Debating Hughes as a reliever

Yanks find the other end of a blowout, down Tigers 11-0
On the matter of roster depth

The Yanks’ bullpen has been on everyone’s mind lately. After all, as Joe discussed yesterday, it’s been terrible in the early going, and everyone wants to fix it. How is a matter of debate.

So far, Brian Cashman has gotten slammed for his bullpen construction in every which way. They have no long-man; they have no Joba-style set-up man; they have lefty specialists who can’t lefties out; they have a bunch of no-name middle relievers who can’t get anyone out. It’s just been one big mess in 20 games. Never mind the fact that these same bunch of no-names had some pretty stellar numbers last year.

While the Yanks’ Front Office maintaining an even keel, a lot of commentators are using this opportunity coupled with Joba’s less-than-stellar start to bring up that good ol’ Joba-to-the-pen argument. Yesterday, though, I saw an interesting twist on it. David Pinto, riffing off a John Harper column that won’t get any RAB-endorsed traffic, suggests putting Phil Hughes in the bullpen. He writes:

Harper is the latest to bring up Joba back to the pen again, this time, because Phil Hughes might be ready to start in the majors. Why not move Phil to the pen, instead? Given that the Yankees seem to need a long man once every time through the rotation, so why not give Hughes that job? That way, he can work his way into the majors, spot start for injuries, and if Bruney can’t pitch for a while, he can be a two-inning setup man.

I don’t like it. I don’t like the idea of taking a 22-year-old starter and turning him into a glorified mop up-cum-setup man. I don’t like the unpredictability, and as I’ve discussed in the Joba debate, I don’t like squandered an asset in a low leverage role.

First, let’s look at Hughes’ age. Phil needs to build up arm strength and stamina. The Yankees believe that Hughes, just 22, will factor into their future rotation plans, and last night, Hughes did nothing to dispel that notion. Limiting him to a few innings’ worth of long relief every few days won’t help him prepare to be a starter.

Second, Pinto’s suggestion relies on what I hope is a faulty premise. So far, the Yankees have needed a long man at least once — and often more than once — per five-day period, but the team can’t plan for the future working under that assumption. What happens then when A.J. and CC and Andy and Joba and Chien-Ming Wang are firing on all cylinders? The Yanks would either be left with a very well-rested and underused Phil Hughes or the team would be using Hughes in a mop-up role. That’s why they have Brett Tomko toiling away at AAA; it’s not a role suited for your top pitching prospect.

Pinto’s idea here then is to move Hughes into a two-inning setup role if Brian Bruney can’t return from his current injury. Outside of the differences between starting and relieving, I think a move like that would push Hughes into a role that doesn’t help him progress. Sure, he’d be getting Major League innings, but he’d be getting those innings in bits and spurts.

In the end, we want to see prospects contribute at the Major League level, but a pitcher’s value is in starting. Any pitcher — especially young ones with live arms — should be given all the chances they need to cut as a stater and only then do they move into a less valuable role. It’s the same debate we have with Joba, and it’s one that we shouldn’t even start concerning Phil Hughes.

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Yanks find the other end of a blowout, down Tigers 11-0
On the matter of roster depth
  • r.w.g.

    I’m glad this site takes such an active role in arguing against moving the top prospects to the bullpen. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want it.

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Bronx Baseball Daily

      I’d like to see people start arguing for the Yankees to call up Austin Jackson and use him primarily in a pinch hitting role. Everyone knows that the first six innings don’t matter anyways so it would be a waste to start him.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      AGREE. I can’t even believe that anyone would suggest Hughes in the pen. Or Joba either. I “get” the Joba debate but I wish for it to end.

      Definitely a wrong turn here Ben.

    • Danny Survillo

      leave joba in the rotation and leave hughes in the rotation. this has been the yankees plan all along, to have both of these young flame throwers in their rotation eating up innings. joba can definitely start and he has proven that, i just think we need to wait until maybe mid may to see where he is really going to be at. right now its too early. i do feel phil hughes is ready for the major leagues and ive stood by that for the longest time, but now after being 100 percent since his recent injury, he is definitely ready to be in the yanks rotation. to be truly honest with you i was never a big fan of chien ming wang. If i was the yankees i would let him rehab and come back, if he continues to struggle he must be traded or put on waivers because what he is doing right now is rediculous. i look for pettite to retire at the end of this season depending if the yanks win or not. regardless i see the yanks rotation next year starting with cc aj joba hughes and then a #5. but for now def keep hughes in there until he really struggles. when arod comes back i look for the yankees to be firing on all cylanders. and by the way why not use mark melancon as the setup man this kid throws gas and has great stuff. lets try it out!!!

  • steve (different one)

    what a terrible idea.

  • pete c.

    If Joba belongs in the rotation, how can anyone think about putting Hughes in the pen?

    • Chris C.

      People are unbelievable, aren’t they?

      Hughes is having a tough enough time getting his major league career going, and now that he finally seems back on track since recovering from last year’s injury, the Yankees should jerk him around??

      I mean, this is the guy they decided not to trade for Johan Santana, and now he should be a long reliever/spot starter??

      Oh, and I just love the “turn him into a two inning set-up man” part. Brilliant.

      The Yankees already have long-man candidates in the minors, who were lights-out in the preseason (Aceves and Tomko). I think they’d utilize them before they turn their top prospect into a mop-up guy.

  • steve (different one)

    Hughes HAS to get 150 innings this year. it’s that simple.

    • Chris C.

      And if he keeps pitching like he did last night, he should get them starting games for the NY Yankees. I don’t care if Wang returns and the other starters are costing Steinbrenner three of his houses. If Hughes gets a few starts and pitches to an era in the 2’s or low 3’s, he should not leave the rotation.

      And if he gets spanked, he should go back to Scranton and get his 150 innings. It’s that simple.

      The Yankees have the worst ERA in baseball. If Hughes is pitching stellar, they’d better damn well make room for him in the rotation.

      • jsbrendog

        if wang comes back and pitches like wang then hughes goes where he can get 150 innings. and that is aaa. it is not about domination it is about him devewloping as a pitcher. 2010, 2011, 2012 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2009 for hughes and joba and the yankees.

        • Chris C.

          And like I said, if he strings together a bunch of strong starts, you are not doing his developement any favors by sending him back down to AAA.

          And I know alot of people are just assuming this will happen, but it is an extreme longshot that Wang will return anytime soon and be the same guy who won 19 games for two seasons. He will get there, but I’d be stunned if he came back in a week or two and everything was like old times again.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

            you are not doing his developement any favors by sending him back down to AAA.

            Letting him sit in the bullpen for the big club isn’t going to do him any favors either. At least if he’s in Scranton, he’ll be getting innings. Even if Wang returns and does well and the Phranchise has to go back down, it’s highly unlikely that he’d be down there for the remainder of the season–someone’s gonna miss a start sometime.

            • andrew

              But Chris wasn’t advocating him pitching in the bullpen. He was saying that if Hughes continues to put up good to great numbers, then he should continue to pitch every 5 days, regardless of how Wang recovers, because it would be clear that 150 innings in the majors would not only be a better developmental tool for Hughes, but it would be better for the team as well.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                But since CC, Burnett, Wang, and Pettitte are all established vets with no options left, they can’t be sent to the minors. So, if Chris C. is saying he wants Hughes to pitch every 5th day in the majors, as a starter, he’s arguing for Joba to be demoted. That’s silly.

                You can’t just say “regardless of how Wang recovers” because you have 6 men for 5 spots. When Wang comes back, he’s getting one of those spots.

                • Chris C.

                  “But since CC, Burnett, Wang, and Pettitte are all established vets with no options left, they can’t be sent to the minors.”

                  And that’s been the ultimate problem with this organization…….too many roster spots are taken by guys who make way too much money to be benched. So then if someone like Hughes comes up and outperforms them, it’s “tough shit, Phil……you got options left”.

                  “So, if Chris C. is saying he wants Hughes to pitch every 5th day in the majors, as a starter, he’s arguing for Joba to be demoted. That’s silly.”

