Joba, offense dominate Philly

Bruney: I finally realized this was a full-time job
Forfeiting the WBC

The Phillies rolled into Tampa this afternoon with about half of their starting lineup and a contingent of Major Leaguers in tow. While Chase Utley is still on the mend from surgery and Jimmy Rollins is repping the US at the WBC, Raul Ibañez, Ryan Howard, Matt Stairs, Jayson Werth and Geoff Jenkins had the pleasure of squaring off against Joba Chamberlain and the Yanks.

In a way, it would be a test for Joba. He had two bad outings, followed by a good one and needed to show progress as the Grapefruit League marches toward Opening Day. Well, he responded quite nicely, thank you very much. In three innings, Joba allowed a pair of hits and a walk — to the first batter of the game no less — while striking out three.

We like to debate Joba around here. While most RAB readers and commenters seem to recognize the value of Joba in the rotation, a bunch of B-Jobbers, our nickname for those folks who believe Joba should pitch the 8th inning, infiltrate the airwaves on the FAN, ESPN and MLB Network. As Mark Feinsand related after the game, though, the Yankee coaches all agree that Joba is a starter. Joe Girardi, Dave Eiland and Brian Cashman don’t really care what those talking heads have to say; Joba is a member of the starting rotation through and through.

“I understand that side of the argument,” Eiland said of the B-Jobbers to Feinsand. “There’s no denying what he did out of the pen. Could we put him back there right now and have him do the same thing? Sure. But power guys don’t come around that often with the four pitches that he has. When they do, they’re in a rotation somewhere – usually in the top three spots.”

Meanwhile, once Joba was removed this afternoon, the bullpen and the Yanks’ offense took over. Brian Bruney managed to put three runners on in one inning but escaped unharmed. Kei Igawa, Jonathan Albaladejo and David Robertson combined for five scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing four baserunners, as the bats carried the Yanks.

When the dust settled, the Yanks walked away 12-0 winners over the defending World Champions, and their rather meaningless Grapefruit League record now stands at 9-8. Nick Swisher led the attack with three hits and three RBIs in four at-bats. Brett Gardner scored twice and drove in a run with an RBI triple. Xavier Nady, Cody Ransom and Shelly Duncan all picked up a pair of hits. If only it all counted.

The Kei Watch

Kei Igawa continues to tantalize the Yankees during Spring Training. Igawa threw three scoreless innings today. He gave up two hits and a walk and struck out three. He’s doing a better job of trusting his stuff and is getting players to hit into outs instead of home runs. On the spring, he has now thrown 12 innings, surrendering six hits, two walks and zero runs. He has 11 strike outs to go along with that 0.00 ERA. What the Yankees will do with Kei and the $12 million they owe him is anyone’s guess, but after two forgettable seasons, Igawa is making a statement, albeit in March.

Bruney: I finally realized this was a full-time job
Forfeiting the WBC
  • Moshe Mandel

    There is a poll attached to the Joba article- 69% of the readers think Joba should be in the pen. Between the local rags and Mike Francesa, an entire generation of baseball fans is being corrupted by incredible stupidity.

    • Ben K.

      To be fair to Feinsand, while it’s true that his readers may be done, he has clearly seen the light. The Yanks’ beat writers seem to all know that Joba will and should be in the rotation.

      This whole bullpen thing is really a devil unleashed by the Yanks. Had they never used him in the 8th in 2007 to keep his innings under control, this debate would never have occurred to anyone.

      • Moshe Mandel

        I dont get why it has not come up regarding David Price- he helped them to the WS from the pen, and they have no legit closer. Seems to be a natural fit. I guess he needs to get hurt first.

        In regard to Feinsand, I saw that post. He happens to be one of the best NY writers, as he has shown himself willing to change and adapt with the newer analytical tools and methods that are available.

        • John

          because the yanks are always held against a double-standard

          • radnom

            I hate when people say that about this, like its some big conspiracy…

            Joba in 2007 – 24 innings pitched to close out/save the season
            Price in 2008 – 14 meaningless innings pitched after the Rays had locked up a birth, and some of those innings came from a START not from the bullpen.

