Jan
27

Fangraphs on The Great Joba Debate

By

When the Yankees announced they were bringing back Andy Pettitte yesterday the first thing a bunch of fans said was “now Joba can go back to the bullpen, where he belongs.” They said this when they signed CC. They said this when they signed AJ. It’s like clockwork. Luckily Eric Seidman at Fangraphs broke out some math and showed just how more valuable a starter is than a reliever.

Seidman shows that as a starter, Joba could pitch to a 4.10 FIP over 150 innings and be worth +2.6 wins. That’s a good but not great projection, and I suspect many Yankee fans would be a little disappointed with that kind of output out of the big Nebraskan. In fact, 51 starters put up +2.6 WAR last year, including guys like Wandy Rodriguez (+2.7), Dana Eveland (+2.7), Jesse Litsch (+2.8), and Ubaldo Jimenez (+4.4). The +2.6 WAR Starter club isn’t the most exclusive club in the world, as you can see.

Now, to match that production as a reliever Joba would basically have to be one of the five or six best relievers in baseball by putting up a 2.28 FIP in 80 innings, and even that only works out to a +2.4 WAR. Only eight relievers matched the +2.6 WAR Joba could reasonably put up in 150 mediocre innings as a starter, and they’re like, the eight best relievers in baseball pitching in highest of high leverage situations. Even the almighty Mariano Rivera, baseball’s most valuable reliever last year with a +4.2 WAR, was just the 26th most valuable pitcher in the game last year.

There really is no debate. Joba Chamberlain, even as a middling starter, is more valuable to the team than he is as a shut down reliever. Bringing Pettitte back doesn’t change anything, all it does is push Joba back to the fifth spot. This isn’t a situation like Mariano Rivera or Joe Nathan, where the guy doesn’t have enough pitches to start. There’s a reason guys become relievers, and it’s because they aren’t good enough to start.

Please, end the foolishness. Joba should be a starter until he proves he can’t handle it.

Categories : Analysis

274 Comments»

  1. Yankee1010 says:

    Unfortunately, logic and reasoning are lost on those who want Joba in the bullpen, so it’s unlikely they can even read or interpret anything on FanGraphs.

  2. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    Please, end the foolishness.

    If only it was that easy. If only.

  3. Arin says:

    Great post. Hopefully this puts things into perspective.

  4. Randy says:

    the key line in this post is “until he proves he can’t handle it.” i would like to add “and can’t succeed” to that point. joba should have to show that he isn’t capable of thriving as a starter before we entertain the idea of him going back to the bullpen. at some point performance has to take precedence over all the back and forth with this debate. he did well as a starter before he got hurt and if he can continue that people should shut up.

    • Jay CT... STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts) says:

      Exactly. If Joba cannot handle the workload, then fine. But if he can stay healthy and dominant, it is fucking retarded to make him a bullpen guy. I really think none of these writers actually believe he belongs there; they say this only to get people worked up and to sell papers. If you ever ask anyone who believes he belongs in the pen, why not use CC in the 8th instead, they are like, “Ummm….”

      • kSturnz says:

        Even if Joba is to get injured by some series of unfortunate events, He should still be a starter. He is that good. Additionally, our bullpen is that deep.

  5. Frank says:

    I can see both sides of the argument. Personally, I don’t care about the stats- Joba/Mo in the 8th/9th is better than any of the other set options they currently have (Veras, Bruney,Marte). In my opinion, all 3 of these guys are just too inconsistent. That’s just my view and I know we can debate this until the cows come home. I look at it this way- with Joba in the pen, he can impact 3-5 games per week as opposed to 2 at the most as a starter. Now if it turns out Melancon or someone else turns out to be more reliable than the 3 mentioned above, then my opinion may change.But right now, I prefer Joba over those 3 as the set up to Mo.

    • UWS says:

      So why aren’t you arguing that Sabathia, or Burnett or Wang should be the set up man for Rivera? They are all excellent pitchers who sure as hell would be more reliable than Bruney and company. And they, too, could impact 3-5 games per week rather than 2 at the most.

    • Yankee1010 says:

      This is faulty logic. Would you also prefer Sabathia to be the setup man? He’d also be better than the guys you mention.

      • Frank says:

        Quite honestly, I don’t get your logic. What does CC, Wang or Burnett have to do with whether Joba would be better off as the set up man to Mo, as opposed to starting? The debate which keeps coming up and will likely continue through ST is about Joba’s role. Many of you feel he’s better off as a starter. Myself, and others, take the opposite view given the pitching staff as currently constituted.

        • Yankee1010 says:

          This comment perfectly illustrates my first comment in this thread, i.e. if you can’t understand why your comment does not make any sense, you’re certainly not going to understand a well-reasoned argument from FanGraphs about why Joba should be a starter.

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

      Frank, you say Joba is better than Veras, Bruney and Marte, which is absolutely true. But it’s not the point. If we go with your logic, CC should be the 8th inning guy, because he’s better than Veras, Bruney and Marte. Why doesn’t Roy Halladay work the 8th inning? (A Halladay-Ryan combo would be fearsome.) The Mets have had all kinds of bullpen problems, why not go Santana-Putz-K Rod? (The starters would only have to go six!) Why don’t the Red Sox move Beckett to the 8th inning? (Think of all the staring after strikeouts we could see with a Beckett-Papelbon combo!) Why not move Lincecum, Hamels and King Felix to the 8th inning (all are better than the 8th inning options those teams have)?

      The answer to those questions is simple: The best pitchers start. If you have a Halladay, you start him. If you have a Santana, you start him. If you have a Beckett, you start him. And if you have a Joba Chamberlain, you start him, at least until he shows he can’t be a good starter.

    • Rob in CT says:

      Of course Joba is better than Veras, Edwar and Bruney. Duh. He’s also better than the team’s other options for 5th starter. So much so, in fact, that the differential between Joba and not-Joba in that role is larger than the differential between Joba and Veras/Edwar/Bruney in the ‘pen.

      And that’s without discussing future seasons (wherein, if all goes to plan, Joba will be out there for ~200 innings).

    • I look at it this way- with Joba in the pen, he can impact 3-5 games per week as opposed to 2 at the most as a starter.

      You could also look at it this way:

      With Joba as a starter, he can impact 6/9ths of the game two times a week; as a releiver, he can impact 1/9th of the game three-to-five times a week.

      Would you rather have Joba’s dominance in 12/18ths of two games in the span of one week, or (best case scenario) in 4/36ths of four games in the span of one week?

      Would you rather have four cherries or two watermelons? Which choice will make you fuller?

      Where’s the position of maximum utility?

      • Frank says:

        The problem I see with your argument is even he impacts 6/9ths of a game twice a week, the team can still lose those games if they can’t hold the lead in the 7th-8th innings. That’s where we differ. I see him as more beneficial helping to possibly win 3-5 games per week as the set up man. With the other set up options, I am nowhere near as confident.

        • kSturnz says:

          There is a flip side to your logic as well. We may not need Joba’s contributions of 1/9th (or ~5/63 a week) as a set-up man if the team is getting blown out/blowing a team out. (hopefully more of the second)

        • Ugh.

          The problem I see with your argument is even he impacts 6/9ths of a game twice a week, the team can still lose those games if they can’t hold the lead in the 7th-8th innings.

          And yet, you refuse to see that the team can lose all the 3-5 games per week where he enters in the 8th inning, by not having a lead in the first place (or by blowing the lead after he leaves).

          Statistically speaking, when the game starts (where Joba would enter it as a starter) you’ve got a 50% chance of winning. In the 8th inning with a lead (where Joba would enter to “protect” the eventual win) you’re very, very likely to win that game, probably 80%, possibly more, in all situations, regardless of how crappy your bullpen may be..

          So, you’re in favor of using one of our best pitching weapons not at the start of the game where the outcome is an utter tossup, but at the end of the game where even Kyle Farnsworth protects way more leads than he gives up. That’s backwards.

