Dispensing with a tired Joba debate

NY Pol wants to delay stadium vote
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Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Do we really have to “revive” the Joba Chamberlain debate, as Justin Sablich attempted to do yesterday on The Times’ Bats blog? Is there nothing better to talk about during the first few days of January than something that should have been put to bed ages ago?

Since the answer to my rhetorical question is clearly “no,” let’s dispose of this attempt to put a potential ace into some overblown 8th inning role. The italicized parts are from Sablich’s blog post, linked above. The regular text is my response.

Despite his game-shortening ability as Mariano Rivera’s setup man, Chamberlain was converted to a starter for part of the 2008 season before tendinitis in his throwing shoulder sent him to the disabled list and eventually back to the bullpen.

So before we even get to the meat of the argument, already it’s distorting the issue. Chamberlain was not “converted to a starter” in 2008. He had been a starter his entire career and was converted into a reliever in 2007 because he was running up against his innings limit. He simply returned to the role in which the Yanks envisioned him when they drafted him.

Now with a revamped rotation for the 2009 season, a case can be made for keeping Chamberlain in the setup role. The Yankees simply do not need Chamberlain in the rotation the way they did last season.

Any starting rotation with Joba Chamberlain is better than any without him. He’s a far superior pitcher to Andy Pettitte at this point in their respective careers, and he has so far been a more effective Major League starter than Phil Hughes. We could even make the case that he’s better than Chien-Ming Wang and A.J. Burnett as well. The Yankees are far better putting a pitcher of Chamberlain’s caliber in the rotation than they are burning him in the pen.

Chamberlain in the bullpen would most likely make each starting pitcher better by shortening his starts. Fans concerned about Sabathia burning out in September or Burnett breaking down over the long haul could rest a little easier. A Chamberlain bridge would also make life easier for Rivera, who turned 39 in November and may not be able to crank out a two-inning save with as much ease as in the past.

You know what else would help shorten starts? Having CC Sabathia in the bullpen.

Seriously, though, the Yankees pen is not a problem. The bullpen had a 3.79 ERA last year and led the AL in strike outs. They can use Damaso Marte and Brian Bruney to shorten games and have a plethora of other options that can spell Mariano Rivera when necessary. Considering that around 25 percent of a set-up man’s appearances come in close situations with the tying run on base or at the plate, the value of a nearly perfect set-up man is diminished even further. This is just a psychological “we would feel better with Joba in the bullpen” argument with little support to back it up.

In addition to keeping others healthy, Chamberlain could be healthier by remaining a reliever. There’s no questioning his effectiveness as a starter. His numbers as a starter last season (2.75 ERA and 10.3 K/9) were almost identical to his stats as a reliever (2.31 ERA and 11.1 K/9). But his shoulder injury came about as a starter, and fewer innings could only help him keep his shoulder strong.

Except relievers are generally less healthy than starters. Ask Eric Gagne, ask Tom Gordon. The general consensus in baseball is that it’s far easier to monitor a pitcher’s workload if he’s starting every five days than if he is relieving on an erratic schedule.

A popular argument for having Chamberlain start is that you should not waste a player with such ability as a reliever because the more innings he can pitch the better. Wouldn’t you rather have 230 innings of Chamberlain rather than 90?

The problem with that argument is that you can say the same thing about Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon or a number of other great relievers. Are the Red Sox wasting Papelbon’s talent by limiting his innings and not converting him back to a starter?

I wish people would stop comparing Papelbon to Chamberlain. It’s just not an apt comparison. Papelbon was a B/B+ starting prospect with two good pitches. Joba has long been an A/A+ starting prospect with four good pitches. The Red Sox tried to use Papelbon in the rotation, and that plan did not work out. In other words, he — much like Mariano Rivera — is a failed starter. Chamberlain has a long way to go before anyone considers him a failed starter, and as Sablich points out not two paragraphs before this claim, Joba actually enjoyed great success as a starter until his shoulder flared up.

If the Yankees used Chamberlain to shorten games to six innings, is that really a waste of talent? It sounds more like an incredible advantage to me.