                  No, I’m arguing for the best 5 pitchers to be in the rotation, regardless of what they earn, what they did in the past, how many options they have left, or who’s blowing Girardi.
                  That’s what I’m arguing. Wang didn’t get injured, here. He basically pitched himself out of the rotation, at least for now. And if he comes back strong, and Hughes has outperformed Chamberlain as a starter, would it be the worst thing in the world to put Joba back to the set-up role? Enough with the politics already. Get the best guys in the rotation. And if Hughes is one of them, then how is the team better off with him back in AAA?

                  “When Wang comes back, he’s getting one of those spots.”

                  Well then, if Hughes pitches better than Chamberlain, he should get the other. Because if last night was any indication, Hughes looks better as a starter than Chamberlain does. Yeah, I know…..small sample size…..but this should play itself out in the next few weeks. I don’t think that’s silly at all.

                  Either that or I missed the Yankee memo that stated Joba Chamberlain automatically be guarrenteed a spot in the rotation over Hughes regardless of performance.

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  and Hughes has outperformed Chamberlain as a starter, would it be the worst thing in the world to put Joba back to the set-up role?

                  Yes that would be bad. Very bad. Even if Hughes out pitches him (unlikely), I wouldn’t want Chamberlain in the bullpen. I’d rather he be getting innings at Scranton than messing up a rhythm he’ll’ve developed by then. Pitching him on irregular rest and having him go “max effort” then will probably contribute to an injury. It’s more important that he build up arm strength and work towards becoming a better starter.

                • Chris C.

                  “Yes that would be bad. Very bad. Even if Hughes out pitches him (unlikely), I wouldn’t want Chamberlain in the bullpen. I’d rather he be getting innings at Scranton than messing up a rhythm he’ll’ve developed by then.”

                  Fair enough……as long as you don’t advocate handing him the starting spot over Hughes because he’s crazy and zany and the fans love him and he has potential pouring out his ears.
                  Because that’s the kind of shit I don’t want to hear.

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  It was the double contraction that convinced you, wasn’t it?

  • jsbrendog

    i think i just threw up in my mouth a little.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      Me too, my friend, me too.

  • JohnC

    one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard.

  • http://bigbluepinstripes.blogspot.com/ LB

    No bullpen for Phil or Joba

  • Ivan

    That idea really makes no sense. If Hughes pitches the way he does against detroit, then why put him in the BP? Doing that would fuck up his development.

    The media is being too infactuated with the bp.

    • Chris C.

      If the starting rotation was pitching better, the bullpen wouldn’t be such an issue.

  • A.D.

    If Hughes has gotten in his innings, and been squeezed out of the rotation, and thus in the minors, and its now Sept and the minor league season is over, I could see the Yankees considering Hughes for the pen in the end of Sept & the playoffs.

    But otherwise just NO, Hughes and Joba need innings at the major or AAA level so they’re both ready to go in the rotation next year.

  • Steve S

    We have to ignore these writers, sometimes they just put things out there because they need to have a talking point, plus they arent writing for sophisticated baseball fans who understand and appreciate what it means to develop young pitching.

    Hughes is serving his purpose and its perfect for him developmentally. They can monitor his workload, hell get 20 ML starts this year between Wang, Burnett, Pettitte and even Joba assuming they want to keep his innings down. Moving him to the bullpen is an awful idea, he has never done it, it would completely stunt his growth as a starter and it could cause a greater risk of injury.

    This is all stems from the B-Jobbers, but it goes back to Mariano Rivera in 1996. The guy created a model that people think can be replicated. I just cant believe how some of these writers selectively ignore the fact that typically, middle relievers and closers have shorter careers/ shorter periods of dominance because its generally accepted in baseball that throwing 15-30 pitches on consecutive days and three to four times a week, is more taxing on an arm then 120 pitches every five days. Aside from the logical argument that starters have more value than relievers, if you want a viable piece and to maintain his health, its pretty well accepted that a young starter will maintain better than a young reliever. Ask the Red Sox who means more to them right now Papelbon or Lester. The reality is that Mo is a freak (or a deity) and his extended period of dominance may never again be replicated, it may be a genetic thing that his body and arm were just built for it.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir but its just so frustrating.

    • steve (different one)

      the point about Mariano is a great point that doesn’t get much play.

      Mo is the EXCEPTION to the rule when it comes to relievers. no one seems to understand that.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        OMM, I fear the day that Mariano eventually retires. The hairbrained shit writers will say about how we need to find the next Mariano or how so and so can be the next Mariano will be freaking ridiculous.

        Replacing Mo is like replacing Babe Ruth. There’s only one. The difference is, replacing Babe Ruth with the next best cleanup hitter, while impossible, is a big step down… replacing Mo with the next best closer is a much smaller step down. Making it both infuriatingly impossible and dire and infuriatingly insignificant and unimportant.

        • Steve S

          I’d like to place a bet now, listen to this scenario:

          – when Mo does retire, even if Joba succeeds as a starter, lets say 3.50 ERA and wins between 10-15 games for the next two years; AND

          – Mark Melancon makes a successful transition to the bullpen as the 8th inning guy.

          There will still be someone in 2011 who suggests Joba in the bullpen. I should get some kind of odds here…

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I won’t take that bet, because you’d be right.

            Joba could go 22-3 with a 2.34 ERA and win the Cy Young in 2010 and Wallace Matthews would still cook up harebrained schemes of how to trade for Paul Maholm or something so Joba could move to the pen so we can keep the legacy of dominant superclosers alive.

            • Steve S

              You think in 2015, Wally and perhaps Steve Phillips will suggest getting Mariano out of retirement or drafting one of his kids?

            • Chris C.

              Wally Matthews is an old boxing writer. You shouldn’t take any of his baseball articles seriously.

    • The Scout

      Writers want readers. Writers get readers by stirring controversy. No one cares when a writer simply speaks common sense — it is early in the season, too small a sample to make fundamental changes, etc. Writers are not (thank goodness!) general managers.

      I suspect Cashman got a good chuckle out of this one….

      • JohnnyC

        I wonder if Pinto, a Mets fan, would endorse the same plan for Mike Pelfrey? I know he’d endorse the idea for Oliver Perez.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Oliver Perez to the bullpen permanently probably makes sense, since he’s a freakin failed starter and we all know it.

          • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

            IETC.

          • V

            Eh, I dunno. His problem is bad mechanics. When his mechanics are on, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball. When they’re off….

            That doesn’t get fixed in the bullpen. He was just a bad, bad signing.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Oliver Perez = a lefty Armando Bentitez with a hair more stamina

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                No, no, wait, I found it:

                Oliver Perez = Mitch Williams with stamina

  • A.D.

    Right now the Yankees have too many relievers to get proper work if that starting pitching goes to normal, and the pen only has to get 3-9 outs a game. When that does happen at least one reliever will be sent down, and the pen guys can fall into more normal work & roles.

  • r.w.g.

    There are so many guys floating around the minors, the independent leagues, Mexico, Japan, some other team’s roster.. if need be the New York Yankees can go find somebody.

    Somebody in the Yankee organization said the other day that the answer was to just let them pitch. Couldn’t agree more.

    It seems like the media has latched onto the bullpen, though, and will probably take every opportunity to dissect and distort relief outings and write enough stories telling those pitchers they suck, ask them questions implying they suck.. anything they can to bring some “change”.

  • josh

    I always felt that joba should start although i do admit joba, melancon, bruney is intimidating. get phil and joba 150-180 innings and everything is on track.
    2010:cc. burnett. wang. joba. hughes. maybe pettitte. thats pretty intimidating too.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Pettitte won’t be in there, but yeah, you’re right.

      Having an intimidating 5 man rotation with no weakness is way more intimidating than having 3 elite relievers at the end.

      • Nady Nation

        Don’t tell that to Omar Minaya.

      • Nady Nation

        Don’t tell that to Omar Minaya.

        • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

          Everyone got that?

          ;)

          • Nady Nation

            Heh, I can say it one more time for emphasis’ sake. I have no idea why that comment was posted twice though, my bad.

  • mustang

    This was just a way to turn some heads Hughes to the pen is just dumb.
    However Joba to pen is coming whether people like or not and I don’t fall on either side of the Joba debate but you can see the writing on the wall.
    Is this really all that bad?
    Hughes becomes a 1 or 2.
    Joba becomes the 8th inning guy that replaces Mo someday.
    IPK has great year in AAA and takes over the 5th spot from Andy next year.
    The Big Three T-Shirts come right back in fashion.