          That’s where we differ. I see him as more beneficial helping to possibly win 3-5 games per week as the set up man. With the other set up options, I am nowhere near as confident.

          And yet ALL EVIDENCE, both anecdotal and statistical, says you’re much better off having dominant starters and a mediocre bullpen than vice versa. Not having confidence in your 8th-inning-lead-holder-guy is not a real problem. Not having confidence in your starter that day is a real problem.

    • Jay CT... STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts) says:

      Although I disagree, I appluad your ability to post that, knowing full well you will catch a rash of shit. However, I do think you raise a key point…

      Cash says that he is done with major moves. However, with Mo getting older, and coming over surgery, would it not be smart to still sign, or make a trade I guess, for another good bullpen arm? To me, its a concern. I just don’t know that Veras, Bruney and Marte can handle it, but perhaps when you grow up used to Mariano, you become incredibly spoiled.

      • I just don’t know that Veras, Bruney and Marte can handle it, but perhaps when you grow up used to Mariano, you become incredibly spoiled.

        Perhaps they can’t. However, Mo, Bruney, Marte, Veras, Edwar, Albaladejo, Robertson, Coke, Aceves, Sanchez, Melancon, Claggett, Cox, Dunn, etc. most likely can. And then there’s Cruz and Beimel out there as well.

        In any event, there’s no need to bring Joba into that discussion. Either A) we’ll have it covered or B) we’ll have a hole in the pen and we’ll deal with it. In no way is a hole in the pen ever a bigger concern than a hole in the rotation.

      • Frank says:

        Thanks for your response. I didn’t think it would wrangle so many feathers. I don’t sweat it. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion.

  6. I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

    But what about the EIGHTH INNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seriously, there is one positive to this whole idiotic issue: If we can believe what we read, nobody who wields power on the Yanks thinks Joba should be a reliever. The organization wants him to have the opportunity to show he can be an elite starter. So, know-nothings like Francessa can complain all they want. The Yanks see Joba as a starter. Rightfully so.

  7. mustang says:

    Agree.
    Just please end this.

  8. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    Pete Abe has a great quote about this:

    “You know, Claude Monet, that’s a nice painting. But think about how well you’d paint a house. Go slap some primer on the Arc de Triomphe (sic), see how you do.”

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/200.....-news-422/

  9. Ace says:

    Joba should be a starter until he proves he can’t handle it.

    Handle it = staying off of the DL. So far he is 0 for 1. It only took 65.1 innings as a starter before he landed on the DL.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Blame pudge! ….and Pavano

    • Yankee1010 says:

      I hope you’re kidding.

      • Ace says:

        Kidding about what? Wanting him to stay healthy?

        • Yankee1010 says:

          Are you saying that he can’t handle being a starter because of the way he was hurt last year? I certainly hope not.

          • Ace says:

            Yeah Rotator Cuff tendinitis in the pitching arm is something I tend to not take lightly.

            • Yankee1010 says:

              Show me any evidence that pitching out of the bullpen will ensure that he remains healthy.

              Did you see the game that he left? Pudge almost took his head off with a throw to 2nd and he had to throw himself out of the way. Anybody think that could have anything to do with the injury?

            • Joseph P. says:

              It’s not like he’d be less prone to injury as a reliever. While he’s throwing fewer innings, he’s also 1) throwing closer to max effort, and 2) has little preparation time. I think one of the most underestimated aspects of the bullpen-starter difference is the amount of time a starter has to prepare.

            • You know what was totally awesome? The way the Phillies decided after that first injury that Curt Schilling couldn’t hack it as a starter and should be moved to the bullpen. That was sweet.

              • Ace says:

                How about when John Smoltz was moved to the pen and was a shut-down closer and remained healthy in that role. Was that sweet too?

                All I’m saying is that he needs to be able to sustain his health as a starter. That is not a ridiculous thing to say.

                I did not say he would be more prone to injury as a starter.

                I did not say he would be less prone to injury as a reliever.

                All I said was “Handle it = staying off of the DL. So far he is 0 for 1. It only took 65.1 innings as a starter before he landed on the DL.”

                Please do not put words in my mouth and chill out with the assumptions.

                • Joseph P. says:

                  The statement was that Joba should stay a starter until he proves he can’t handle it. You said that handle it means staying off the DL. Ergo, if he’s on the DL that means he can’t handle it. Therefore, he should not be a starter. The only place left for him, then, is the….

                • How about when John Smoltz was moved to the pen and was a shut-down closer and remained healthy in that role. Was that sweet too?

                  And, as soon as he was healthy enough, what did the Braves do? RETURNED HIM TO THE ROTATION, HIS POSITION OF MAXIMUM UTILITY.

                  Yeah, Joba’s 0-for-1 in the “staying healthy” category. He needs to go like 0-for -5 before we consider abandoning the Joba as a starter concept entirely.

                • Yankee1010 says:

                  It might be a lost cause, Joseph.

                • Ace says:

                  Yes, exactly. But I didnt say that attempting to “handle it” means that he will end up on the DL. I just said he needs to prove he can do it consistently. And yes, if he cant, then he should move to the pen (unless the doctors say the pen would be worse for him, obviously)

                • Ace says:

                  Yeah, Joba’s 0-for-1 in the “staying healthy” category. He needs to go like 0-for -5 before we consider abandoning the Joba as a starter concept entirely.

                  YES!!!!!!!!! EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                • I just said he needs to prove he can do it consistently. And yes, if he cant, then he should move to the pen (unless the doctors say the pen would be worse for him, obviously)

                  Fine. My question (and why I brought up Schilling) is, how many chances do we give him? How many injury prone seasons do we give Joba before we say “Screw it, this kid can’t stay healthy for 200 innings, let’s move him to the ‘pen.”

                  Curt Schilling couldn’t stay healthy until he was in his 30′s. Had the Phillies pulled the plug on him after only 2 or 3 injury prone seasons, they might have missed out on one of the best starters of our generation.

                  So, when do you cut the cord? Should you ever cut the cord? I’m inclined to say, no, you should never cut the cord; Joba’s potential as a starter will ALWAYS outweigh his potential as a reliever and you should always gamble on his health. If not always, at least until he’s near 30.

                • Ace says:

                  And, as soon as he was healthy enough, what did the Braves do? RETURNED HIM TO THE ROTATION, HIS POSITION OF MAXIMUM UTILITY.

                  The key term here is “as soon as he was healthy enough” proving my entire theory that he should pitch where he will remain healthy.

                  Therefore, if he can handle being a starter, he should start.

                  If he cannot handle being a starter i.e stay away from consistent trips to the DL, then he should be in the pen.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

                  Ace – You said: I did not say he would be more prone to injury as a starter.

                  I did not say he would be less prone to injury as a reliever.

                  All I said was “Handle it = staying off of the DL. So far he is 0 for 1. It only took 65.1 innings as a starter before he landed on the DL.”

                  Please do not put words in my mouth and chill out with the assumptions.

                  Now, to be fair, people are reacting to the things you wrote and then you’re going back after the fact and saying “I didn’t say those things.”

                  Yankee1010 says:

                  January 27th, 2009 at 2:06 pm
                  Are you saying that he can’t handle being a starter because of the way he was hurt last year? I certainly hope not.

                  Ace says:

                  January 27th, 2009 at 2:09 pm
                  Yeah Rotator Cuff tendinitis in the pitching arm is something I tend to not take lightly.

                  It seems that maybe you don’t actually feel that way, but you might want to be careful about accusing people of misinterpreting your opinions when they simply react to the words that you yourself posted in a comment.

                • Ace says:

                  Joba’s potential as a starter will ALWAYS outweigh his potential as a reliever and you should always gamble on his health. If not always, at least until he’s near 30.

                  I respectfully disagree. Curt Schilling is one example of this situation working out. Granted, I dont have any others to give you. But if Joba cant stay healthy I’d rather have him closing than risking his health over and over.

                  As far as a number. .. I’d say once his arm is technically strong enough to throw 200 innings, then give him 3 seasons to prove he can do it. After that, stick him in the pen.