Again, not an “incredible” advantage. In 1996, when the Yanks used Rivera to shorten games, he made 61 appearances. Of those, 15 were with the game tied or the Yanks up by one run. So that means that in 75 percent of his appearances, Rivera was protecting a lead of at least two runs or holding a deficit. As I said already, the Yankees would basically be sacrificing Joba in the rotation for around 20 innings of actual “clutch” pitching. It’s just not worth it.

In the end, in a few years, the Yankees may wind up putting Chamberlain in the pen, but that won’t happen until and unless he can’t handle the rigors of throwing 200 innings a season. We’re a long way from that point, and this debate is just a tired old rehash of things that should have been settled long ago. The Yankees are far better off with Joba Chamberlain making 30+ starts a year, and it shouldn’t even be called a debate anymore.

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NY Pol wants to delay stadium vote
What Yankee blogs do you read?
  • Jake H

    Just say no to the Joba debate!

  • Patch

    “Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Do we really have to “revive” the Joba Chamberlain debate…”

    Um, no. No you do not.

    So why did you waste your time writing this?

    Love the site, but really, we don’t need to read this.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work!

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

      Because there will be people who disagree. Just wait and check back here in a little while. You’ll, unfortunately, see.

      • Jake H

        Your right and I am not looking forward to reading their comments.

        • Lanny

          This guy obviously hasnt been checking Yankee blogs the past 18 months.

          • Jake H

            I do I’m just very tired of it.

      • Sandyboy5

        Joba in the pen for all the reasons you stated in your article. He’s the perfect guy for when Mariano retires and he’ll stay healthier. Seems like he will break down as a starter and the the rotation doesn’t need him. He’s more valuable in the pen and has proven he has the mental makeup to do the job. Marte pitches to a batter or 2, Phil Coke is more impressive. Bruney is great for the 7th. Aceves looked really good but there is no one in Baseball that can Bridge the gap to Mariano better than Joba.

    • steve (different one)

      he wrote it in response to a piece in the NY Times that said Joba should be a reliever.

      Ben didn’t revive the debate. the NY Times did. Ben took the debate and tore it apart.

      that’s why we have blogs like this.

      • radnom

        It takes two people to have a debate. Both sides have to revive it.

        Even “tearing it apart” gives it credability as a actual debate.

    • JeffG

      It’s January and our team is almost set for April… who cares if this topic comes up again? It’s not like they are skipping over a bigger story.

      Plus it’s got to be tough to keep up with the great Abe’s six pack a day (just kidding) this sight would be better than his with one post a day anyways.

      If I could pose a question in the slow times though – when will you guys be putting together the top prospect list like last year? That was really good.

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

        Mike’s working on it now. Last year, we published it in February.

        • JeffG

          Awesome. Looking forward to it, February or whenever.

  • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

    I used to be on the Joba in the pen side but then, you guys knocked some sense into me with the CC Sabathia to the pen AJ Burnett to the pen etc. But I do believe if the injuries continue through this year then there should be strond consideratiion to send him back to the pen

    • Hobs

      Well then you’re right in line with ever one else who wants him as a starter.

      Like you said, he should be allowed to start until he for some reason shows he can’t pitch 200 innings a year.

  • http://poormansanalyst.wordpress.com/ dan

    I’m pretty sure the Joba debate ended when everybody saw how sick-nasty he was out of the rotation. Weren’t people saying “OMG HES SOO GD IN TEH 8TH INNING HE’LL BE THE SUX0R IN TEH RTATON!!!11ONE1!!1!” and then he dominated in the rotation and those people shut up.

    (just wondering, where did the term “SUX0R” come from… this is the only place I’ve ever seen it)

    • Marcus

      ‘suxor’ is a very common word to be thrown around during online gaming

      Like, You are t3h suxXor

      • http://poormansanalyst.wordpress.com/ dan

        Ah, thanks. Guess I’m not part of that crowd.

  • Blackdragon905

    Great post! I’m sick of all this Joba-to-the-pen crap!!! He’s a starter and that’s where he should stay for the rest of his career!

  • Ed

    I agree completely with almost everything you said, except this little bit:

    Except relievers are generally less healthy than starters. Ask Eric Gagne, ask Tom Gordon. The general consensus in baseball is that it’s far easier to monitor a pitcher’s workload if he’s starting every five days than if he is relieving on an erratic schedule.

