Creating the Joba news, AP style


Last night, CC Sabathia walked home with the Warren Spahn Award for the second straight year. The prize is given out by the Oklahoma Sports Museum to the best lefty pitcher in the game, and it’s no stretch to award it to Sabathia.

By itself, the award is hardly newsworthy but how the AP covered the presentation and Sabathia’s acceptance is. The AP sent Jeff Latzke of their Oklahoma City bureau to the event, and here is how he covered it. On the surface, that seems fine and dandy, but take a look at these seemingly innocuous two paragraphs:

Before Saturday night’s ceremony, he said he’s looking forward to having Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera there to close out games for him, and he’s already talked to Chamberlain about it.

“To have that bullpen and have just the support of that team, that team is unbelievable,” Sabathia said. “To add me and A.J and put Tex in that lineup, I think it’s going to be an unbelievable team. Hopefully we have a special year.”

That’s right; Jeff Latzke just put Joba Chamberlain back in the bullpen. At no point did Sabathia actually say that he’s looking forward to Mo and Joba closing out games. He simply said that he’s looking forward to the support of the Yanks’ bullpen.

Meanwhile, if we compare Latzke’s reporting to that of Yankees.com beat writer Bryan Hoch, a different tale emerges. Writes Hoch:

Before Saturday night’s ceremony, Sabathia said in a press session that he is looking forward to having Mariano Rivera close out games for him.

“To have that bullpen and have just the support of that team, that team is unbelievable,” Sabathia said. “To add me and A.J. and put Tex in that lineup, I think it’s going to be an unbelievable team. Hopefully we have a special year.”

Now, I wasn’t at the press session, but do I trust the guy who covers the Yanks all season or some AP writer based out of Oklahoma City? The choice is clear to me.

This isn’t, of course, a new rant. We’ve had problems with the AP’s creating news where there isn’t any before. We’ve seen them misquote Yankee officials and, as they do here, put words into the mouths of players. It doesn’t help their credibility, however, to talk about Joba’s role in the bullpen because, simply put, he doesn’t have one. AP or not, Joba is starting this year. He may reach an innings cap, but baring a disaster, he will spend the season in the rotation. The Yankees are better off for it.

Categories : Rants


  1. Pastafarian says:

    He should stay in the rotation, the pen seems fine.

  2. cookidge says:

    If I remember correctly, CC actually did say this at his introductory press conference after signing with the Yanks. He said he was looking forward to having that bullpen with Mo and Joba backing him up

    • Jamal G. says:

      Nah, I remember making note of this in a RAB chat. He just rattled off names of some of the current Yankees – it just so happened that he said Chamberlain and Rivera in the same breath. However, he also mentioned A.J. Burnett and Chamberlain in the same sentence later on.

      • pat says:

        You’re right he said hes looking forward to MO closing is games and looks forward to pitching with all those other guys, joba aj etc.

  3. cookidge says:

    But I do agree that he should stay in the rotation

  4. Matthew says:

    If the Yanks go with Pettitte or another vet, why not put Joba back in the ‘pen?

    • John says:

      because then again a spot in the rotation is open…

      • Matthew says:

        Hughes? I’d be more confident in Hughes if he was following 4 proven SPs than 3 and then Joba.

        No one wants to waste Hughes at 3A this year, so if you get Pettitte, you can roll out Wang, CC, Burn, Pet, Hughes and then a mix of bruney/marte to joba to mo.

        • pat says:

          Unfortunately, injured or not, phil proved he wasn’t ready for the majors last year. His time in AAA would not be wasted he still needs some seasoning.

          • Matthew says:

            I totally agree. I believe he needs to go down there, and prove over a consistent 2 month span or so that he can dominate again. I’m perfectly fine with him being a spot starter when the need him and then calling him up in Sept.

            Buuut, the masses don’t want that.

    • Jamal G. says:

      Because Joba-to-the-bullpen is a really dumb move in terms of utilizing Joba Chamberlain’s value to its fullest extent.

      • Matthew says:

        I disagree with that. Look at the Phils last year. They won a WS championship with an average starting rotation anchored by an ace, a good offense, and a lock down pen.

        • pat says:

          great starter>great closer

        • Sweet Dick Willie says:

          Why didn’t Philly move Hamels to the pen?


          Seesh, I can’t believe we are still discussing this.

          Hey, David Price pitched well in relief for the Rays last year. Ya think they will keep him there this year? Hell no! Why? Because he is more valuable to their team when he is in the starting rotation, just like Joba is more valuable to the Yankees when he is in their starting rotation.

        • Steve H says:

          So why did they sign CC to be a starter? Why not go Joba 7th/CC 8th/Mo 9th?

          Because it’s completely stupid to waste an above average (at minimum) starter in the pen. Why did Mo become the greatest closer of all time? Because he FAILED as a starter.

  5. dan says:

    Some people just don’t pay attention. Whether you want him in the bullpen or the rotation, he’s going to be in the rotation.

    Also, it looks like the AP writer read Brian Hoch’s story. Look at how similar the wording is.

    • Matthew says:

      Maybe, I just don’t think it’s the right move if they sign Pettitte or another pitcher of his caliber.