                  This is the only way I think he should move to the pen.

                • Ace says:

                  It seems that maybe you don’t actually feel that way, but you might want to be careful about accusing people of misinterpreting your opinions when they simply react to the words that you yourself posted in a comment.

                  Fair enough.

                • Here’s another fun name to throw out there:

                  Rich Harden.

                  Should Rich Harden be moved to the pen? When should teams give up on that potential?

                • Ace says:

                  I honestly had this conversation with my friend the other day and I swear I was just about to post this same question to you.

                  My opinion is that Harden should re-market himself as a closer. He simply cannot stay healthy.

                  He has, arguably, the most filthy “stuff” in MLB when he is healthy and pitching. If he could stay healthy as a closer I think it’s worth the shot.

                • Harden’s 148 innings of starting last year were worth way more to the A’s and Cubs than any contribution he could have made as a reliever.

                • Ace says:

                  Yeah but his velocity was down by the time the playoffs rolled around and he couldnt get out of the 5th inning in his playoff start. They are saying now his shoulder may require surgery. How valuable is it when he throws 148 innings to either A have surgery and miss a year possibly or B hit the DL again this year?

                  Perhaps if he was a reliever/closer he could maintain his velocity and contribute for a full year.

            • Hobs says:

              Apparently it was his bicep tendon and not his rotator cuff according to an Ed Price article when this happened…

              Mike Mussina doesn’t seem to worry about tendonitis:

              “If the word tendonitis is included, it’s not bad,” starter Mike Mussina said. “You take anti-inflammatories, you rest, you let it calm down and you slowly work your way back into it.””

              • Ace says:

                If you want to play that game check out this quote:

                Jorge Posada said he thinks it would be smart if the team left SP Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen next season. “I think if you start him and he pitches 200 innings in one year, you’re going to lose him. He’s going to get hurt. I don’t see him as a starter,” Posada said.

                • Joseph P. says:

                  A guy who did it over a long career commenting on his experience vs. a catcher making a statement based on what? How many guys like Joba has Jorge caught that have pitched 200 innings and then sucked and were injured the rest of their careers?

                  It’s just my opinion, but I feel that Mussina’s comment is more more informed than Jorge’s.

                • Jack says:

                  When talking about pitching, I trust the pitcher more than the, you know, non-pitcher.

                • Hobs says:

                  Your point? Mussina knows more about the injury from a PITCHING stand point than Posada.

                • Yankee1010 says:

                  Yeah, but come on, Jorge Posada said it. That’s like, I don’t know, the equivalent of the 11th Commandment.

                • Jorge Posada also pees on his hands because he claims it makes them “tougher”, despite ironclad and incontrovertible medical evidence that peeing on your hands makes them softer.

                  He’s a great catcher. But he’s not a doctor nor a medical professional, and he won’t even take half a second to review and research a whit of published and universally accepted medical theory, so, in this case, not only does his medical opinion on the health of Joba Chamberlain not matter, it actually should count for significantly LESS than that of everyone else since he’s proven on at least one occasion to adhere to faulty thinking on the workings of human anatomy.

              • Macphisto says:

                Not only did Pudge put him down like Joba puts down Youk, it was 105 degrees that night which gets any pitcher too loose. Joba was throwing a much higher rate of breaking balls in that game because balls were flying out of the park. I find the idea that Joba is “injury prone” because of that DL stint laughable. Joba is a starter. He can be a #1, eventually. But, lets use him for less than half the innings he can pitch in a year. What?

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

              Every young pitcher COULD be injury prone. Many young pitchers experience an injury. But it’s only with Joba that people jump on it to say he should go to the pen.

              Hughes has been on the DL for two straight years for extended periods. How much have people talked about him moving to the pen? Zero.

              Yes, Joba has to stay healthy. You’re right. But so does every other young starter. And, at this point, it’s irrelevant to whether he should be considered a starter or reliever.

              • Ace says:

                I hear what you’re saying and it makes sense. I think the case with Joba is that he can come in a blow away three hitters with 2 pitches and a legitimate potential to strike out the side every time.

                I dont think IPK or Hughes offer that same quality. That’s why I’d be more inclined to move him to the pen if he was unable to sustain his health season after season as a starter.

                • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

                  “… if he was unable to sustain his health season after season as a starter.”

                  This is why you are geting such an argument here. Joba got hurt once, after being yo-yoed to the pen and back. “Season after season” doesn’t kick in for years. So why is it even mentinoed now? Hughes MIGHT get mono and miss half of spring training. Do we talk about that? A Rod might slip getting out of his Bentley and hrut his ankle. Do we talk about that?

                  Joba is a starter. If six years from now he can’t stay healthy, let’s talk bout it then. But for now, it shouldn’t be an issue.

    • pat says:

      Dude did you even see the game he got hurt? 230 something pound guys arent supposed to do back rolls off the mound in 100 degree heat.

  10. pat says:

    Once melancon gets to NY all this bullsh*t will cease.

  11. Fangraphs on The Great Dumb Joba Debate

    Fixed.

  12. Mike Z says:

    I can’t stnad you nerds with your stupid graphs. Putting Joba in pen with Mariano would brings back the Yankees bullpen to the days when they were winning Championships. Joba and Mariano would make the most dominant one two punch in all of baseball.
    CC
    Burnett
    Wang
    Pettitte
    Hughes
    This is the starting 5. The faster the Yankees realize this the better they will be. Case closed.

  13. Tom Zig says:

    Bryan-MA: Lowrie? Is that sarcasm?

    SportsNation Rob Neyer: Nope. He had a pretty good season despite playing with a wrist injury. Now he’s healthy. I say he’s one of the five best shortstops in the league now.

  14. Sam P. says:

    But what does Chris Russo think about keeping Joba as a starter? Ahh!

    (kidding of course)

  15. JeffG says:

    I’ve never argued anything other that Joba as a starter. A smart team does not wast one of it’s more valuable assets by turning an ace into anything less.
    That said, something we can consider is that he is not going to give us a full season. At the same time we should take in to account that Hughes and Kennedy may be able to click and get the job done this year. Keeping in mind that Joba is more suited to blowing guys away for a couple of innings than either of the two would be, perhaps one of those guys could slip into the rotation and do a good job while he is shortening games and making us even tougher.
    In argument of getting the most out of our 40man roster, I think you start Joba in the rotation and mark his innings close (80-90?) so you can hit the high end of limit, let’s say, sometime in late October.
    In my opinion that is the best way to play this, and I’m just looking forward to him getting his 160 in 09 and 200 in 2010.

    • If we are truly trying to stretch him out and build up his arm strength to give him stamina and avoid injury, I don’t want him transitioned to the bullpen again, possibly ever.

      Keep him on a regular, metronomic 4 days rest. Stop with the yo-yo-ing back and forth between rotation and pen. Every fifth day, he takes the ball. No bullpen. Coming up through the pen is a way for young starters to get a taste of the big leagues, not to build innings.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

        Agreed. If someone is actually concerned about Joba’s ability to stay healthy (and not just using it as a bullcrap way of making a Joba-to-the-bullpen argument), then the smartest course of action is to keep him on some sort of iron-clad regular starter’s schedule, no matter what.

        No changes to his routine, no quick warm-ups in the pen.

        If he stays healthy and hits his innings lmit, well then that’s an excellent problem to have. It means he stayed healthy and pitched effectively, and we will have a potentially dominant starter ready to go for 2010. Any move to the bullpen should be off the table for 2009, no matter what.

      • Hobs says:

        I was of the feeling that maybe throw him back into the bullpen if we make the playoffs just for the reasons of not blowing past his innings limit…but I’m starting to back off that idea…Time to stop the “yo-yo-ing”.

      • JeffG says:

        The one thing I wouldn’t want to see is him being seen as solely a starter THIS YEAR where you’d have him finish out his innings in July and have him be done for the year… to me that would not be maximizing our resources. And again, and similar to the first year he came up he’d be transitioning from a starter to a reliever and that is a lot easier.