    • jsbrendog

      no way thayt happens ever. you’re dillusional if you think kennedy is a better starter than joba.

      • mustang

        Where on earth did you see that?

        IPK would be taking the place of ANDY if only IF it’s decide that Joba is going to be a reliever.
        Come on give me a little more credit then that.

        • jsbrendog

          haha sorry, my bad. im on edge from all these damn b-jobbing convos….apologies. but is till dont see joba going to the pen

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          IPK would be taking the place of ANDY if only IF it’s decide that Joba is going to be a reliever.

          Sorry, no, the writing isn’t on the wall for that.

          Putting IPK in the rotation over Joba is still dumb. This current incarnation of Yankee front office has shown no propensity for doing a move that dumb. They’re all committed to Joba starting since he’s the best SP prospect we’ve had since young Pettitte.

          • mustang

            Good Lord all Mighty.

            IPK FOR JOBA NO.
            IF,IF,IF JOBA BECOMES A RELIEVER.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Your point is moot.

              They’re not making Joba a releiver. The order of the decisions is irrelevant.

    • Steve S

      Whats the writing on the wall, everyone in the organization saying he is staying as a starter? The fact that when he didnt have his best stuff he managed to pitch into the sixth inning against baseball’s hottest team? Maybe I could see the writing on the wall if the guy got bombed out like AJ did on Saturday (dominating for three innings and then losing it). Cashman is too smart for this and so is Girardi. The writing on the wall is: they expected Wang to provide them with 200 innings with no issue and the concerns were over AJ and Pettitte making 35 starts, which still hasnt gone away. Phil was going to be insurance for at least one or two of them. Now all you have is Kennedy and who knows whats wrong with him. They need those innings from Joba.

      • mustang

        We will see what the “organization saying” a month or so from now if this team is still around .500 8 games back and the GM and manager are fighting for there jobs.
        Lets wait and see.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          If the Yanks are around .500 and 8 games back next month, it won’t be because Joba isn’t in the bullpen.

          Baseball logic fail.

          • mustang

            All I’m saying is don’t read to much into what the organization saying right now this is not last year when they were in ” secret rebuilding mode “. With the money they spend they better win or someone is losing their job. That kind of incentive changes a lot plans.

            • Steve S

              Well thats not true. Cashman went into last year as a lame duck and went with Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain and a relatively unexperienced manager. He didnt get a new deal until practially the last day of the season. I dont know about this secret rebuilding mode. And I honestly dont think Cashman is worried about his job. And its Cashman who is making these decisions, clearly.

              • mustang

                ” Cashman went into last year as a lame duck and went with Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain and a relatively unexperienced manager. ”

                And ownership understood that and allotted for it. I don’t think that will happen again this year if they don’t make the playoff.

                • Steve S

                  So they gave him a three year contract for more money? I understand what you are saying, but I think you are on the George M Steinbrenner method of ownership. Its clear Hal doesnt have the same bottom line as his father. I dont think he would fire Cashman this year. The money they spent was as much an organizational decision as it was Cashman’s decision.

        • Steve S

          Mustang I love ya, but sometimes you take up some bizarre points. You are really doing the passive aggressive thing here by saying you arent taking a side because in a sense you are by implying that the team as currently constructed will struggle and therefore need to solidify the bullpen by adding Joba. The argument is whether these guys should be starters or should be relievers not what the organization might do in a month if everything goes poorly.

          And if you want to debate that point, they have been extraordinarily patient with them already, I doubt now, Cashman would deviate. Cashman’s job isnt in danger, they just got finished begging him to come back. Girardi may be in trouble, but he doesnt have the muscle to make a decision like that. And Cashman knows his legacy (and not just his job) is tied to Joba and Hughes- as starters.

          • mustang

            Steve,
            All I care about is the Yankees winning. If Wang comes back to form and Hughes and Joba continue to pitch like they are while the bull pen struggles doesn’t the Joba to the pen move seem right.
            Sometimes it seem to me that for some people watching the ” Big Three” become successful starters is more important then watching the team win.

            • jsbrendog

              no, watching the team win over the long haul is mroe important.

              winning in 2010, 2011, and 2012 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> sacrificing that to win in 2009

              • mustang

                Like they sacrifice 2008. Then in 2010 what are you going to be saying then?

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              while the bull pen struggles doesn’t the Joba to the pen move seem right.

              No because that most likely weakens the rotation. Creating a hole in the rotation is more costly to the team than fixing a hole in the bullpen is beneficial.

              Sometimes it seem to me that for some people watching the ” Big Three” become successful starters is more important then watching the team win.

              Because the two go hand in hand. Developing IPK, Phranchise, and Joba is key to the long term success of the Yankees. Like jsbd said, the future is more important. The proper development of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as starting pitchers is more important than the Yankees winning the WS in 2009. Making sure that happens is likely to lead to more winning seasons and championships down the road.

              • mustang

                I want someone to tell me how many years is the Yankees organization going to give up for the development of these kids?

                2008 that’s one now your saying 2009 after spening loads of money.
                2010?
                2011?

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  They’re not giving up anything at all. Moving Joba to the bullpen would be giving something up. You can have your cake and eat it, too. Moving Joba to the ‘pen at any point is a short-sighted solution to a problem. They can win while developing Hughes and Chamberlain. But, at the same time, they’re ensuring that they’ll have Hughes and Chamberlain properly ready when the time comes to unleash them from innings limits.

              • Chris C.

                “while the bull pen struggles doesn’t the Joba to the pen move seem right.

                No because that most likely weakens the rotation. Creating a hole in the rotation is more costly to the team than fixing a hole in the bullpen is beneficial.”

                Yeah, right. Having to put up with Phil Hughes as your #5 starter would just be aweful. It’s just team suicide!

                “Because the two go hand in hand. Developing IPK, Phranchise, and Joba is key to the long term success of the Yankees.”

                Roling the dice and counting on all three to become elite starters is a reach. While I agree with what you’re saying, that doesn’t mean they all have to be starters.

                “The proper development of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as starting pitchers is more important than the Yankees winning the WS in 2009.”

                Let me tell you something, my friend…..if God himself came down from the heavens and into the Yankee front office today and told Cashman that Joba to the pen would result in a definite WS Championship in 2009, Chamberlain would be jetted to the seat next to Mariano Rivera so fast his head would spin!

            • Steve S

              No, we have had this conversation when the Johan trade stuff came up and Im not an adamant Big Three kind of guy. And I dont necessarily agree with what jsbrendog is saying. I want to win every year and I think there is a balance to committing to winning a championship every year and planning for the future and the yankees have the resources to do so.

              In my honest opinion, the sacrifice of moving a guy like Joba out of the rotation makes absolutely no sense, in any scenario. I think the guy has demonstrated that he is an above average starter at this stage. The eighth inning, as I mentioned before, has been glamorized now because people are reminiscing about Mariano and to an extent Stanton and Nelson. I just think that you can piece together the 8th inning and its a myth that you need some kind of specialized guy to do it. In a sense Nelson and Stanton proved that. They were amazing middle relievers but Torre, as bad as he was with bullpen management, knew how to ride them when they were going well (and eventually into the ground). This concept that now you need two closers at the end of games to win a championship is a farce and really the only team that has had that in the last 15 years were the Yankees in 1996. I think you need to draw a line between winning a championship and making a terrible decision that may fix an immediate need but weakens your team both long term (next season) and short term, this season.

              Moving Joba into the 8th inning, with both the results AND his projections is as stupid as hitting Arod 8th in the playoffs. Joba makes this team immeasurably better by being a starter. Im sorry but after a month Im still not sold that AJ Burnett is not an injury risk or that he is anything more than a 3rd starter with great stuff. And now Wang has really been troubling. That rotation is by no means a lock, as much as the bullpen has struggled, this debate is really, extremely short sighted.

              • mustang

                Very well done and I see your point. Lets just see how things turn out.

                • Steve S

                  Agreed. I understand your frustration though, enough waiting, lets win, but I think its coming and soon.