      Everyone wants Hughes in the rotation, so if that’s the case AND you sign a vet, then what?

      • Jamal G. says:

        Then Phil Hughes stays his ass in Triple-A, that’s what. Joba Chamberlain pitched like an ace during his first stint as a starter in the majors, Hughes should have no bearing on whether Chamberlain pitches in the rotation or not.

        • Matthew says:

          An ace? I wouldn’t go that far. He had signs of greatness, but that was over what, a half a season at most?

        • Kevin G. says:

          He did pitch like an ace. Remember when he beat Beckett and the sox 1 – 0.

          • Matthew says:

            That outing, and that outing alone he was ace like.

            • Ben K. says:

              You’re starting something with no evidence to back it up.

              Joba made 12 starts and threw 65.1 innings. That’s not the best IP per start, but in those 65.1 innings, he was as good as the best pitchers in the game. He allowed 60 hits and struck out 74. Opponents hit .245/.319/.322 off of him. That is ace-like.

              • Matthew says:

                in 30 relief apperances, he had a lower era, 35IP, to 27H, 14BB, and 44SO

                • Stephen says:

                  Of course pitchers have better numbers in the pen. They can use max effort and can use only their best pitcher not their whole repertoire.
                  On the other hand, I say use Joba 6th inning, AJ 7th, CC 8th, and Mo 9th inning. Why not?

  6. JeffG says:

    The only time I want to see Joba in the Pen is when he is nearing his innnings limit as a starter. No doubt he is a much greater asset in the rotation.

    I do think next year when Playoff time rolls around we’ll slip him in the pen. Again, because of innings, and that is something I’d look forward to seeing.

    • Ace says:

      I feel the same way. If we make the playoffs this year Joba should immediately be handed the 7th and 8th inning. Especially in a short series where he wouldn’t pitch until game 4 (if the rotation was lined up correctly) and especially if we have Andy “big game pitcher” Pettitte.

      Let CC, Wang and Burnett take leads through the 6th and then Joba and Mo lock it down for a series sweep. If 1 of those 3 lose then Pettitte pitches game 4.

    • Ryan S. says:

      The only time I want to see Joba in the pen is game 7 of the World Series, unless he happens to be starting that game.

  7. Joba Chamberlain says:

    I don’t even want to be in the ‘pen

  8. pat says:

    this whole argument needs to be put to bed

  9. Whozat says:

    No, because they would have made the wrong decision.

  10. Jonathan says:

    I’m so tired of this joba to pen people

    name one reliver who has 4 above average pitches

  11. Steve H says:

    Matthew, riddle me this. Why don’t the Sox put Beckett in the pen to see if his era gets better, and if so, leave him in the pen? Or the Mets and Johan. Or the Yanks and CC. Or the Jays and Halladay. Or Pedro circa 1999 for the Sox.

    • Matthew says:

      That’s a good point, and I can combat it.

      Because they are dominant SP. Joba was never dominate, minus one start last year. His walks are to high when he starts, and that lead to him never pitching more than 7 innings…

      • Matthew says:

        Also, I’m not totally against him as a starter. I just feel to obtain the most value of all of the Yankee pitchers would be to use Joba in the pen if and only if they resign Pettitte or another vet to the back end of the rotation, thus using Hughes as the 5.

        • Steve H says:

          The most value is getting more innings from your best pitchers. Joba is one of their best pitchers. If Mo was capable to be a starter, he would have been.

      • Steve H says:

        Joba as a rookie was a more dominating starter than any of them were as rookie starters.

      • Bruno says:

        Joba was never dominate


        His walks are to high when he starts, and that lead to him never pitching more than 7 innings…

        These will improve with experience, just like every other starting pitcher in the 100+ years of Major League Baseball history.

      • Bruno says:

        That’s a good point, and I can combat it poorly


        • Matthew says:

          clever, I like that.

          Until Joba is as good as he was in the pen from the rotation, and I’m willing to give him the season, the arguement can be made.

          • Bruno says:

            Until Joba is as good as he was in the pen from the rotation

            That’s already the case. Next time you watch him pitch, try doing so with your eyes open.

          • Steve H says:

            CC had an era of 4.38 in his first 66 starts. That’s dominating? Joba was much, much more dominating than that. Why didn’t the Indians move him to the pen?

      • Steve H says:

        Hallday, at 23 years old had an era as a starter that was almost twice as high than as a reliever. Why not leave him in the pen?

      • Steve H says:

        Pedro, as a reliever in in 1993 had a 2.61 era. He then moved to the rotation and had era’s of 3.42, 3.51, and 3.70 in the next 3 years. Why wasn’t he moved back to the pen?

      • Jamal G. says:

        Oh, except that he had a better BB/9 rate as a starter:

        Joba as a starter: 3.44 BB/9
        Joba as a dumb-ass reliever: 3.60 BB/9.

  12. Mike Pop says:

    He’s a B-Jobber.

  13. Ace says:

    I’m still waiting to see Jobas “above average curveball and change-up” If they are so good he doesnt seem to throw them very often according to fangraphs.