        The only way I’d side with what you are saying is if he could go to 140-150 take a month or two off and come back in September. But I would imagine that would be worse for his arm than anything else. To be honest, I just feel Starter to Pen and next year whole way starter works best.

        • … to me that would not be maximizing our resources

          Maximizing your resources in the short term vs. maximizing your resources in the long term.

          The 2009 team can compete for a title without Joba. He makes us much better, but we can win without him. The 2010-2020 teams need Joba desperately.

          Priorities are priorities.

          • JeffG says:

            I think winning 11 games in October is not so easy.

            Ultimately, if I felt that we’d be risking Joba’s future by doing it the way I suggested above I’d agree with you.

            I just don’t feel we are creating more risk that way, and with all things being equal I’d prefer to have him in October.

            • I didn’t say winning in October without Joba would be easy. Just possible.

              If memory serves, we won three titles with Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson as the all-important “Bridge to Mariano”.

              Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson are good pitchers. Joba is not Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson, he’s David Cone or Roger Clemens. You know who are Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson?

              Say it with me: Brian Bruney, Damaso Marte, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Jonathan Albaladejo, David Robertson, Phil Coke, Al Aceves, Humberto Sanchez, Mark Melancon, J.B. Cox, Anthony Claggett, etc. etc. etc.

              • JeffG says:

                Just making it just possible vs. making it a stronger possibility is the big difference.

                We also could have won with Hughes and Kennedy last year – I’m talking about giving yourself the best chance.

                I’m big advocate of our bull pen as well, that said none of the names above are better than Joba.

                If we get to his innings that will allow him a full season as a starter come 2010 I’d still like to have him in October.

                Say it with me: Having Joba gives us a better chance to win the world series… now say it again… keep repeating.

                And don’t give me the any BS that it will not allow us to win in the future because there is just no reason to believe that. He already slipped into our plans nicely in 2007. If not for that move we probably would have not seen the playoffs.

                • And don’t give me the any BS that it will not allow us to win in the future because there is just no reason to believe that.

                  http://www.baseballprospectus......cci+Effect

                  I’m not risking the future health of our ace pitcher by either going over his innings cap or yo-yo-ing him between the rotation and the bullpen just for the slight marginal upgrade between him in the 8th and Bruney/Marte/Melancon etc. in the 8th.

                  The slight benefit is much smaller than the significant risk.

                • JeffG says:

                  I get the 30+ per season increase, if you noticed, I am not saying he go over his innings cap. Please find above where I say he pitch 200 this year. – Thanks for the link though. I didn’t know it was called the Verducci effect, that said, I am and have been on board with the idea.

                  Significant risk… so you say. I beg to differ and I see the benefit there where you see the “yo-yo” effect. Maybe you should coin that one and build your own stats to support it. I’m not buying it. He has come up once already and helped the club doing exactly what I am proposing. It did not ruin him and significantly helped our club. It could again.

                  Say it with me: Having Joba gives us a better chance to win the world series… and his arm will still be protected.

        • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

          JeffG, when you consider all the injruies the Yanks had last year, and all th eplans and worries about innigns limits, and the potential long-term asset that Joba is to the Yanks, I say that if he gets to 150 innings in SEPTEMBER (not July, since 150 innings, at six innings a start, is 25 starts, and if you consider he pitches, on average, every six days, since as the fifth stater he’ll get skepped now and again, that puts it at 150 days into the season, which is the first week in September), that is an excellent problem to have. It means that he has been healthy and effective, and that we are set up to have a young dominant ace ready to go 200 innings beginning in 2010.

          You have to think long-term. This guy is the future. Dragging him back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen can’t be good for his arm.

          • JeffG says:

            That is the question of what is bad for his arm? I do not believe that his first year hurt him. If its done right then the transition works well. We saw that already. Last year we did it backwards and the Texas heat may have been just as much of a culprit. Ultimately, I trust the 2007 call up season as a good example of what can be done.

            To me, to goal of him becoming a starter, with the argument finished once and for all, will and can happen with the approach I mentioned. He gets his 150-160 this year and he is set up to begin next year as an ace. I don’t think I’m proposing a win now at the sake of the future argument.

            I think we all have the same long term goal but its going to come down to the perceived value and risk towards that value. I would say your way is the best if I thought that Joba would suffer from doing it my way. Believe me I value the kids health. That said, if he can get his innings and stay healthy with the model I proposed, and there is no increased long term risk, then you’d be foolish not to think that having his arm come October (knock on wood) wouldn’t be the best strategy.

            Ultimately, the team is going to settle this and not us so we’ll see.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Well by using the logic of people who say Joba should pitch the 7th and 8th and Mo the 9th so the game becomes six innings………

      If Joba can pitch into the 7th inning on a consistent basis, then the game will be shortened to 1 inning. Joba in innings 1-7, Mo in the 9th.

  16. Kevin says:

    Can i make a point that seems to be missed here….

    With Joba as the number 5 he will get to take days off during the season… with the additions of CC Burnett and Tiex we are looking like a playoff team.

    In the playoffs you only use 4 starters, so keep him in the rotation during the season, come playoffs, have him set up mo, and go to war with CC WANG BURNETT PET in games 1 through 4….

    When this happens we really lose nothing, bc the 8th inning role is not as valuable in the regular season as it is in the post season, and joba can still be used in that role come october…

    thoughts?

    CAN THIS BE DONE WITH NOW?

    • NO. Moving him from regular 4 days rest to a volatile bullpen situation where he’s using his arm at max effort on 0-2 days rest is damaging.

      No Joba in the pen ever again. We cannot sacrifice Joba’s future for the luxury of his present. Nor should we, as our internal bullpen options are already quite good.

  17. The Evil Empire says:

    Mike, Joe and Ben:

    May i suggest something, as a young baseball fan, I would appreciate it if some of the acronyms were linked to their definition, (i.e WAR FIP)
    A RAB “dictionary” of some sort …
    I admit that I should know all these definitions as a frequent reader but I just started looking into player stats, number and other statistics that aren’t familiar to general baseball fans, and once I do lear them all, how about the next guy?

    haha, but yeah it’s just a suggestion.

    • Marcus says:

      Well, on the top of this page is a link to “RAB Guide to Stats” or you could just google the stats you’re not sure about.

      Not that hard. We don’t need to waste the RAB writers time by asking them to link statistics. The people that don’t know the statistics, most the time don’t care about the statistics.

      They already take enough time out of their lives to update the ‘Guide to Stats.’

    • Joseph P. says:

      This is probably coming sooner rather than later. We have a neat function where we can automatically link certain text (notice how each player’s name is linked either to his prospect profile or to his tag page), so we might go and create pages for individual stats, just as a reference point.

  18. Hawkins44 says:

    This argument is hilarious as it’s apples in oranges. I think the only way you can EVER justify Joba in the bullpen is if you think Phil Hughes will be BETTER than Joba as a starter (which BTW isn’t that far of a reach) All you morons ready to jump up and go put Joba in centerfield bare with me…… you can’t predict the future but if you think by putting Joba in the pen two things happen there is some logic…..

    1) He stays healthy because as we have seen he wears down quickly as a starter because he is an emotional guy and his personality is more conducive as a reliever (see papelbon, that nutjob)
    2) He hedges your bet in case MO is slow to recover from surgery and needs a 15 day DL break a couple times throughout the year – JOBA can close… we know this

    If you think that the combination of Hughes (preferably Hughes) and Kennedy give you BETTER stats in the 5 spot of your rotation compared to Joba isn’t your team BETTER both factually and statistically?

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      All you morons ready to jump up and go put Joba in centerfield bare with me

      I, for one, refuse to get naked with you.

    • A.D. says:

      If they do sure, but there’s no reason to believe IPK or Hughes will put up better stats than Joba.