    Tossing two names out there is just cherry picking.

    Gagne is a really weird case. The guy has had two Tommy John surgeries, which is really rare. Pitchers generally don’t come back from a second one. On top of that, the second TJ surgery was botched a little and caused nerve damage, leading to further surgery. The fact that he’s survived in the majors this long is actually impressive.

    As for Tom Gordon, he pitched in the majors through the age of 40. Not that many people do that. You have to be relatively healthy to do that. He even had something left after spending a few years on Torre’s abuse list.

    The problem with the bullpen is it’s less obvious if you’re abusing a reliever. Starters have a strict schedule, and everyone knows if you deviate from it. Pitchers who can’t handle that workload get moved to the bullpen to lighten the load on them. However, it’s not so obvious how many times a player warmed up in the bullpen but didn’t enter a game, or what the effects of that are. Factor that in and monitoring the workload becomes much harder.

  • TheLastClown

    Honestly, I don’t think the B-Jobber crowd is going to grace these comments.

    And enough with the injury arguments. Joba should’ve started ’08 in the rotation, or at the very least been sent down to AAA for a couple of stretch-out starts. The team was in a bad way, so Cash had to juggle Joba from ‘pen to ‘tation without being able to do it in a way that was methodical, incremental, or wise. It was a shotgun move out of necessity. He got hurt because he needs a full season of preparation & repetition as a starter. He will get that this year.

    Phranchise has been hurt twice, and no one is clamoring to stick him in an 8th inning role. Things happen, players get hurt, and these are young guys getting acclimated to the kind of work they’re going to do for the next *hopefully* 10+ years.

    That being said, may we never speak of this again.

    • steve (different one)

      The team was in a bad way, so Cash had to juggle Joba from ‘pen to ‘tation without being able to do it in a way that was methodical, incremental, or wise. It was a shotgun move out of necessity.

      well, that’s not how i remember it at all.

      i remember it being pretty much a given that Joba was going to start the year in the pen and then “sretch out” mid-year and move to the rotation. and this was done to cap his innings.

      which is exactly what happened.

      i remember on May 21st, Joba was allowed to pitch 2 innings of an 8-0 game against Baltimore. after the game, Girardi revealed that the “stretching out” had begun.

      so, over the next month, he made appearances of the following pitchcounts:

      35
      40
      28 (then he went to the bullpen and threw more pitches)
      62 (first start)
      78 (second start)
      89 (third start)
      100 (fourth start)

      it was methodical and incremental.

      • Ryan S.

        Yes, this is precisely how it happened. It was steady and methodical, and when Joba went to the DL in August, the Yankees were universally exonerated from any culpability. Everyone felt they had handled Joba just fine.

        I remember when every major sports outlet in the media’s collective jaw dropped when Girardi nonchalantly mentioned Joba was being transitioned during that post game interview. Funny stuff.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          OMG they are changing their plan and making Joba a starter now!!! Hank is getting what he wants!!! It’s Hughes’ fault because he sucked!!!

          I remember those days.

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob Abruzzese

    The one thing I don’t understand about this debate, which I’ve been tracking on my blog, is that if this is really about health then why wouldn’t the Yankees be considering Phil Hughes in the pen. He seems much more injury prone than Joba.

    • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

      im guessing because joba is that type o blow away pitcher, and people have seen him do great in the pen

      • Hobs

        Hughes was pretty successful out of the pen against Cleveland and he throws 95ish in that role.

        • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

          well that was once i mean joba started in the majors as a reliever so people got used to him that way, and many people who dont no about the situation think that joba is truely a reliever

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Because Hughes is younger than Joba and has the tools to be an excellent starting pitcher as well. You can replace “Joba” with “Hughes” in Ben’s post, and it’s still applicable.

  • http://www.somuchpower.blogspot.com thisisthedavid

    Joba has a timing issue that is less likely to effect him in the bullpen….

    • Steve H

      Says who exactly?

      • http://poormansanalyst.wordpress.com/ dan

        He does have a (small) timing issue, but it makes no difference whether he’s a starter or a reliever. And just to emphasize, as of right now it’s not a big issue.