            Lots of starting pitchers are used in the bullpen in the playoffs, which is I think how people viewed the Price situation last year. When people saw Joba mowing people down at the end of 2007 they saw the next closer of the Yankees and for some reason can’t readjust that mindset to realize he is capable of starting.

        • Expired Milk

          Because I feel its due to them seeing him as the heir apparent to Mo. Apparently he can handle the pressures of closing and will have a smooth transition the closer role once Mo retires

          Oh yea and the others feel hes too volatile to pitch 6+ innings a game and the “history” of injures. Which is absolutely silly since and hes looks like a kid compared to CC there were no major arm troubles.

          • Grant

            Feinsand is like every other DN writer. Terrible.

            They have to pass the Lupica Anti Yank test to work there.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Out of genuine curiosity, why do you keep switching names? Do you want to throw people off the scent of your Bo comments, like an MI6 double agent? Do you alternate between the two for shits and giggles? Or, have you legitimately crafted two personalities for yourself, a “Bo” and a “Grant”, and you go into fugue states – like sometimes, “Grant” is in control and “Bo” is sleeping, and you wake up and don’t know what has happened, like Cornelius and Tyler Durden?

              Because I hate to break it to you, but if you’re suffering from multiple personality disorder, you’ve got a pretty crappy version of MPD, because both of your two personalities are indistinguishable from each other. Both “Bo” and “Grant” are irrepressibly, clinically depressed and should each see a mental health professional.

        • Evan

          Harold Reynolds suggested the Rays put Price in the bullpen and the Mariners put Morrow in the bullpen. I don’t know what’s with his obsession of putting potential stud starters in the bullpen.

      • steve (different one)

        This whole bullpen thing is really a devil unleashed by the Yanks. Had they never used him in the 8th in 2007 to keep his innings under control, this debate would never have occurred to anyone.

        of course, this should have absolutely no bearing on whether they should have done it or not.

        it helped them to the playoffs and with a little better luck, maybe gets them to the WS.

        who cares that it spawned a bunch of stupid arguments in the media? that’s not how you should make decisions.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I blame Joe Torre.

          No, seriously. I’m not saying that in the usual, snarky “I blame ARod” sense. I think a huge portion of this whole B-Jobber nonsense is Torre’s creation. He is friends with a lot of these NYC mediots. We know he’s incapable of managing a bullpen (or even a pitching staff in general). He has proven himself to be the type of guy who would demand to be given the right to use Joba as a closer (in the face of all reasonable baseball wisdom – wisdom that he dismisses as voodoo science). That’s why Cashman had to put Torre on a leash regarding Joba, because he wanted to make it clear to Joe that Joba was NOT going to be a long-term pen option.

          I’d wager dollars to donuts that Torre was planting seeds of “I think Joba should be in the bullpen and Dummy Dumb Dumb Cashman won’t let me make the smart baseball decision to put him there” in the heads of all his Post and Daily News buddies.

  • robert skollar



    • Ben K.

      I have to go through ’em all, figure out which ones are making it to the next round, and then we vote. So no one yet.

      • robert skollar

        Got it.

        So it’s an “elimination tourney”.


  • thisisthedavid

    I fucks with igawa. I think the different balls fucked wit him (nohomo) in his first season here. Than he had to adjust to pitching and the different schedule.

    Igawa could be a great long man for us this season.

  • John

    Sorry if this is off-topic, but…

    Ben, How do you find time with law school to do TWO blogs?!!!

    • Ben K.

      I don’t need much sleep, and I try to work as efficiently as possible. I also think I’d go a little nuts if I didn’t have any other outlets besides law school. It’s quite a grind.

      • John

        Lucky, I tried going with minimum sleep and I became old and overweight (not really, but I gained 10 lbs). Anyway, how is NYU? I am thinking about transferring there or to Columbia next year. Currently, I attend the University of Denver, which has a similar cost of tuition.

        • Ben K.