    • Ed says:

      He stays healthy because as we have seen he wears down quickly as a starter because he is an emotional guy

      When did we see that? I saw him reaching just about the max pitch count the team allowed him every time out. And as he got more experience, he lasted more innings with the same pitches.

      and his personality is more conducive as a reliever (see papelbon, that nutjob)

      Papelbon is a reliever because he doesn’t have the stamina to start. The guy is done after 3 innings. No more, no less to it.

      If you think that the combination of Hughes (preferably Hughes) and Kennedy give you BETTER stats in the 5 spot of your rotation compared to Joba isn’t your team BETTER both factually and statistically?

      Joba as a starter was putting up stats worthy of Cy Young award consideration. I don’t expect Hughes to do that any time soon, and I don’t expect Kennedy to ever do that.

  19. Marcus says:

    It’s really quite simple. Instead of writing thousands of articles covering this topic.

    Would you rather have an Ace status pitcher for:

    A) 150-180 innings at a 2.5-3.0 ERA
    or
    B) 60-80 innings at 2.2-2.5 ERA

    There’s really no way you take option B. People are so confusing to understand.

  20. Hawkins44 says:

    What if Hughes gives you 150-180 innings at a 2 ERA and is better? What do you do then and how does it impact the argument? Again, everyone on this thread is saying..”you don’t take a great pitcher and make him a reliever”…. No S&#t, duhhh – my point is I don’t think he’s going to be a great starter and if his stats equal other options within the organizations… what do you do then?

    the simple math is: Does a team with better-than-Joba (Hughes) stats in the rotation and JOBA in the pen a better team compared to Joba in the rotation and Hughes in AAA??? Me thinks no…

    and please no more…why don’t you put Sabathia in the pen… not the same argument….

    • Joseph P. says:

      In the way you’re making the argument, no, they’re not the same. The way KO is putting the argument, yes, it is exactly the same.

    • Nickel says:

      “my point is I don’t think he’s going to be a great starter”

      Why not? Even in the limited starts last year, he’s shown more potential to be an ace than Hughes has…thus far. Things may or may not pan out that way (who knows), but comparing Hughes in 2007 and Joba in 2008 lead me to believe that Joba’s going to be the more dominant pitcher.

    • A.D. says:

      If you don’t think he’s going to be a great starter, then that changes the idea, maybe your right maybe you’re wrong, but he’ll never be a great starter if you don’t let him start. When you have this much talent you have to give him the opportunity to start, if he fails, he can always relieve.

    • Ryan S. says:

      Let’s see Joba fail and Hughes succeed before we start having this discussion. Ideally, they’re both starters in 2010 and by 2012 they’re competing with each other for the title of staff ace.

    • kSturnz says:

      IF Hughes pitches to a 2era in the IntLeague, then you knock AP out and have two great, young, cost-controlled, front-line starters for the future.

  21. Nickel says:

    I was driving home around 8pm last night and I turned on XM Radio’s MLB Home Plate, only because I wanted to get to an update so I could hear the details of the Pettitte contract. Unfortunately, I had to suffer through several minutes Kevin Kennedy and some other guy. Of course, some idiot called in and said now that the Yankees signed Pettitte, “they can put Joba in the bullpen where he belongs.” And of course, Kennedy, touting the fact that he has major league managing experience, agreed with him, to which I thought, “…which is probably a good reason why teams aren’t ringing your phone asking you to manage them right now.” Fortunately, I calmly changed the station instead of driving into a tree out of frustration.

  22. Macphisto says:

    Does anyone remember Joba’s game against Boston in Boston where he pitched 7 shutout innings against Beckett? Games like that prove why Joba needs to start. I would rather have 7 innings like that in one game than 1ip in the same game. Even with Farnsworth coming on and forcing Mo to enter in the 8th inning.

    • Gordo says:

      the assumption people make is that we’d have starters 1 thru 5 as good as that

      which ain’t happening as the last 7 yrs have proved

    • Hawkins44 says:

      Just as much as I remember him running out of gas in texas…..

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

        The use of ellipses insinuates that there is more to your statement that you are not stating. Is there more to your statement? Is there a complete thought in there somewhere?

  23. KO says:

    Chamberlain is better as a reliever than as a starter. He blows people away as a reliever. Has to pace himself as a starter. Most starters don’t have this dichotomy of “stuff”. Team need dictates where you put people. If people like Hughes and Kennedy step up and are valuable starters, the team b

  24. pat says:

    Championship teams are built from the ground 8th inning up.

  25. KO says:

    the team benefits by moving Chamberlain to the pen. Chamberlain has a violent delivery and tends to overthrow when he gets in tough spots as a starter. He’s much more likely to wear out his arm and hurt himself as a starter. Chamberlain has a unique closer makeup. You can keep throwing all of this no-brainer foolishness out about how valuable a starter is statistically, but your stats don’t factor in any of the above reasons for Chamberlain in the pen. Therefore, the stats are bogus.

    • Joseph P. says:

      You just made up 90 percent of what you said.

      Point No. 1 – Chamberlain is better as a reliever than as a starter.

      This is based on what? Give me something here.

      Point No. 2 – He blows people away as a reliever. Has to pace himself as a starter.

      Same for every other pitcher in the league. You can go max effort in the pen. You cannot as a starter. That doesn’t mean that the Yanks should go the max effort route.

      Point No. 3 – If people like Hughes and Kennedy step up and are valuable starters, the team benefits by moving Chamberlain to the pen.

      Wrong. They only benefit if Hughes and/or Kennedy can pitch better than Joba in the rotation AND Joba demonstrably improves the pen. That takes a lot of evidence to prove. IT cannot be done with one pithy statement.

      Point No. 4 – Chamberlain has a violent delivery and tends to overthrow when he gets in tough spots as a starter.

      And he will overthrow much more as a reliever, since he’s going at it with max effort. He’ll also have less time to prepare for his appearances. The bullpen could actually make him more of an injury risk.

      Point No. 5 – Chamberlain has a unique closer makeup

      This makeup might also make him a valuable starter. Yet you choose to ignore that.

      Point No. 6 – Therefore, the stats are bogus.

      In on way did you make a logical connection. You said some stuff without providing a shred of thought, then pretend that your points, which are specious at best, mean “stats are bogus.”

      Why do you even continue to post here?

      • Hawkins44 says:

        Point #1:

        Joba’s ERA is around 2 earned runs LOWER as a RP compared to a SP….

        Point #2

        Based upon your logic Papelbon would be the Red Sox #5 SP.. he has the same make up as Joba.. short, high energy outings maximize his skills. If we’re all so stupid why isn’t that move obvious and debated?

        Point #3

        If Hughes and Kennedy outperform Job in the 5th slot statistically, based upon point #1 isn’t that OBVIOUS?

        Point #4

        Fair point… with a small sample size he does seem more physically built to be used out of the pen.

        Point #5

        based upon point #1…. a “pointless” statement. If he’s statically better out of the pen, and you get the same production out of Hughes/Kennedy in the fifth spot – does your point matter?

        Point #6

        Not sure what your point is based upon point #1….

        at any rate… you really should provide more detailed information if you’re going to rip someone because I’m wondering why you continue to bother to post here…

        • Joseph P. says:

          1 – Two runs? In the ridiculously small sample size that is Joba’s career:

          Reliever: 1.53
          Starter: 2.76

          Again, small sample size, so there’s not a whole meaning in those numbers.

          2 – I don’t see how my logic states that. What I was saying was to point out that the original point doesn’t definitively point in one direction.

          (Side note: I never said anyone was stupid.)

          3 – Yes. If they perform better than Joba at a certain job, they should have it. No one is arguing that.

          5 – If he is statistically better out of the pen, and Hughes/Kennedy can match his performance in the rotation, and he’s a significant upgrade to whoever he’s replacing in the bullpen, and if the rest of the rotation is holding up their end of the bargain, yes. That’s a long list of conditions, though.

          6 – My point in No. 6 was just showing that KO made a ton of blind statements, and used these blind statements to come to the conclusion that stats are bogus. That’s a specious argument at best.