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

    Perfect. I have no more words.

  • Joey H

    Perfectly evaluated Ben.

  • Rob D.

    Another difference between Joba and Papelbon…Papelbon was a reliever in college. Boston tried to stretch him into a starter after they drafted him.

    Joba was a starter in college, and the only reason anyone sees him as a reliever is because of 24 innings he threw in 2007 when the Yanks needed relief help.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Thank you. This is the most obvious fact that is completely and totally ignored by the Joba-to-the-bullpen advocates.

      • Ivan

        And if he wasn’t hurt in 06, would of been a top 10 pick in the 06 draft.

        In alot of ways the yanks were lucky to get the guy.

        • Jake H

          They were very lucky. Baseball America redid the draft in an article and had Joba going I think top 5.

  • goose

    hey, tim lincecum is a small guy. with a frame like that he may not be great for more than 6 or 7 years – they should move him to the pen ASAP. He could pitch in more games and probably add another 5 effective years to his career.

    jeez, i am sure the red sox have loads of regret that they didnt do that with pedro who was alsosmall in stature. look at him now – a broken down pitcher. and for that matter beckett could probably add another 3-4 miles per hour on his fastball as a reliever and he wasnt too great last season. just think of beckett in the 8th preceding papellbon. you could keep that tandem in tact dominating the latter part of games for years and years to come.

    of course had the red sox done that, they would probably have two less world series than they actually do, but hey at least their bullpen would have been fantastic all these years

    and while we are at it, i would strongly suggest to the rays that they put price in the pen – look at how he dominted in the ALCS. Why not Kazmir as well. they do need a closer after all and price in the 9th with Kaz setting up would be tremendous and you could get 100 appearances between them.

    • http://poormansanalyst.wordpress.com/ dan

      Yea, why is no one saying Price should be in the ‘pen? Are Rays fans smarter than Yankee fans? HHhhmmmm

      • radnom

        I support Joba in the rotation more than anyone but I hate when people don’t understand why people view the situations differently.

        Price spent 5 innings in the bullpen for the Rays last season. Five.
        Joba helped carry the Yankees into the playoffs in 07, stabilizing the weakest part of the team in grand fashion, with much media hype.
        That is why no one is clamoring for Price in the pen. He is not nearly as much on the main steam radar as Joba was at this point in his career.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        It’s simple. The media in New York has a bigger voice. The Tampa media is just as stupid and shortsighted, but they don’t have as big a reach.

  • goose

    and why wasnt clemens moved early on? he was a big guy who put it all into every pitch – the perfect make-up for a bullpen pitcher

    and lets get our money out of CC. I dont wnat to waste that 20 million plus dollars a year on a guy who will only contribute to 35 games per season

    • steve (different one)

      you must not be Goose Gossage, since Gossage is a B-Jobber.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I was surprised they debated it on MLB network this past weekend. Two out of three guys on the panel thought he should be the 8th inning guy. I can’t believe this is EVEN STILL A TOPIC!

  • Dave

    I agree wholeheartedly about joba – 200 plus innings out of his arm is way better than 80 and as a starter, he will probably be healthier and more consistent. We can always put him back in the pen if he fails and we can always sign a closer to replace mo or promote melancon to the job if we are lucky.

    I have two things I would really like the yanks to do the rest of this off season neither of which I see them doing but here;

    One, forget about pettitte! He was horrendous last year, he is old and he took roids so his body could fall apart any minute – who knows how much longer he can hit 200 innings? I dont mind the yanks re-signing him if he is our best option for 10 to 12 mil but he is not. If pettitte wants 12 mil to be a fifth starter, why not try signing ben sheets for around that price to be our third starter – the rotation would be CC, wang, Sheets, Burnett and Joba because sheets is far far better than burnett. That is five possible aces. I know sheets and burnett are both injury prone but we do have aceves, coke, kennedy, hughes and a plethora of other starters around to fill spots in case. Sheets will surely be a better pitcher than pettitte for prolly only 3 mil or more in cost. Hard to argue with signing a third starter for 2 years and 15 mil or a fifth starter for 1 year and 12 mil especially when sheets is almost a decade younger than pettitte and coming off an all star season while pettitte is coming off the worst season of his career.

