’ll just have to argue that there is no way to prepare for that. it’s just shitty luck.

      • jsbrendog

        shiddy ruck indeed

    • Chris

      Let’s say you sign CC and sheets, and bring back Moose and Pettitte. You go into the season with a rotation of CC, Wang, Sheets, Moose, and Pettitte.

      What happens if all of them stay healthy, but Sheets, Moose and Pettitte are putting up ERAs around 4.5? Do you trade one of them so Joba can start? What about getting major league innings for Hughes, Aceves and Kennedy – especially if they’re all pitching exceptionally well in AAA?

      Obviously, this isn’t a problem if they’re all good, or someone gets hurt, but there are downsides to bringing in veteran pitchers.

      • radnom

        “but there are downsides to bringing in veteran pitchers.”(at big contracts).

  • Mickey Rivers Rules

    Actually my assuming the worst applies only to RHPs signed by the Yankees (wherefore art thou Humberto “Hummer” Sanchez?)

    Kidding aside – good points all around. Nothing is certain but so far Mussina Pettitte have been outlasting Father Time while Joba & Hughes are expeiencing major arm issues in their early 20’s.

    • A.D.

      and Hughes arm issue is?

  • Mickey Rivers Rules

    Excuse that last post – dropped a pen on the keyborard and hit ‘enter’ without really composing
    a decent reply (or at least one without spelling errors).


  • ko

    Joba’s shoulder tendinitis after a dozen starts raises a red flag. There’s a real possiblity that with the way he throws, pitching too many innings at a time could put him down permanently. A better approach may be to limit the innings per appearance – less strain on the arm. That means the bullpen. If he weren’t such a force out of the bullpen, you might not have a choice but to go back and start him. However, this guy is dynamite out of the pen and only very good as a starter. To me, that’s two strikes against Joba being a starter. I’d rather have a genuine stud out of the pen than nothing at all. I believe that the Yankee management’s behavior may reflect my thinking on this.

    • Ed

      The red flag is you don’t have a guy prepare as a starter, transition to the bullpen, then back to starting. He should’ve started the year in the rotation and ended in the bullpen if his innings cap was an issue.

      Very minor muscle tightness issues when pitching in 102 degree weather is not something to change career courses over.

      Perhaps you didn’t notice, but Joba’s performance as a starter this year was better than his performance as a reliever. It wasn’t just “very good”, it was Cy Young award level.

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