          I like NYU about as much as anyone can be expected to enjoy law school. My classmates are great, and I’m glad I didn’t have to leave the city for law school.

          • John

            Good for you. The reason I want to go there is because of the city too. I doubt I can afford it (though I let a great chance for a full-ride scholarship to Columbia get out of hand because of my laziness) but I really like those two schools. I took a tour of them this past summer and liked them a lot (Columbia a bit more).

      • anonymous

        How much is not much?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Ben, How do you find time with law school to do TWO blogs?!!!

      Easy: Both the blogs are crappy.

      (I keed, I keed.)

  • Rich

    Do you have to be in favor of putting Joba in he pen to work for the MLB Network?

    A sampling from tonight:

    Some talking head whose name escapes me: “What’s the point of being a 5th starter?” (As if that’s where he’s going to stay there for the rest of his career.)

    Mitch Williams said he’ll have to think too much about which secondary pitches to use after the first time through the lineup as a starter.

    Dan Plesac: “He’s the ultimate set up guy.”

    • whozat

      Mitch Williams said he’ll have to think too much about which secondary pitches to use after the first time through the lineup as a starter.

      What…do other starters have some kind of magic 8 ball up there?

      This is a whole new level of idiocy. Do they get paid to avoid thinking???

      • RollingWave

        it’s Mitch William, which would explain the a. thinking is hard and b. ZOMG secondary pitch! logic.

      • dan

        Does Mitch Williams know what a secondary pitch is? And isn’t like every pitch called from the bench these days anyway?

        • Matt

          I think so. This is why the whole “calling a game” thing for catchers is overrated today. Just about every pitch, they’re looking into the dugout for the sign!

          • Grant

            What do you think Mitch Williams is going to say? And Pleasac? Those guys were closers!

            • steve (different one)

              Mitch Williams = Kenny Powers

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Dan Plesac: “He’s the ultimate set up guy.”

      He is. You know who else was the ultimate set-up guy?

      Every good pitcher ever.

  • JeffG

    “He’s doing a better job… getting players to hit into outs instead of home runs.” – Classic. …instead of HRs …man that is too funny.

    Igawa obviously gets blasted in out division but I’d really like to see if Kei could manage in the NL West. I have a feeling he could. To bad there wasn’t a loan system in Baseball… perhaps we could loan Kei out first and if he stuck somewhere all the better.

  • Grant

    I really never need to see or ehar about Igawa ever again.

    I dont care if he doesn’t allow a hit in AAA this whole yr.

  • jsbrendog

    “Kei Igawa continues to tantalize the Yankees during Spring Training”

    obviously steroids.

  • mikef

    Can anyone see trading Igawa ( picking up some/most of his $) to Seattle for Russell Branyon (sic)?

    I know he played some 3b back when he was with Cleveland, and perhaps he would be an OK fill-in for Arod (more than Ransom)with respect to his bat

    Either way, a small upgrade at a position of need with little downside, as I do not believe Igawa will ever make an impact for the Yanks

    • A.D.

      Igawa for Crosby…though I don’t know if I’d want Crosby.

  • MattG

    When the Yankees first signed Igawa, I looked at the numbers and decided they saw him as a trading chip. The posting system allows you to essentially purchase a piece to trade. Most of the money goes to the Japanese club, and the player gets a below-market contract. Igawa was supposed to be a back-end rotation filler, and he got $4.5M/year. Back-end rotation fillers, at that time, were making $10M/year in some cases. Matsuzaka’s contract was a similar bargain.

    But now that the salary structure has undergone a change, Igawa’s contract is unmoveable. Coke and Aceves, to name two, are much easier to trade. There have to be dozens of players across the league that are as likely to fill a 5th starter role as well as Igawa, but do not have major league contracts.

    The only way Igawa could possibly be traded is if someone were convinced he could be their third starter in the major leagues. I don’t think there is anyway that can happen pitching in AAA, or out of the big team’s pen. Igawa is here to stay.

    • steve (different one)

      unless he is traded for another bad contract.

      you never know.

  • A.D.

    Good that Joba is settling in, and got to face some major league competition