              • Chris C.

                “In my honest opinion, the sacrifice of moving a guy like Joba out of the rotation makes absolutely no sense, in any scenario. I think the guy has demonstrated that he is an above average starter at this stage.”

                Okay……but has he demonstrated that he is such an elite starter, he should not be touched, regardless of the possibility that 5 other guys may be outperforming him in that role?

                “The eighth inning, as I mentioned before, has been glamorized now because people are reminiscing about Mariano and to an extent Stanton and Nelson.”

                Yeah, real glamorized. Because of the work those guys did in the set-up role, the Yankees won 4 championships. Or are you gonna tell me their contributions were insignificant?

                “I just think that you can piece together the 8th inning and its a myth that you need some kind of specialized guy to do it. In a sense Nelson and Stanton proved that”.

                LMAO! Yeah……because they were GREAT. In fact, they were so good, they were considered for the All-Star team despite middle relievers never making it.

                “Moving Joba into the 8th inning, with both the results AND his projections is as stupid as hitting Arod 8th in the playoffs.”

                Let’s not go overboard, champ. Shortening the ballgame for the opposing offense is not a bad thing. You go ask any opposing manager how comfortable they’d feel if they were down a run or two in the 6th or 7th, and Chamberlain AND Rivera are sitting in the bullpen.

                “That rotation is by no means a lock”

                THAT I agree with. But having said that, why do you think it would be stupid to move Chamberlain into the set-up role if the other 5 starters are outpitching him?

                • Steve S

                  Okay, so the measure of keeping him the rotation is him being an elite starter? I cant agree with that. And there is a large gap between an elite starter, an above average starter and a guy with a 6.00 ERA.

                  You missed my point. And yes those guys significantly contributed to winning the World Series, but can you honestly say that they would have won without Cone, El Duque, Clemens, Wells, Pettitte, etc…???? Its really myopic to remember it that way. Not to mention, Nelson and Stanton didnt have half the talent that Joba has and they had stretches where they struggled but some Yankees fans like to have selective memories about the mythical 1990’s. Not to mention the fact that my point was- IT WAS TWO GUYS, who individually probably werent as good as the results they produced as a combo. Go ahead list the guys they have brought in since then as the so called “8th inning guy”, some of them have been okay, some of them have been great (at times) but they didnt equate to championships.

                  Joba doesnt equal Stanton and Nelson, people portray him as Mariano circa 1996.

                  And at what point did I say that shortening the game wouldnt be good? Again, my point is that a bullpen and specifically the 8th inning can be constructed out of parts that dont necessarily equal a guy who has to this point performed as well as 80% of the rotation and has the talent to surpass 80% of the rotation.

                  You also decided to bifurcate my point and completely distort it. I never said if five guys are out performing him you shouldnt contemplate it, its then you may have a talking point and Im not even sure if its rational. But have five guys out performed him yet? Did I not make it clear my questions about the rotation? And doesnt his success last year translate into something this year because in my opinion that 10 start stretch last year was essentially elite. Something that Phil Hughes hasnt done and something that Pettitte has probably not done in a couple of years.

                  You seem to enjoy putting words in my mouth. Its like me saying that you are implying teams with dominant 8th inning guys are a lock to win a World Series. I know you arent saying that but I could make that jump if I wanted to make a bad point on a blog.

              • Chris C.

                “In my honest opinion, the sacrifice of moving a guy like Joba out of the rotation makes absolutely no sense, in any scenario.”

                Well, if July rolls around, and his ERA is about 6.10, then there’s a scenario I believe makes a boatload of sense!

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  No, moving him to Scranton to work himself out as a starter makes boatloads of sense. Putting him in the bullpen won’t make him better automatically and it probably makes him a bigger injury risk.

            • Chris C.

              “All I care about is the Yankees winning. If Wang comes back to form and Hughes and Joba continue to pitch like they are while the bull pen struggles doesn’t the Joba to the pen move seem right.”

              Yes. But that kind of logic may get in the way of Brian Cashman’s dream of all his homegrowns becoming great starters.

              • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                It’s also a move that gets in the way of the Yankees’ success. If Joba is pitching well, his innings should not be cut in half because of some stupid notion of the eighth being more imporant than the first seven innings. More innings of Joba more worth to the Yankees. JOBA. SHOULD. NOT. BE. A. RELIEVER. EVER. UNLESS. HE. GETS. HURT. A LOT. Kerry Wood wasn’t turned into a reliever until he was thirty. The Yankees should have the same patience with Chamberlain. Plus, I really don’t see how putting him in the bullpen early in his career makes him any less of an injury risk.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      Melancon is the heir to Mo. And if he is not, then maybe it’s Robertson or Kontos or Brackman if doesn’t get it done in the rotation or the workload as a starter or somebody else. Joba has the potential to be freaking candidate for the Cy Young award every year. The Royals have a atrocious bullpen outside of Soria, yet nobody says: Greinke to the 8th!!!!eleventy!11!!!

      • Reggie C.

        I mentioned Brackman as an heir to Mo awhile back ago and drew a couple negative responses. I would guess that any move of Brackman to the ‘pen would first require a 100+ inning season as a starter in ’09, just to make sure his arm strength is fully back.

      • mustang

        “Melancon is the heir to Mo.”

        And you got this from 3 innings of MLB experience. I love the kid, but can we wait just a bit before given him the keys to heaven.

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          To use your words: That writing was on the wall even before he pitched those three innings.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          And can’t you wait a bit before you right Joba off as a starter? Pot? Kettle? Black?

          Like Tommie said in the last thread: Kerry Wood was a starter until he was 30. The same patience should be applied to Chamberlain.

          • mustang

            We have a little more then 3 innings to debate on the Joba issue.

            3 innings and you have declare him the replacement for the greatest closer in the history of the game.

            Love the kid need to see a little more then 3 innings.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              Yeah, I would, too. But that’s the job he’s being groomed for and what he’s probably best suited for. It’s obviously not going to happen over night, just like Joba won’t be David Cone or Roger Clemens pt. 2 over night, but Melancon is the best suited and best prepared for taking over the closer’s role.

              • Chris C.

                “but Melancon is the best suited and best prepared for taking over the closer’s role.”

                I don’t understand how people claim to know this stuff for sure. I really don’t.
                You know all about Melancon’s preparation, compared to that of other power arms in the organization?

      • JohnnyC

        Mostly because…no one cares about the Royals. But, you’re right, this over-reaction to the bullpen is a real fetish for the MSM and Yankee-haters everywhere. By the end of the season, the Yankees will have one of the best bullpens in the league.

      • Chris

        I read somewhere that Soria used to be a starter (I think he came from the Mexican leagues) and actually threw a perfect game as a starter. The fact that he has not been tried as a starter at the major (or minor) league level is a sign of the Royals poor baseball judgment.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          They keep debating it but won’t pull the trigger… probably out of fear of alienating the dumber fringes of their fanbase (or possibly because the dumber fringes of their fanbase are actually the core of their fanbase.)

          Kansas Citians just don’t taste success all that frequently, so they latch on dogmatically to what they have and try to claim victory there. Like we say about Joba, you can “see” Soria perform well now in this small, unimportant role, so Royals fans would possibly rather be proud of having one of the best closers than having merely a good young emerging starter.

          As a parallel: Argue with a Cheifs fan about the relative importance or unimportance of Tony Gonzalez. Go ahead, try it.

          • V

            I grew up in the suburbs of KC, and you’re right (Cards’ fan, growing up, though). Cards by birth, Yankees by marriage ;-)

            And I’m a Chiefs (and Giants) fan, and Tony G WILL be missed – the team doesn’t thrill me one bit. :-(

        • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

          +1.

      • tim randle

        ok, lets end both of these tangents:
        CC
        AJ
        Phranchise
        Wang
        Greinke

        Melancon/Bruney to the 7th
        Joba to the 8th
        Mo be praised

        Tomko/Albaladejo/Robertson make 12

        Marte given to KC as a gesture of hope and change.

  • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

    I’m still so pumped after yesterday’s game finally seeing Phil pitch up to his talent. So the one thing I didn’t want to read is the old “but what about the 8th inning???” debate again. The Yankees have so many pitchers in the minors that could become relievers in the next 1-2 years, there NO NEED whatsoever to discuss sending maybe the two best SP prospects the organization has produced in the last ten years to the bullpen. (I said maybe because of Wang) Just because many beatwriters have no idea who these guys are, doesn’t mean the front office should put the developement of Joba and Phil in jeopardy with letting them pitch out of the pen.

    With Joba, we have seen he can excel as a set-up man, but nobody has an idea if would be working with Phranchise. (I don’t want Joba in the pen, of course, but at least, we know he COULD do it)

    I don’t care what happens when Wang comes, why not decide when that day comes in a month or so.

    • Reggie C.

      I agree with the sentiment that Joba in the ‘pen makes more sense right now than Hughes in that role. I also agree that I don’t want Joba getting that demotion. Imo, its a demotion for a 24 year old SP with his plus arsenal getting told he’s a bullpen guy.

      Phil has got the arm strength right now to go 6 innings in 100 pitches. There’s no point in moving that to the ‘pen, especially since he doesn’t have the gitty-up on the FB.

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        Yeah, it maken no sense at all to send Joba to the pen, and it makes even less sense with Phil.

        And it would not only be a demotion for Joba, it would also have a financial effect. He would be paid less as a reliever and if he becomes a free agent, some team would offer him a chance to start, so you can say goodbye to him.

        There’s a also a finacial effect for the Yankees, as filling his spot via the free agent market will be way more expensive than re-signing Joba.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Like I said in the previous thread:

          The rest of Joba and Phil’s careers as starters >>>>>>>>>>>>> the composition of the 2009 Yankee bullpen

          • tim randle

            JOBA TO THE 4TH (starters slot)

            BUT…somebody up there that Phil doesnt have the ‘giddyup’ and I think, more importantly, he doesnt have the ‘instant on’ mindset…to me he ACTS like a starter…calmer, willing to work around, playing the game.

            Joba ACTS like a closer (joba to the 8th logic fail i know). The fist pump is a physical manisfestation of his adrenaline, passion and attitude.

            So if you stuck me in a small box with a spider, I would pick Joba over Phil to the non-starter.

            Since we haven’t seen 5 quality starts in a row, i think arguing about it is a tad premature, so the continued exercise of tactical patience is key.

            How many pitchers are we carrying right now???

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I’m sorry, Tim, but all of this is batshit insane.

              Mentalities and attitudes and mindsets… nope. You’re not convicing me with that crap.

              So if you stuck me in a small box with a spider, I would pick Joba over Phil to the non-starter.

              The only way this is justifiable is if you truly believe that Phil is a better starter than Joba. Whatever happens in the closer/setup role is immaterial. The only question is always “Which pitcher is the best player that we can put in this vastly more important role?”

  • Kilgore Trout

    Hughes in the pen sounds like fascist bs. Hughes did look great last night, but has he always landed his lead foot towards the 3rd base duggout? I never noticed that before.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Ok I just have to ask… How is Hughes to the pen “fascist?” We really need to put the kibosh on the poor use of political labels.

      • Kilgore Trout

        Both are rediculous.
        But seriously. Do you think Hughes is intentionally landing his foot towards the dugout, then quickly sliding it towards the plate? I didn’t notice this last year or in 07.

      • Ed

        It’s fascist because this site clearly pushes a socialist agenda. If you disagree, clearly you are fascist.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Hughes in the pen sounds like fascist bs.

      LET’S HAVE A TEABAGGING PARTY!!! WHOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

    Are we gonna have P-Jobbers now?

    • A.D.

      Probably.

      Why not IPK to the pen???

      • Acquiescent Axl

        Because IPK is an American-Right Handed version of Kei Igawa

      • Acquiescent Axl

        Which leads us to…why not Kei Igawa to the pen??

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          He is the left-handed Kyle Farnsworth, just without reaching the high-90s on his fastball.

          • Acquiescent Axl

            Exactly. I was being facetious…

            • tim randle

              i thought we just said no more fascism???

              How about IPK/Kei/Marte to KC for Greinke?

      • ledavidisrael

        Tampa bay has control artist in their bullpen! And he is often injured! less of a work load might be better!

  • Reggie C.

    I really hope Melancon can match Bruney’s success. That would definitely cool the talk down of moving Joba to the ‘pen. Robertson is also key. Robertson’s got to realize that there’s nothing left to prove in the minors. He’s got to get his competitive juices flowing and be determined not to get overshadowed by Melancon.

    If Melancon stays sharp during Bruney’s DL time, it’d be a big lift. IF Robertson matched Melancon, the negative talk about our ‘pen will die a hard death.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Robertson’s got to realize that there’s nothing left to prove in the minors.

      Don’t you mean:

      “The Yankee braintrust has got to realize that there’s nothing left for Robertson to prove in the minors.”

      Furthermore, there’s nothing that D-Rob is doing wrong or right that causes him to be on the Scranton shuttle, he’s just stuck behind other guys who can’t be sent down in a numbers crunch.

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

    Ben, are you sure this wasn’t a beer?

  • El Generalissimo

    Let’s just say screw it and go completely unconventional and do what the writers want.

    Mo- 9th
    Joba- 8th
    Bruney- 7th
    Melancon- 6th (because the 6th inning is more important then the 5th.)
    Hughes- 5th (because you clearly need a 5th inning guy)
    Pettite- 4th
    Wang- 3rd
    Aj- 2nd
    CC- 1st

    If we roll out this combination everyday we have all the innings covered. CC to get off to a good start, then clearly the 2-7 (throw away innings) and then Joba and Mo. Pitch Robertson and Coke if one of our 1 inning guys is having a bad day.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      Why A.J. in the second? As common sense tells us, the second inning is by far the least important inning in the game, because that’s when A-Rod hits all his homeruns.

  • Acquiescent Axl

    This writer doesn’t even believe this malarky. He just understands that writing ANY nonsense what-so-ever about the Yankees – sells. Especially wild irrational ideas that don’t make any sense. So that’s exactly what he did.

    I don’t think Hughes was one of the top prospects in the game because he had potential at middle relief. Hey, maybe the Red Sox should have done that with Clay Buchholz last year to take Timlins spot in the bullpen. Nobody ever writes any foolish stuff about any team but the Yankees it seems.

    And what happens if Sabathia opts out after 3 years? We’ll have one less great pitcher…but at least we’ll have that mop up innings eater Phil Hughes to come in and relieve whichever bust we may end up replacing him with…

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      No one said they should make him a permanent middle reliever. Plenty of teams break big prospects in as swingmen.

      • Chris C.

        Yeah, when they stink. Not after they just tossed a shut-out as a starter.

        Let’s see what Hughes does in his next few starts before deciding that he should mop-up for a bunch of guys who’s era’s are not very healthy.

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          Yeah, Johan Santana, Liriano, Billingsley, those guys stink.

          • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

            Now, if they were in the 8th……

          • Ed

            Johan did stink when he was in the bullpen. He clearly needed more time in the minors, but because was a Rule 5 draft pick he couldn’t be sent down. Instead he was hidden in the bullpen.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Santana as a swingman in 2002 and 2003, ERA’s of 2.99 and 3.07.

              • Ed

                Johan in 2000 – 6.49 ERA, 1.814 WHIP
                2001 – 4.74 ERA, 1.511 WHIP

                2000 and 2001 were about him sucking. 2002 and 2003 were about him building back up his arm strength after not pitching a lot the past few years.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    I just want to point out that Pinto is an excellent writer, someone who is extremely well regarded in the sabermetric community. This idea running through the thread that this is a MSM grab for readers that we have to ignore is pretty harsh for an unpaid blogger just tossing an idea out there.

    • jsbrendog

      i alomst interpreted his pov as sarcasm…

    • Acquiescent Axl

      Excellent writers still need to meet quotas perhaps. It’s nice writing about statistics and sabermetrics, etc…but not everybody knows that much about it outside of diehard fans. Throwing nonsense around that embarrass and deface the greatest franchise in the history of sports sells more. Hating the the Yankees sells. That’s why every paper tries to get as much dirt on them as possible. Not because they necessarily have some strange vendetta against them. But because it sells! Loving the Red Sox also sells…which is why nothing bad is ever said or blown out of proportion with them. The Boston writers love them and protect them. New York writers aren’t anywhere near the same. They’ll stab a Yankee in the back to sell some extra mags or papers in no time.