    Two, I know no one wants to hear this and rivera was stellar last season but what happens if he gets hurt next year? What happens if he all of a sudden becomes ineffective for a long period of time? Huston street wouldnt cost us much more than what the mets gave up for putz and if the mets can have two closers, why cant we? I constantly hear this crap saying closers wont sign to pitch the eighth but then, the mets go out and sign krod and trade for putz. So what does huston steet cost us? Maybe nady and prospects or something like that – not too many useful pieces for a potentially crucial spot. If joba will not pitch the eighth which i agree with then we are relying on a very young and not too experiences pen outside of rivera and marte i guess. we could certainly use streets arm in those close eighth innings and even seventh innings. Not to mention, he becomes our safety just in case rivera isnt all he was last season – rivera getting hurt is the only way i see this team fail next season and signing street prevents this. Who knows what edwar, veras and bruney will give us next season as relievers are soo volatile – moving them to the seventh would make the pen is a whole much much stronger.

    I would also like to see us sign a more solid infielder backup – a starter that could have a comeback year. I like gardner as our backup outfielder and i still think that cameron for melky and igawa/prospect deal would be solid for us.

    Sign sheets, trade for street and cameron and this team is absolutely unstoppable. There is no holes whatsoever with those three moves. Sheets and street actually make the team younger and cameron would only be here as a one year stopgap for ajax. This rotation set us up for years to come while pettitte will just need to be replaced. Adding sheets also makes everyone in the rotation 32 or younger and aj burnett at 32 becomes the veteran of the staff with everyone else in their 20s – have the yanks ever had a rotation that young and talented?

    • Lanny

      take a deep breath fella…

    • JeffG

      One – I think it is very suspect if Sheets even can pitch a full season next year and that is what we need. Remember that he could not finish the season. One the same topic he will require years when we only need one, as our farm hands should be polished up by then.
      Two – we have spent plenty of money this off season filling our biggest holes. I think Cashman and crew did a great job of applying our resources toward our biggest needs. If the point is relievers can’t be depended upon year to year than apply that to the guy you are going to sign as well. Also, our farm is pretty stacked when it comes to guys that could be useful in the pen. I like Albaladejo a lot and think he is going to very good this year. Some say Melancon could be our next closer.
      Crying that we have not done enough this off season is really not taking things into perspective. Critics are already losing it as it is – we can’t sign everyone.

      • Ryan S.

        100% agree w/ this reply.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Why don’t teams just go with a bullpen of 13 relievers?

  • Lanny

    I just dont get why these people arent clamoring for Mike Pelfrey to be in the pen or David Price or Jon Lester etc etc.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Bingo. No one is having this discussion about David Price and it’s the exact same situation.

  • JeffG

    I have disagreed with people on this sight on a lot of issues but Joba in the pen is not one of them. He has far more value as a starter.
    How much money have we just poured into Sabathia? Pettitte last year cost us more than Mo and Mo is the best ever at what he does.
    Joba has already shown me he has the ability to be one of the best starters in baseball. He could very well be another Sabathia (knock on wood). Why would you trade him into a role that we could have plugged with Putz or Fuentes? Makes absolutely no sense economically.

  • SpiritofCapnJackSparrow

    The reason why this debate will not end is because of people like Mike Frencessa from WFAN and his ilk. Every time I drive & listen to that station that man is constantly harping on the fact that Joba belongs in the bullpen. It just does not stop.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      He is the biggest bag of hot air in sports today as far as I’m concerned.

  • Phil McCracken

    I always wonder if any of these writers who want Joba as a reliever even watched the games last year.

    One could make a case last year, that Joba was the Yankees most dominating starter when he was healthy. Sure Mussina had more wins, but if Joba had been in the rotation and healthy the whole season he probably would have been our best starter. He showed shut down skills, endurance, and the ability to adapt to hitters with different pitches as the game went on. All traits of a starter.

  • steve (different one)

    in other words,

    Joba Chamberlain is the balls.

  • Balls Deep

    Joba is a starter; I’m just worried about his innings limit… don’t want to see him hit it in August. That would suck. His injury last year put him back… He has it! You don’t trade it! I only home everyone’s hero Austin Jackson has it too.