          Thanks for wrapping up what was a decent counter point with a wise-ass line. No, it wasn’t the nicest thing for me to say to KO. Yet, I run this joint. I realize that patronage makes us stronger. I also realize that statements without factual backing don’t help the discussion on this site.

        • Matt says:

          “Joba’s ERA is around 2 earned runs LOWER as a RP compared to a SP….”

          A great ERA as a reliever is still not as valuable as a good one as a starter. I’d rather have a guy give me 150-200 innings of 3.00 ERA than 70-90 innings of 2.00 ERA. Just look at the begining of this post. a 4.10 FIP in more innings is more valuable than a considerably lower FIP in fewer innings.

          “Based upon your logic Papelbon would be the Red Sox #5 SP.. he has the same make up as Joba.. short, high energy outings maximize his skills. If we’re all so stupid why isn’t that move obvious and debated?”

          Papelbon was a reliever in college and the Red Sox tried to make him a starter. It didn’t work so they put him back in the bullpen. Chamberlain has been a starter his whole career and has only been used in the bullpen because he was reaching innings caps. The situations are entirely different.

          “based upon point #1…. a “pointless” statement. If he’s statically better out of the pen, and you get the same production out of Hughes/Kennedy in the fifth spot – does your point matter?”

          Again, more innings of good stats are better than fewer innings of great stats. And, if Hughes and Kennedy are great, why not put Chamberlain in the rotation as well? What’s better, two great starters and good bullpen guy or three great starters? Hmm…This point is moot anyway because it’s all conjecture. The chances of Even one of Hughes and Kennedy–let alone both–being better than Chamberlain is very, very small.

          • Hawkins44 says:

            So everyone’s awake…. yes or no… if Phil Hughes were projected to put up stats equal to Joba, knowing that he isn’t able or hasn’t demonstrated the ability to pitch out of the bullpen.. would you put Joba in the pen? If the answer is no and Pettitte pitches like he did in 2007 – what do you do? Send Hughes to minors and roll the dice in the 7th and 8th?

            That’s my point.

            and papelbon was a STARTER throughout his minor league career so the debate is reasonable….

            • Joseph P. says:

              He was drafted as a reliever, though, so there are still differences in the argument. Joba also has 3 above average MLB pitches and one average pitch. Papelbon’s arsenal is a bit more limited.

              Regarding your scenario, I don’t think you can make a judgment based on just that data. At what point in the season are we talking? How is the rest of the rotation pitching? Is Melancon up? How is the current bullpen doing?

            • Ryan S. says:

              Papelbon’s projected ceiling was as a #3 starter. Joba is projected ceiling is as a dominant #1. Papelbon has 2 pitches. Joba has 4 (two of them plus or plus-plus). The debate is not reasonable.

              Joba is our #5 starter this year. Phil Hughes is our #6 starter. In 2010, they’ll each probably get bumped up a notch to #s 4 and 5. Even if Phil Hughes was the 2nd coming of Cy Young, the debate isn’t if Joba goes to the pen. The debate is whether its Chamberlain or Hughes who starts game 1 in the 2011 World Series. Unless Joba is physically unable to handle the workload, he’s going to be a starter.

    • kSturnz says:

      KO, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      Hope no one beat me to it.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

        You mean today, or in the last couple of years? (Sorry, I don’t think any other joke has been as beaten into the RAB-ground as that one.)

  26. Gordo says:

    No debate? A tad presumptious there.

    I’d rather have him as a great set up man than middling starter.

    Would we rather have Mariano as a solid #3 starter or a lights out, all world closer?

    I think thats clear.

    Raise your hand if you think Bruney is a legit 8th inning guy.

    • Joseph P. says:

      The point, though, is that Joba has the stuff to be one of the five best pitchers in the game. When Mo moved to the bullpen, he was putting up ERAs in the 5s as a starter.

    • Mike Pop says:

      (raises hand) and cannot wait to see some responses.

    • A.D. says:

      Its:

      Great Starter > great set-up/closer > middle of the road (or worse) starter.

      Right now the belief is great starter, if that changes, then we will see a shift to his use.

    • Would we rather have Mariano as a solid #3 starter or a lights out, all world closer?

      Put me down for #3 starter, please. If he was capable of doing that, he would have. If Mariano could have been a starter, last year we would have put him in the rotation, never signed Sidney Ponson, had Bruney/Marte/Veras close, and WON MORE GAMES.

      Raise your hand if you think Bruney is a legit 8th inning guy.

      Since I know better than to attach any bullshit magical fantastical extra significance to the 8th inning, yes, my hand is raised. Bruney is just fine in the 8th inning since it counts just as much as the other 8 do.

    • steve (different one) says:

      I’d rather have him as a great set up man than middling starter.

      this MAY be true.

      on the other hand, if ANYONE here thought Joba was going to be a “middling starter”, we wouldn’t keep having this debate.

      in this conversation, one of the GIVENS, is that Joba has the stuff to be a #1 starter.

      we aren’t saying he DEFINITELY will be a #1 starter, but that is his potential.

      IF HE SHOULD PROVE OTHERWISE, the people here would not be opposed to moving him back to the bullpen.

      in other words, you are not arguing the right argument.

    • JeffG says:

      Mariano throws a cutter, a very insane one at that, but he is a reliever because one pitch will not work as a starter. If Mo threw a curve, splitter, awesome change. And has proven to be able to go multiple innings he’s be a starter.

      Actually I think they did give him a shot at the rotation once upon a time.

      • Joseph P. says:

        I think this is one thing many people forget with Joba. Mariano wasn’t hacking it as a starter. He was 26 in 1996, and the Yanks decided it was time to move him. Joba is 23. Big difference.

  27. Mike Pop says:

    This will be a debate forever unless he goes out there and pitches like a Cy Young winner this season. We must exterminate all of the B-Jobbers out there before this ends.

    • A.D. says:

      I look forward to the day this debate is over.

      Where are the David Price to the pen debates?

      • Hawkins44 says:

        If David Price is on the Yankees right now. Do you put Joba Chamberlian in the bullpen or Price?? You guys are hilarious because you refuse to look at talent outside of the normal statistical analysis. The obvious move for the Rays is to put Price in the rotation based upon their team. What you two are saying, if Price was on the Yankees you would put Andy Pettitte in the bullpen, right? If you look at stats and “stuff” only and that “make up” in a position has no value then that would be the right move, right? That’s my point – I think it could be argued that the top five “starters” in the Yankees organization doesn’t include Joba..as much as I love him… If you put Joba on the Devil Rays the choice is obvious.

        so funny to see how baseball has broken down into linear statistical analysis.

        • kSturnz says:

          If price was on the Yanks, you don’t sign Pettitte, or possibly don’t sign Burnett if you want to take a walk on the wild side

        • If I had the following pitchers all at my disposal:
          1.) CC
          2.) Wang
          3.) Burnett
          4.) Pettitte
          5.) Joba
          6.) Price
          7.) Hughes
          8.) Kennedy

          …then I’d deal or cut Andy and keep both Price and Joba in the rotation and roll with Bruney/Marte/Veras etc. etc. in the 8th inning.

          A good fifth starter is like 100 times more important than an 8th inning specialist who enters the game with a lead and tries to protect it for one inning. That “linear statistical analysis” is absolutely 100% clear about this.

          The problem with anecdotal, non-statistical evidence (I see Joba being good in the 8th, better than others who filled that role before/after him) is that it does not effectively address the unseen (I can’t see how much better in terms of actual results like wins Joba would have been over an alternative player in that 8th inning role).

          In your scenario, the difference in wins between Andy the fifh starter and Joba the fifth starter is greater than the difference in wins between Joba the 8th inning specialist and Bruney the 8th inning specialist. Joba will give us fewer bad outings than Bruney, yes, but not at a margin greater than how many fewer bad outings Joba the starter would give us over Andy the starter.

        • Joseph P. says:

          If David Price is on the Yankees I start him in AAA. Like the Yankees will do with Hughes. There’s bound to be injury/ineffectiveness in the rotation, so it’s not like they won’t get their work in.