    Fastball 65.3%
    Slider 25.2%
    Curveball 7.8%
    Change 1.7%

    Compare that with Lincecum

    Fastabll 66.1%
    Curveball 13.7%
    Changeup 18.5%

    Unless I am reading this wrong it doesnt say how many landed for strikes but from what I watched his curveball and change dont work with any type of consistency.

    • Steve H says:

      Compare that with Josh Beckett

      Fastball 66.9%
      Curveball 23.7%
      Changeup 7.4%
      Cutter 2.1%

      Move him to the pen?

      • Ace says:

        Steve – when did I say move him to the pen?

        I’m saying if he has “4 plus pitches” ,which I read on here in the comments all the time, that he certainly doesnt use the other 2 very often. The changeup shouldnt even be mentioned when you are talking about his pitch selection.

        • Steve H says:

          But no starter uses 4 pitches 25% of the time. It’s about deception, and the hitter knowing the pitch is there and that it can be thrown. If they no that a pitcher is a 2 pitch pitcher, then the can look for only those two pitches. When the guy has the ability to throw 4, it changes things considerably. This is most important on 2 strike counts, the batter is much less comfortable.

          • Ace says:

            Knowing someone throws a curveball does not make that curveball a “plus pitch” in my opinion. If he cant throw it for strikes consistently then the hitter will not worry about it.

            Show me he throws his curve for a strike consistently and I will concede that it is a plus pitch. Otherwise he has 2 “plus pitches” in my book.

            I’m just sick of reading Joba should be a starter because he has 4 plus pitches. That is BS in my opinion.

            • Steve H says:

              I agree. Joba shouldn’t be a starter based on any # of pitches he can throw, he simply should be a starter because he can be very successful there. If he threw 1 pitch, and could give you 200 innings of a 3.50 era, he’d belong in the rotation.

    • Giuseppe Franco says:

      C’mon, you can’t be serious.

      Lincecum has made 57 starts in the bigs.

      Joba has only made a total of 12 starts and had very strict pitch counts of 40, 55, 70, and 90 for a handful of those starts to build up his arm strength.

      The more starts he makes, the more experience he’ll gain, and the more often he’ll throw his change and curve ball.

      Why is this so hard for people to comprehend?

      • Ace says:

        That’s fair but for someone who isn’t throwing that many pitches I’m not hopping on the “he has 4 plus pitches” train yet. Let’s actually see them before using that as an argument of where he should be placed.

        And yes, he should be a starter.

        • Giuseppe Franco says:

          His secondary pitches will get better the more often he throws them.

          Whether he has four “plus” pitches is irrelevant. He still has four pitches – at least two are plus pitches and the other two or no worse than ML average.

          He’ll keep working on those secondary pitches and he’ll be that much tougher to beat.

          • Ace says:

            Whether he has four “plus” pitches is irrelevant.

            Not when you have to repeatedly read comments on here about how he has four plus pitches from people who are making the case for him to be a starter.

            I agree he should be a starter but this is a terrible way to argue that point. That’s all I’m saying.

            I agree with everything else you said.

            • Jamal G. says:

              Anybody who says Joba Chamberlain has “four plus pitches” has no idea what they are talking about. He has a plus fastball, a plus-plus slider, an above-average curveball and a show-me changeup. Now, obviously I am going off the reports of such sites as Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law, but Chamberlain has two dominant pitches – his heater and slider – and a good pitch in his curveball; his changeup is just there.

  14. Ace says:

    And for the record Papelbon threw his slider 6.1% of the time. If you want to say that doesnt count as a 3rd pitch then you can scratch the curve and definitely the changeup for Joba, in my opinion.

    • Steve H says:

      Fail. This includes Joba’s time in the pen, where he wouldn’t throw all 4 pitches.

    • Ryan S. says:

      Considering the fact that Joba’s FB and slider are tremendous pitches – his slider is one of the best in the game already – throwing his still developing curveball 8% of the time, and effectively at that (if you actually watched, him pitch you should be able to remember he used that curve to get some outs), sounds just about right. Everyone realizes that Joba was a rookie last year, right? We all understand the implications of that statement, that Joba was a rookie ? That he’s still developing? That he’s not close to peaking?

      He’s meeting every challenge he’s been getting – we’re already comparing him to guys like Lincecum or Beckett without batting an eye -and we still can’t get the Joba to the pen notion out of some people’s skulls? I just don’t get it – it demonstrates a complete and utter lack of understanding of the baseball process in some people.

  15. Zack says:

    Yeah his 2.75 era while a starter should definately be moved to a bullpen, real smart.
    by signing marte, having bruney, veras, ramirez, coke, and the kids down in teh farm, shows that the Yankees are doing EVERYTHING possible to keep Joba out of the bullpen

  16. Jeremy says:

    I think the Warren Spahn Award, given annually to the best lefty in the leagues, is a newsworthy event. The award is given by the Jim Thorpe Association and was presented this year by the Bricktown Rotary club in Oklahoma City.

    CC thinks it’s a worthy award, as he has come twice to receive it. I understand that the award itself was not the point of your discussion, but I certainly think it’s newsworthy.

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