  • Tom Zig

    Does anyone remember the day Joba got hurt?

    I quote the NY Post on August 4th, 2008:

    The injury could have stemmed from Chamberlain ducking and taking a tumble while getting out of the way of a Pudge Rodriguez throw to second in the fifth. The catcher thought he had a double play chance on Ian Kinsler’s dribbler in front of the plate, and threw to second, narrowly missing Chamberlain’s head. The ball, however, was ruled foul.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08.....122979.htm

  • Doug

    Another vote for Joba in the rotation. Why would you waste a guy who has 4 pitches, 2 of them ++, in the pen?

    • Steve H

      Luckily the people who matter understand what a colossal waste it would be.

      • Doug

        Indeed they do

  • Balls Deep

    The truest thought is you would rather have your “awesome pitcher” throwing 200 innings rather than 70…

  • ryan

    If every starter who had a shoulder flare up with tendonitis became a reliever to stay healthy …..who would start? who doesn’t have this happen from time to time with the exception of guys wit rubber arms.

  • A.D.

    The Red Sox tried to use Papelbon in the rotation, and that plan did not work out. In other words, he — much like Mariano Rivera — is a failed starter.

    Papelbon didn’t really “fail” as a starter, he was good in the minors and fine in his 3 starts, its more he was a closer in college, sox needed a closer, and Papelbon said he wanted to close. Along with, as mentioned, that his ceiling as a starter is lesser than Joba’s.

    • Ed

      After Papelbon’s first season as closer, Boston tried moving him back to the rotation in spring training. After about 3 innings, his pitches started losing their effectiveness. He just didn’t have the stamina to be an effective starter, and everyone involved realized that pretty quickly.

  • Doug

    And to those of you who would like to see him in the pen, I ask you this. Are we really that desperate for him there? Don’t get me wrong, Joba was terrific in the 8th inning role, one of the best in the game. But a pen of Bruney, Marte, Veras, Ramirez, Coke in front of Mo is more than capable. They proved it last year. And if one or two flater, guys like Albaladejo and Melancon are ready to fill in.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    What a fucking catch by Larry Fitzgerald!

    • Doug

      yeah, but kinda ordinary for him :-)

    • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

      That was one fucking crazy flee flicker

    • Ivan

      Sick ass catch yo.

  • Balls Deep

    Fitzgerald is $$

  • deezer

    they had the same debate on mlb network’s first hot stove show. harold reynolds and barry larkin wanted him in the pen. only al leiter said he should start.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      That’s because Al Lieter is an intelligent human being.

  • Ivan

    This is history for me to see the Cardinals in a playoff game.

  • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

    Can we get a open thread to talk about the playoff games?

  • RustyJohn

    I told my boss last week that I was much too valuable an employee to work all day, that the daily grind of an 8-5 job was too much, and I could just “let it all out” and bust my ass if I only worked for an hour. Surprisingly, he agreed and I now only work from 3 PM to 4 PM. It really is for the best for everyone involved. We’re a better office because of it.

    • Steve H

      Excellent post.

      • Gurris

        Yeah, but that’s because when you worked 8-5, you only showed up for work once per week.

  • SpiritofCapnJackSparrow

    The people who want Joba in the bullpen also show that they have no knowledge of the Yankee farm prospects. If they new what type of relief arms starting with Melencon we have in the works then I firmly believe they would not want Joba in the bullpen. I cant wait to see Melencon come up sometime this year and end this debate.

    • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

      Same, It makes having a game used and signed hat by him that much better.

      • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

        And having Joba not in the bullpen keeps Coke and Aceves in the bullpen where they truly belong.

    • Mike Pop

      M-E-L-A-N-C-O-N

      • http://nyfaninboston.blogspot.com/ Manimal

        Spelling isn’t the crime, its the pronunciation.

        “Mel-an-KON”

        “Mel-IN-cone”

        Drives me nuts.

        Its Muh-LAN-son.

  • christopher

    While I do think it would be advantageous to add another arm to the pen as last year’s pen was made primarily of young pitchers who teams had not seen much of. I still believe that there is talent in there and they will continue to suceed; although perhaps not to the same level.