          I also think you miss the point when you say that “baseball has broken down into linear statistical analysis.” We’re using stats to enhance our positions. This really comes back to the nature of starters and relievers. For the most part, relievers are failed starters. Look though the bullpens around the league and you’ll see that. Joba has not failed as a starter. If he can be one of the five or six best pitchers in the AL, which he certainly has the potential to be, why put him in the bullpen?

        • Dirt says:

          If David Price were on the Yankees, we wouldn’t have signed Pettite, IMO.

    • Yankee1010 says:

      Really, I see it as more of an IQ test. There’s no debate. This is more of an exercise in smoking the short-bus crowd out of their holes.

  28. pat says:

    Ugh this is terrible, safe to say this article did not have the desired effect.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

      At least no emotional Minnesotans were spurred to respond to this post.

      • Joseph P. says:

        I missed that whole thing. Ben deleted all the comments before I even knew what was going on.

        • JOBA BELONGS IN THE BULLPEN, YOU CHUCK KNOBLAUCH-STEALING MONSTERS!!!!!

          Sincerely,
          Jesse “The Body” Ventura

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi says:

          Oh it was pretty funny, I didn’t realize it got Ben’d (just kidding big guy, don’t delete me please). Someone from Minnesota got very emotional and offended that anyone would even discuss acquiring Joe Mauer, or anyone else for that matter (and of course he threw in all the other “I hate the Yankees they are pure evil” drivel). I think he called everyone “imperialistic monsters” or something to that effect. I actually kinda felt bad for him/her. Strike that – I think I felt bad for laughing at him/her, that’s probably more accurate.

  29. Gordo says:

    hows is having this debate a problem? shouldn’t we all welcome discussing ultra talented guys like this? these are debates we should all like having

    • Joseph P. says:

      We should be having debates like this. The problem is that those who prefer Joba as a starter have yet to see compelling reasoning/evidence from the B-Jobbers. That’s the heart of this matter.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Agreed.

        It’s not that people aren’t willing to debate the issue – it’s that it has been discussed ad infinitum and the Joba to the pen crowd still has not come up with even one good reason Joba should be in the pen. The B-Jobbers only use specious, anecdotal evidence and the B-Jobbers are unwilling to listen to logic, reason, etc.

        • Ace says:

          It seems to me the compelling reasoning/evidence will have to wail til Bruney and Marte et al start to consistently blow leads and wins.

          • Joseph P. says:

            What’s funny is if you go back over Farnsworth’s time as the 8th inning guy, even he didn’t blow a ton of leads. The importance of the 8th inning is vastly overrated by fans.

            • Ace says:

              Is the 9th overrated?

              • Joseph P. says:

                Yes. And that’s not to say it’s not important. It’s to say that we place too much emphasis on it (as evidenced by the save, which is just a worthless stat).

                The ninth is one of nine innings, like every other one. Yes, there’s an added element to it, as in it’s a team’s last chance. Yet if your 7-8-9 guys are coming up in the ninth, do you really need Mo to come in and shut the door? Can’t someone else get that done?

                • Ace says:

                  Would you rather have Mariano pitch the 7th against the 3-4-5? In other words, if you were the manager, would you make that move consistently instead of having him face the 7-8-9?

                • Joseph P. says:

                  Yes. I would absolutely have Mo face the heart of the order late in a game, even if it’s the 7th inning. Those are the guys who theoretically can do the most damage. Why not use your best bullpen pitcher to take care of those guys?

                  The foil to that argument is that you’re allowing a lesser reliever to blow the game. I counter that with this: You’d be using a lesser reliever in the 7th against better hitters. Don’t you think that, for the sake of argument, Brian Bruney would give up more runs against any team’s 3-4-5 hitters than their 9-1-2 hitters?

                  You have Bruney face 3-4-5 in the 7th, the other team has a better chance to score runs, theoretically, because those are their best hitters. You put your best bullpen arm in at that point, and they have a lesser chance to score runs.

                  Basically, you’re using your best against their best, because that’s your advantage. A manager cannot change the lineup. But a manager can deploy relievers whenever he pleases. Why not take advantage of that instead of employing a static method?

                • Ace says:

                  Good for you sticking to your guns.

                  My take is I would go Goose Gossage/Sparky Lyle stlyle and throw Mariano for the 7th, 8th and 9th.

                  The only problem I see with your logic is that if Mariano comes in for the 7th to face the 1-2-3 or 3-4-5- and gives up a few hits then whoever comes in for the 9th wont be facing the batters you originally intended for them to face. Kna meen?

                • Joseph P. says:

                  Yeah, I see that. Then you’re back in the ninth with the heart of the order looming. All it takes is one hit to get that No. 3 hitter back up in the ninth.

                  I think my overall point is that it shouldn’t be as simple as “best pitcher in the 9th.” It’s far more nuanced than that.

                • Ace says:

                  Why doesnt anyone use the style I suggest? Gossage pitched 22 years and Lyle 15. Why are these relivers being babied so much? Where is the grit and guts of the days of yore?

                • K.B.D. says:

                  You know, if Joba didn’t throw in the high 90s, I don’t think this would be a debate. But since his fastball goes zoom people think “Wow! He can throw REAL FAST from the bullpen! He only throws mid 90s as a starter! He’s obviously better in the bullpen even though most statistical analysis proves otherwise!”

                • MattG says:

                  Why are they babied so much? No idea. It hasn’t even been 10 years since relief pitchers routinely threw 2 innings. When was the first time you heard the phrase 8th inning guy? Maybe 7 years ago. Now we are talking about 7th and 6th innings guys.

                  Meanwhile, teams are carrying 12, sometimes 13 pitchers. Its completely ludicrous.

                  I would not routinely bring in Rivera in the 7th inning, not unless I intended him to finish the game. I would routinely do so in the eighth, if the heart of the order was due up. If the heart of the order is due up in the 7th, they will also probably bat in the 9th. If Rivera will only face them once, I’ll let him do it in the 9th, and maybe try and save his arm a bit (I might not need him).

                  Now, if there were runners on in the 7th, with dangerous batters due up, I would go to Rivera. But I would not start the inning with him.

              • Mike Pop says:

                Are the first 7 innings underrated?

            • Nickel says:

              I may be wrong here, but do you think that this obsession with the 8th inning stems from the fact that over the past few years we’ve had to hold our breath through several starts of Wright, Chacon, Small, Rasner, Karstens, Ponson, and other pitchers where everyone’s like, “Just keep us in the game for 5 or 6 innings and we’ll be happy.” Well now we’ve got pitchers where we can hopefully expect more than that. Thus, you’ve got a lot of bullpen guys that will hopefully only have to navigate one or two innings as opposed to three or four, so there’s not a lot of pressure to have THE 8th inning guy that you throw out there every day and wreck him (see: Proctor, Scott)

          • Yankee1010 says:

            Nope. Their success/failure should not impact the decision to move Joba to the bullpen.

            If Joba is dominating as a starter, do you really think that he should be moved to the bullpen because Marte and/or Bruney are struggling? I’m pretty confident that out of Marte, Bruney, Veras, Ramirez, Albaladejo, Robertson, Melancon, Coke, Giese, Jackson, etc., they’ll find a way to take care of the innings between the starters and Mo.

            • Exactly.

              Wilson Betemit’s struggles as a backup infielder does not mean we should have contemplated benching Robinson Cano to make him the utility infielder. It meant we should have called up Cody Ransom.

              • Ace says:

                Apples and oranges.

                • No, not apples and oranges. You claimed that a hole on the team at a certain position (8th inning specialist) should cause us to revisit the idea of moving a valuable player from a position of extreme importance (starter) to a position of relatively minor importance (8th inning specialist) rather than solving the rather minor problem via internal promotion or minor trade.

                  Saying we should consider moving Joba from the rotation to the bullpen if we don’t have a good option for the 8th inning is similar to saying we should consider moving Cano from the starting lineup to the utilitiy infielder role if we don’t have a good backup shortstop. Having a good utility infielder is a luxury. Having a good 8th inning specialist is a luxury. Having a good starter and a good second baseman are necessities.