      Unfortunately that’s one of the misfortunes of living in New York City…

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        And I’m trying to tell you that Pinto is not selling anything. I’ve never read one post from him that made me think he was just trying to start trouble to get readers, and Ive read his blog every single day for the last two years. If you read his post below, you will see that his idea, while I disagree with it, is well conceived and has some merit.

        • Acquiescent Axl

          While I respect and idolize his profession…that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to agree with everything he says.

          Hughes is 22 years old. If all of our starters are doing well then keep him down in AAA. Why would we need a long reliever if all of our starters were doing well in the first place??

          Buchholz is 2 years older than Hughes and he’s down in AAA right now because their starters (at the moment) are all doing fine. In fact, they went out and gambled on 2 more starters to join their rotation…with a 24-25 year old Buchholz awaiting his arrival.

          He’s 22! Leave him alone! If a starter can’t pitch? Kick him out for Hughes…if they can? Keep Hughes down below. Not a big deal.

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            No one said you have to agree. As I said, I disagree with him. But I think this idea of ripping him and saying that he is just grasping for readers is silly, and that is what I objected to. I think that we have become so used to the Joba argument that we have just begun to reflexively dismiss any ideas that do not fit with our own thoughts about the team as idiocy. If someone disagrees with a cogent argument, why just dismiss it? then we end up with a forum where we just agree with each other.

  • http://www.baseballmusings.com David Pinto

    Hughes is coming off a season in which he didn’t pitch that much. Therefore, the Yankees should limit his innings. The way to do that is in a swing man role. Rather than let a starter get hammered for 8 runs in two innings because you don’t want to go to the bullpen, why not bring in a long reliever who can actually pitch and let your 5.65 runs per game offense catch up? Great starters have picked up experience in the bullpen before.

    If the Yankees get all five of their starters hitting on all cylinders, then Hughes is stuck in AAA all year starting. That’s fine. If Wang needs to rehab for a month, Hughes starts in the majors, and that’s fine. If Wang comes back, however, and the starters remain good but unpredictable, than Hughes in the bullpen makes the Yankees stronger and gives him a better challenge than AAA.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      “Rather than let a starter get hammered for 8 runs in two innings”

      My problem with this thinking: Do you take out your starter everytime there is even the possibility of that happening. Say CC allows 3 runs in the first and starts the second with the first two batters getting on base. Would you take him out right there? He is a good enough pitcher to get out of such a jam and give you a quality start. And so is every other starter on the team. If he gives up a 3-run-shot to the next batter, then we are talking, but the damage will be done already.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      The only problem is that swingmen almost never exceed 120-130 innings, and that is lower than the Yankees want him to get.

    • V

      Because starting the 3rd inning down 8-0 is a useless role for someone who can put up 6 zeroes to start the game, instead.

    • Ace

      “…and the starters remain good but unpredictable…”

      You could say that about any pitcher in MLB. Who exactly is predictable?

      • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

        Every starter on the Mets not named Santana. They suck.

        • Ace

          I know you’re being facetious but Maine did look good his last time out.

      • Chris

        Livan Hernandez and Sidney Ponson are predictable.

        • Ace

          Ponson who went 8 inn, 3 earned in his last start.

    • Acquiescent Axl

      Buchholz is like 2 or 3 years older and he’s down in AAA right now. I don’t see what the big deal is. This way, if Wang falters again…you bring him up to take his place like Buchholz will eventually for Penny.

      Hughes will be fine. I don’t understand this logic where he’s “better off” in the pen. He’s better off as a starter. If he can’t start because the rest of our starters are doing well?? Keep him in AAA!! He’s 22!!! If our starters are all doing well…why does he need to be in the pen in the first place?!???

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’m proud of you, Axl.

  • Ace

    Hughes goes back to the minors if everyone is healthy and Wang regains his form, correct?

    • V

      Yes.

      • V

        And hopefully, hopefully, that is the case.

    • YankeeScribe

      I have a feeling that he won’t be going back to Scranton this time

  • KW

    It’s not that crazy an idea, there are plenty of examples of young pitchers starting out in the bullpen and moving to the rotation. Joba, Billingsley, Greinke come to mind.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

      Neither of those guys started out in the bullpen in MLB.

      Greinke specifically had two MLB seasons of starting under his belt when they moved him into the bullpen. He was moved there because he was having some non-baseball issues that affected how he was doing at baseball. He lost his place in the rotation and was moved back later.

      The reason this whole PUT X IN THE BULLPEN stuff has started is because Joba, unlike those two, came up and relieved right away and so in their heads he is the dominant reliever first.

      Using a young guy as a swingman or out of the bullpen is not a bad idea and there is precedent but it’s simply being taken too far.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        Billingsley did.

        • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

          No he didn’t, he came up in 2006 and started.

          • KW

            you’re splitting hairs. he was moved to the pen to perhaps preserve some innings in 07, which is what the author is proposing. It’s just not that outlandish.

            • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

              I didn’t say it was, and I don’t think it would be an issue if there was a need for it to happen. The Billingsley/Liriano model was what they were going for with Joba last year and it was a good idea. If he hadn’t got that shoulder tweak it would have worked out exactly as the team was hoping.

              The problem, and the reason everyone is getting their panties in a bunch now, is that X TO THE BULLPEN is being thrown out when it’s no longer reasonable and for the wrong reasons. You can’t open up an RSS feed for a paper or turn on baseball related programming on ESPN and not hear about it.

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            And then moved to the bullpen. Phil also came up and then started. I fail to see the distinction- they moved him to the pen to start 2007, and switched in late June when Schmidt went down.

      • KW

        Greinke didnt, but he struggled and moved to the pen. Billingsley definitely did. It’s a valid model and hey, it worked in the past. That’s not saying this is the right thing to do, but let’s not get our panties all up in a bunch.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Santana as well.

      • KW

        Forgot him, danke!

      • A.D.

        Liriano too.

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

        Oswalt & Carlos Zambrano too. Lots and lots of pitchers have done it.

        • B.George

          Zack Grienke is not human…hes a machine

    • Rick in Boston

      Greinke was a starter when he came up, only went to the ‘pen after he came back from his issues when they were trying to get his innings back up and I believe he was out of options. Billingsly and Joba are different – they were trying to save innings while still developing them. Hughes needs to get innings up by starting. Whether it’s New York or Scranton, Hughes just needs to be left alone.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        Billingsley pitched 160 innings in 2006 between majors and minors, and could have gone to 190-200. Instead he began the year in the pen and finished with 147.

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

    Just paint up David Robertson to look like Hughes, and say it’s done. Nobody will notice the difference because they’ll just be staring at that curveball.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      I like the way you’re thinking.

  • ledavidisrael

    How is dude suppose to polish that change up in a situation where he throws less innings???

  • Chris

    Watching the game last night, I counted 6 distinct pitches from Hughes: 4-seamer, 2-seamer, cutter, slider, curve, changeup.

    This brings up 2 questions:

    1. Why would you put someone with that large a repertoire in the pen where he can’t use it?

    2. Did Molina grow an extra finger to help call all those pitches?

  • Chris

    Last night, Hughes wasn’t wearing glasses. Did he get contacts since last season?

    • Mike HC

      I hear PED’s improve your vision aswell …

      kidding – although hughes has a velocity bump and more break on the curve … hmmmmmm – – I hope he keeps doing whatever he is doing

      • Whozat

        He’s throwing it harder, so it’s a different pitch than his looping curve.

  • Mike HC

    The Yankees definitely have a very interesting decision to make. I don’t think the right decision is to send down Phil Hughes. This guy is the future, untouchable, he looks great out there, and the Yanks don’t have room for him? I mean, make room. Wang has been awful, was hurt much of last year, and has not performed in the playoffs. Why do the Yanks owe him his rotation spot back? Put him the pen, and wait to see if one of our current starters falters. If they are going to be brutally honest with themselves, the answer could be decided for them by tonight. If Joba struggles again, why not send him down to the minors to get the kinks worked out? Would that be such a terrible move? (Hopefully Joba rips it up and it is not an issue, but you never know)

    • Mike HC

      One more note … Cashman has basically put most of his GMing chips into this guys basket by not pulling the trigger on the Johan trade. I’m sure he is not the only one involved in the decision making here, but don’t you guys think he will look to be vindicated as soon as possible. It is just human. I think Hughes will have his next start in the majors.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        I think Hughes will have his next start in the majors.