    That being said, the bullpen was not a problem for last year’s team, in fact it was a strength even when Joba was a starter. In fact a good argument can be made that more quality starters makes for a better pen as the pen can keep to a routine with set roles and avoid being tired out.

    The team’s weknesses were its offense and to some extent the starting pitching who’s numbers were helped out quite a bit by having s strong staff.

    Puting Joba in the pen would be the equivant of trading Tex & wang for Pujols & kyle lohse. Does it improve the offense just and puting joba in the pen would improve the pen – yes, but it also signifcantly hurts the rotation as moving joba out of the rotation would signicantly hurt it as there is noone available in the organization or FA wh is a better option the Joba. So the slight improvement to the offense in this fanstasy trade be woulnt be worth it just as the slight improvement to the pen wouldnt be worth the blow to the rotation in 2009 and especially moving forward.

    why is this only mentioned with reference to joba – because he was dominant in the pen for just 3 months in his entire ameteur snd professional career? he was converted to a reliever out of the team’s desperation that season not because they wanted him to be a closer or set-up man.

    sorry for the babbling

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Dumbest things in sports:
    1) Hiring an announcer or a former star player to be your team GM/president/grand poobah when he has no front-office experience
    2) Drafting a kicker or punter on Day One of the draft
    3) Wasting a dominant starter in the bullpen
    4) Paying non-minimum money for non-star players in the NBA (where contracts are guaranteed and you’re stuck with that player forever; only true impact players deserve anything more than the veteran minimum)
    5) Evaluating talent by using the batting average statistic

    • Steve H

      1. Matt Millen-check
      2. Janikowski-check
      3. Joba in the pen-check
      4. Brian Cardinal-check
      5. Anyone who thinks Adam Dunn sucks or Juan Pierre is good-check

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        1. Isiah Thomas-check
        2. Mike Nugent-check
        3. Brett Myers in the pen-check
        4. Austin Croshere-check
        5. Anyone who thinks Nick Swisher sucks or Willy Taveras is good-check

  • pete

    does anybody else think that we should (provided he has a good ST) give the 5th starter spot to Coke for now? I know he showed last year in limited playing time that he can be a dominant reliever, but I feel like he is a more mature pitcher and throws harder than hughes and does so from the left side. I do believe that hughes’s ceiling as a starter is higher than coke’s – i think of coke’s ceiling as more of a number 3/4 or a dominant setup man/ decent closer – but coke could get by a little easier because of his stuff and his left handedness. In other words, I feel like Coke would be a serviceable starter right now, whereas hughes, while he could be dominant, could also suck right now, and could certainly use some more time in AAA, from whence, if he gets really hot, he could come up and take Coke’s place in the rotation while coke would take someone’s place in the pen. Of course, these are just idle musings, but i get the sense that Coke could, at least at the beginning of the season, be a more reliable starter than hughes.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Coke will have to show that he has a few pitches that he can command before they move him out of the bullpen. From what I remember/what I’ve read and heard, that’s not really the case with the other Phil. I think the bullpen is where he’s the best fit–unless he proves otherwise.

    • ryan

      Coke would need more seasoning than hughes and hughes will probably be in AAA for at least the start of the season. I think they’ll think about aceves and probably try him in that 5 spot until coke or hughes or even IPK get on a roll.

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  • ortforshort

    What debate? Yankee brass is going to do what they want no matter what we all “decide” here. My own opinion is that Chamberlain has a violent motion and that the more innings he throws, the greater the chance of injury. It’s a gut reaction to watching him pitch. I like him as the heir apparent to Rivera as the Yankee closer whenever Rivera is done and, frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Rivera outlast Chamberlain. Chamberlain’s got a great closer’s attitude and demeanor and has the stuff to blow away people for short stints, which is fun to watch as a Yankee fan. Anyway, the Yankees will start him because that’s where they see their need, I just don’t personally think he’ll last very long in that role.

    • Old Ranger

      I’ve always called Jobas’ delivery, “The AJ delivery”…because that is similar to the way AJ use to pitch. One deference is Joba is much heftier, maybe he can get away with it…Bob Gibson did.

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