            • Ace says:

              I wouldnt move any dominating starter to the pen. If you start off your argument that way why would anyone say otherwise? You dont know that Joba is going to be dominate. If he is a mediocre starter Id consider having him shut down the 7th and 8th if our pen consistently cant get it done. And if hes a bad starter then there is no debate.

      • Mike Pop says:

        We should be having debates like this. The problem is that those who prefer Joba as a starter have yet to see compelling reasoning/evidence from the B-Jobbers. That’s the heart of this matter.

        Joba should be a starter because he’s better there.

  30. Joseph P. says:

    Thank you all. I’ve been trying to write an article for work for about an hour and a half now. Damn distracting B-Jobber talk.

  31. Paulie says:

    Chase Wright was DFA…

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....move.0173/

    I am kind of surprised…I thought it would be someone else, maybe Giese…however I think I would rather have Giese than Chase Wright.

  32. VOIII says:

    Yanks DFA’d Wright…Curious move since Giese would have been more expendable…

  33. Glen L says:

    Everyone should really read the article on fangraphs … Its incomprehensible to me how one could read that article and not understand the gist … Joba could be a mediocre starter and STILL BE MORE VALUABLE than as a lights out reliever … and given his potential ceiling as a starter, its not even a debate

    • Rafi says:

      And yet after reading the comments to that article, I’m reminded that there are a lot of morons out there.

      • Joseph P. says:

        I don’t think it’s that they’re morons. It’s just that when faced with change, many people cling to what they’ve got. Most musicians thought recorded music would ruin public performance. They thought the same about radio. Radio thought the same about TV.

        I guess only time and persistence will win the day.

        • A.D. says:

          I mean a lot of B-Jobbers say they saw him tear it up in the pen, and they remember that being pretty damn cool, and they remember seeing him start & get hurt. So memories of pen > memories of starting, especially when assuming that will be the outcome every time.

          What I think, is that B-Jobbers lack vision, they aren’t really looking forward into the what could be for Joba as starter, and how awesome that could be.

    • I was not elected to read, I WAS ELECTED TO LEAD!!!

  34. Ace says:

    Joseph P…have you ever used an SB Nation message board? is there anyway you can steal Pinstripe Alley and make it River Ave Blues? The message boards update automatically without refreshing and are soooooooo much easier to use. Pinstripe Alley doesnt get nearly the amount of impressions and users you guys get. I would seriously consider trying to move in on their turf.

    If youve never used an SB Nation message board, try it out…

    http://www.pinstripealley.com/

    • Joseph P. says:

      I used to be a regular on Pinstripe Alley. Then I started dedicating all my time to this joint.

      The problem with SB Nation is that they require registration for comments. We want to avoid that, or make it optional at the most. Trust me, though, this is an idea we’ve tossed around on more than one occasion.

  35. K.B.D. says:

    You know, if Joba didn’t throw in the high 90s, I don’t think this would be a debate. But since his fastball goes zoom people think “Wow! He can throw REAL FAST from the bullpen! He only throws mid 90s as a starter! He’s obviously better in the bullpen even though most statistical analysis proves otherwise!”

    • Tom Zig says:

      You could always stick him in center field. We have a need there, he’ll be able to throw anyone out at home. Hell I bet he could throw out Jose Reyes trying to score from 3rd on a sac-fly to deep center.

  36. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Who was the 8th inning guy in 98, 99 and 2000?

    • A.D. says:

      Stanton & Nelson

      • Rob in CT says:

        Check out their stats, season by season. Just the regular season, mind you (Stanton, in particular, was ridiculous in the playoffs). Do they look impressive? To me, sometimes yes and sometimes no. But it didn’t matter BECAUSE THE TEAM HAD REALLY GOOD STARTING PITCHING and Mariano (PBUH).

        • Rob in CT says:

          Just in case it wasn’t clear, I’m not arguing with anyone in particular here. I’m arguing with a vague sense that people have an unreasoning belief in the greatness of Nelson and Stanton. Call it Torre-itis.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Oh. I thought they got Clemens in 99 and figured, “that guy can throw hard and can dominate as a starter – let’s put him the pen.” I guess I misremembered.

    • MattG says:

      The real secret to Torre’s success–the always available, always effective Nelson and Stanton. And don’t forget Ramiro Mendoza–he actually pitched more innings in those years than either of the other two. With Rivera, those four made Torre a lot of money.

      • Yankee1010 says:

        Or guys like David Cone, Andy Pettitte, David Wells, Roger Clemens, El Duque, Jimmy Key, Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, etc.

        • MattG says:

          I meant his ability to handle a bullpen. He suddenly became a moron with Quantrill, Gordon, etc.

          • Yankee1010 says:

            I didn’t mean to be so harsh with regards to Stanton, Nelson and Mendoza. However, the other guys I mentioned (and obviously, Rivera) are the real reasons they won those titles.

            As for Joe handling a bullpen, I’m not going to even go into that can of worms. I’ll just say that I think it’s fair to say that managing a bullpen is not the man’s greatest strength.

      • A.D. says:

        And don’t forget Ramiro Mendoza–he actually pitched more innings in those years than either of the other two.

        And the rest of his career paid for it

  37. joeyD says:

    “A dominant 8th inning set-up guy is a luxury. A dominant starter is a necessity.”

  38. Bruno says:

    CC = $161m
    K-Rod = $37m

    ’nuff said.

    • True.

      Also, I’m eagerly anticipating watching this Mets season. They, unlike us, have “solved their 8th inning problem” with J.J. Putz. Too bad they don’t have enough starting pitching for it to matter at all.

      • Macphisto says:

        You don’t think the 8th is well covered with Marte/Bruney?

        • No, no, I do wholeheartedly.

          I was just saying that the Mets’ 8th inning is in relatively safer hands with Putz over Bruney/Marte, but that the Mets are being foolishly praised for adding Putz for the 8th while ignoring the fact that their rotation is a shambles while the Yankees are being pushed to weaken their rotation to put Joba in the 8th.

          Bruney/Marte/etc will be just fine in the 8th, as will Putz for the Mets. But we’ll do better than they will because our 5th starter is Joba and theirs is Tim Redding.

  39. Dave says:

    i think dfaing wright was a no-brainer. geise could make the pen out of ST and wright will not. Its that simple.

  40. BillyBall says:

    Great read on Replacement Level Yankees blog.

    a qoute;

    “Let’s look at some numbers, which would probably give the Joba to the bullpen crowd a serious headache.”

    Pitcher A
    65.3 IP
    2.76 ERA compared to 4.50 league average ERA
    12.6 runs saved above average
    19.2 runs saved above replacement

    Pitcher B
    35 IP
    2.31 ERA compared to 4.10 league average ERA
    7.0 runs saved above average
    10.2 runs saved above replacement (maybe boost to 14 or so if you factor in leverage)

    “Who’s more valuable? Dolts like Kernan will say it’s pitcher B.”

    “How about over a full season? If Joba can pitch 150 innings as a starter this year to his CAIRO projected 3.45 ERA, he’s probably somewhere around 3.5 wins above replacement level. If he is instead used as the 8th inning setup guy (projected 2.66 relief ERA), he’s about 2.4 wins above replacement level. You can factor in leverage and make an argument that it ends up being a wash, but what about in 2010? If you build Joba up to 150 innings in 2009, now maybe he can pitch 190 in 2010. Suddenly, he’d be worth 4.4 wins above replacement level, again compared to the 2.4 wins plus whatever leverage adjustment you make.”

    It’s mind-boggling. It really is.

  41. MS says:

    I don’t care what the stats say or anything else. I see Joba as a 6 inning pitcher as a starter and then we’ll watch somebody else blow the game in the 7th and 8th inning. He tries to strike everybody out (which he can), but he throws too many pitches. In the bullpen he can try to strike everybody out and we don’t have to worry about a pitch count or inning count.

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.