        Considering that Wang’s not eligible to come off the DL for about 10 days, that’s not really going out on a limb.

        • Mike HC

          hahahaha … my bad. This conversation is a little premature then. Lets see how he pitches in his next start, and then we can start with all the conjecture. As of right now though, I believe Hughes should stay (which apparently is a non decision at this point) … Phil Hughes was interview on ESPN baseball tonight last night, and when asked if the Yanks gave him any indication where his next start will be, he answered that they just told him to keep working hard and he was not given any specific information. I dont know?

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

            That is a fairly dumb question from an ESPN reporter. Why am I not surprised.

    • Jeff Koch

      Interesting decisions indeed. Between Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy, i think the yankees will have somethign down the road. Kennedy is getting teh work he needs at developing his pitches. Hughes is achieving much better results as a result of a cutter he used last night. That’s what pitching in Triple-A with a good pitching coach can get you. Here are my thoughts:

      Kennedy – Keep developing at Triple-A. He’s young and will get his shot and if he’s forced out of the Yankees future, I’m sure his results will only increase his trade value.

      Chamberlain – Ideally, I’d like to see him continue at the major league level, but from what i’ve heard, his mechanics had been reworked with Eiland to reduce the risk of another shoulder injury. This is the cause for his reduction ins velocity. I think, the best place for him while he develops with teh new mechanics is at Triple-A IF Hughes continues to be dominate in the Majors. At AAA, Chamberlain would be able to continue to refine his craft as a starter, including more work on his pitches. Remember, he was only in professional ball for less than a year before his callup, so I’m sure development would only help. look at Clay Buchholz, the guy threw a no hitter and is a PawSox. He’s refining his craft for the future and if Hughes is ready, why not promote him and let Joba develop in less stressful innings.

      Hughes – I guess you got my result if you demote Chamberlain. Its worth a thought especially if Hughes puts up ridiculous numbers over the next couple starts. Then again, he could get smacked and everyone will turn on him. I think people don’t realize developing pitchers result in them getting smacked around a little bit at the major league level.

      • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

        No, most rational people do. It’s those fans who can’t wait.

        WHY THE FUCK IS MY….continued

        Also, those damn B-Jobbers. Joba could throw 4 straight games where he goes 7 and allows 2 runs each time but if that 5th start is a 5 inning 4 run outing. TO TEH PEN!!1!!!!

      • Bob Stone

        I agree. This is the most intelligent comment I have read here today.

        • Jeff Koch

          Exactly. It has noting to do with being good or not; it’s developing to lower the walk and have better control to be an ace in the staff. If there wasn’t a viable option, I’d say continue status quo. I just feel they hae Chamberlain in teh rotation out of necessity and would rather develop him in the minors.

          • Jeff Koch

            But you need to see if Hughes stays consistent first to be that viable option.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      If Joba struggles again, why not send him down to the minors to get the kinks worked out? Would that be such a terrible move?

      CMW in three starts pitched 6 innings and put up a 34.50 ERA. Thus, they sent him down to the minors to get the kinks worked out.

      Joba, in three starts, pitched 16 innings and put up a 3.94 ERA. In his most recent start he went 5.1 innings and allowed only one earned run.

      Why the hell are we talking about sending him down? What kinks are so dramatic that letting him pitch in the big leagues is a disaster?

      • Mike HC

        They did not send Wang down to the minors because he was out of options. All I am saying is that a decision has to be made. Wang either basically has to be on the team, or with another team. They can only make up injuries for so long. This is all under the assumption that he can get his act together. If he can’t, then the decision is easy. But if he can, the Yanks have to do something. Why is it crazy to think maybe Joba is better off in the minors than Hughes? I thought these guys were both considered the same level prospect.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          You’re missing the point.

          The point is not the technicality of how Wang was sent down (option or DL) vs. how Joba would be sent down.

          The point is there’s no need to send Joba down because he’s been solid (albeit unspectacular). Wang was a traveshamockery.

          I’m not sending Joba down to “work on any kinks” when he’s currently got a 120 ERA+. That’s ludicrous. Joba’s fine. He remains in the rotation.

          • Mike HC

            I agree with you to a certain extent. My question to you then is, if Wang gets right, what should the Yanks do with their 6 starters?? Do you think Hughes should be sent down again? If he continues to pitch well, the question i am raising, why should Hughes be the automatic choice to be sent back down? Both Hughes and Joba are in about the same point of their careers.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              My question to you then is, if Wang gets right, what should the Yanks do with their 6 starters?? Do you think Hughes should be sent down again?

              Yes.

              If he continues to pitch well, the question i am raising, why should Hughes be the automatic choice to be sent back down?

              Because Joba is better than him and won the job based on a larger track record of big league success. He gives us the best chance to win day in and day out, and has a higher ceiling. This buys him the benefit of the doubt.

              Both Hughes and Joba are in about the same point of their careers.

              But Joba is universally regarded as the better prospect. If you had to give up one of them, right now, today, this second, for nothing, you’d give up Hughes and keep Joba. That’s why Hughes goes down.

              Furthermore, the fact that he’s already used an option year and Joba hasn’t makes it a no-brainer. No sense burning an option for Joba unnecessarily.

              Come June, if Joba’s actually struggling (he’s not now) and Hughes is still lights out, then maybe you consider flipping them. Not now.

              • Mike HC

                That is definitely a fair point. You may very well be right, but it is so hard to judge these guys year to year when their stuff is so different seemingly every year. Last year Joba was a different pitcher than this year. Phil Hughes also looks completely different than last year. One looks better than last year, the other looks worse than last year. Both are great young pitchers and the sample size from this year is extremely small. I thought the obvious answer was Joba is far superior, but after the beginning of this year, maybe I should have a more open mind. Hughes sure did look good, and his numbers in the minors were excellent. It is very tough to judge these guys when their stuff is constantly changing. But that is just the nature of the beast I guess.

              • Chris C.

                Because Joba is better than him and won the job based on a larger track record of big league success.

                Oh, give me a break!! What the hell are Joba’s big league starter numbes that makes him so clear-cut better than Phil Hughes?? You’re acting like he has a Cy Young season under his belt.
                He won the job based on the fact that Hughes was injured last season.

                “He gives us the best chance to win day in and day out, and has a higher ceiling.”

                So if Hughes is pitching better than Chamberlain as a starter, then it’s Chamberlain who’s giving the Yankees the best chance to win, day in and out?? That’s really bizarre.

                “But Joba is universally regarded as the better prospect.”

                Largely aided by his work as Mariano’s SET-UP MAN, not as a starter.

                “If you had to give up one of them, right now, today, this second, for nothing, you’d give up Hughes and keep Joba”

                That has no meaning to it, and you know it.

                “No sense burning an option for Joba unnecessarily.”

                So if Hughes is lights out, you’d send him down even if he was better than 4 of the 5 other starters? I’d be real interested to see what Girardi’s opinion is on that, being that he will be permanantly banished from the Bronx if the Yankees miss the playoffs again this season.

                “Come June, if Joba’s actually struggling (he’s not now) and Hughes is still lights out, then maybe you consider flipping them. Not now.”

                I think that was the entire point. I don’t think anyone was suggesting keeping Hughes in the rotation over Joba if he isn’t pitching better.
                But don’t hand us this nonsense about Joba’s track record as a starter. It is still all hype. He hasn’t done anything as a starter over the course of a season to receive that type of ass-kissing. Let’s see what he does with 30 major league starts in a 6 month period.

          • MattB

            I’m not suggesting that Joba goes anywhere neither to the pen nor to AAA. But aside from the 120+ ERA, his peripherals are ugly:

            1.813 WHIP
            5.6 BB/9
            6.2 K/9
            1.10 K/BB
            Opponents are hitting .306/.421/.516 off him
            He’s also hit 3 batters

            I’m not going to go into a panic over 3 starts and 16 innings. But all those rates a significantly worse that what he did as a starter last year. He hasn’t looked sharp thus far. His velocity appears to be down and his control is off. He was helped tremendously by all the DPs Friday night.

            I’m not advociating that anything be done with him, but I think he’s been more lucky than good in his 3 starts.

            • Jeff Koch

              With work in the minors, he can work on control and strengthening the shoulder that they are cautious of. I’m not saying he’s terrible, i’m saying that by starting in the mionrs, with a viable option in Hughes, you don’t have to stress Joba out this early in his professional career. The key here is a viable option exists to explore if you think Chamberlain would be beeter served by working on the tweaks in his mechanics in a less stressful environment instead of developing and improving on teh tweaks on the major league roster.

      • Chris

        He didn’t pitch the 8th. That’s the only criteria that matters for Joba.

        • Mike HC

          I agree.

  • MattB

    I’m in full agreement that neither Joba nor Hughes should be a relief pitcher. I don’t even think that’s up for debate here. However, I am curious to see what exactly the rest of 2009 will hold for these two.

    There’s a very good chance Wang returns to form. If that happens and barring any injuries, I think it’s a given that CC, AJ, Wang, and Pettitte remain 80% of the rotation.

    I think it’s critical that both Joba and Hughes hit their innings caps this year. Sooner or later the organization is going to need to count on these guys for 200 IP each a year. The only way to accomplish that safely is to make sure they hit their 150 or so this year, and the next and so on.

    But, if Hughes can consistently pitch as well or close to as well as he did last night, I don’t think there’s any sense in burying him at Scranton. It doesn’t help him and it doesn’t help the team.

    So what do they do? I don’t see anyway they go to a 6 man rotation. Does one become a long man? Do they alternate starts? Do they do a 4 inning tag team thing as they’ve done in Spring Training?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Nope.

      Hughes just goes back to Scranton and waits for 2010. Or the playoffs. If he’s lights out, I’m good with putting him on the playoff roster, he’ll be useful.

  • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

    I’d rather let Wang work out his kinks while he is on the dl and then let him make some appearances out of the pen before doing this. As said in this thread, Santana, Liriano, and others did it but I just don’t like the idea. Just like I didn’t like the idea of putting Joba in the pen to start out with but no biggy. As long as the Yankees stay faithful in both Joba and Phil as 2 fixtures in the starting rotation for the rest of their Yankees careers, I’ll be happy. If Joba goes to the pen, I’ll be as sick as fuck. Cause the B-Jbbers would rejoice and sucka got no juice was right. I doubt this happens.

    Question – Does Joba go to the pen for the playoffs? I want to say no but with the innings limit and all, you tell me.

    • Mike HC

      I think that it is a long season, and there is plenty of time left for that to play itself out. The decision may be easy by that point.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

    I thought it was common practice for starters to be first put in the bullpen and stretched out. The Twins routinely do this with thier young starters(Santana, Lirano)

  • Clayton

    It is not irrational to think keeping Phil in the bullpen could help the team and his development. He needs more time against ML hitters and the swingman role would allow him to pitch against top competition.

    He may be able to hit about 150 innings if the Yankees FO takes the right steps. Before the season, AJ was considered a DL trip waiting to happen and Joba is on an innings limit. This should be able to get him ~10 spot starts not including any other players trips to the DL and random times (doubleheaders, etc.). Also, he could be piggy backed with some starters like Wang (when he gets back) and Joba to get him 2-3 inning stints twice a week. He would also have the chance to work with Eiland on a daily basis and the two are considered to have a good relationship.

    Also, it would save one of his options because he willed be called up at some point again this year if he is sent down.

    Its an idea that can make sense depending on how the season breaks and I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      He needs more time against ML hitters and the swingman role would allow him to pitch against top competition.

      What he needs primarily is innings. If he toggles between Scranton and the Bronx but still starts basically every 5th day, he gets innings. More innings than he’d get being a situational guy out of the bullpen with the big league club.

      He may be able to hit about 150 innings if the Yankees FO takes the right steps.

      I have yet to see a scenario where this is possible with him in a non-starting role. Your above scenario doesn’t cut it. Also, Phil’s IP goal for this year was 180, not 150.

      Also, it would save one of his options because he willed be called up at some point again this year if he is sent down.

      He’s already used the option year this year. Doesn’t matter how many times he goes up or down anymore. We can pass him around like a blunt.

      • Ed

        I have yet to see a scenario where this is possible with him in a non-starting role. Your above scenario doesn’t cut it. Also, Phil’s IP goal for this year was 180, not 150.

        That doesn’t sound right. Hughes pitched about 70 regular season innings last year between the majors and the minors. Toss in the minor league playoffs and winter ball and he can’t be much past 100. He did pitch 146 innings in 2006, but I don’t think he’s hit 120 since then, so it feels like a big jump.

      • Clayton

        I agree with the basic points against this, but I am saying that a longer looks needs to be taken; it is not something to be decided in April and depends a lot on Wang’s health.

        Scenario: Wang takes longer to recover than the 15 days and the Yanks keep Hughes up for about 4 total starts. Then they shift him to the swingman role making sure he gets about 6-10 innings a week and any spot starts til mid August, about 12 weeks after Wang comes back. Thru August and September get him about 6 more spot starts when Joba hits his innings limit.

        4 starts @ 6 in./start = 24 innings
        12 weeks @ 6-10 in. = 72-120 innings
        6 starts @ 6 in./start = 36 innings

        Thats a minimum of 130 innings and a max of 180 innings without including anytime on the DL for other pitchers. I think it a reasonable scenario depending on the pitching staffs health and in the range of his inning limits.

        • Clayton

          Let me say that I am more disagreeing with the people who are saying this is the dumbest idea ever without providing any rational thought to the idea. It has its merits, but I don’t know in this case until we know what we have with Wang and I do believe the bullpen will right itself on its own.

    • Ed

      An option covers the entire season, not just one trip to the minors. Hughes was already optioned down this year, so he can go back and forth between the majors and minors as many times as necessary without using more options.

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

    One thing we have to remember is that if all three guys are pitching well and deserving of rotation spots, that’s a great situation to be in. Maybe they even shop one in a trade.

    • Rich

      The irony is that if Hughes had not pitched well, there would be people saying that the Yankees need to trade for a starter.

      • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

        The one being shopped better be IPK or Wang and not Joba or Hughes.

  • Rich

    I suspect that this “idea” is a misguided attempt to think outside the box in order to generate debate, but the result is overthinking to the point of absurdity.

    • Mike HC

      “the result is over thinking to the point of absurdity.” – – Debating how the Yanks are going to manage six worthy major league starters is not over thinking. I would hope the organization explores every available option before a decision like this, and it would be absurd NOT to think like this.

  • kavi shah

    Dumbest idea I’ve heard! If you know anything about baseball you don’t do this to Hughes. When Joba was first brought up, the only reason he was sent to the bullpen was because he was out of innings. If he hadn’t been, we wouldn’t have ever known him as a reliever and he would have helped the team as a lights out starter. Hughes needs innings…but this whole thing is a stupid argument from the beginning

    • LiveFromNewYork

      I know Ben is probably just trying to fuel debate but I vote for this as hands down the dumbest post I’ve read on RAB in the 2 plus years I’ve been here.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        How exactly is this one of the dumbest posts on RAB? I’m debating a dumb idea with smart points. If anything, I’d imagine you should be calling Pinto’s idea dumb and not my parry of it.

        • LiveFromNewYork

          Sorry Ben. You’re right. I do think Pinto is dumb and it’s “slam head here” time when I read this stuff. I wasn’t saying you posting it here was dumb but the idea contained within is easily the dumbest thing I’ve read on here esp since you stopped acknowledging the tabloids. To me, this doesn’t even deserve a column.

          But that’s my opinion and obviously you’ve gotten strong sentiment about Pinto as I think you knew you would.

      • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

        Well to look at it different. It’s smarter than Joba going to the pen because Joba will most likely be a better starting pitcher than Phil.

        Of course, I want neither in the pen.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    No one named Hughes OR Chamberlain to the pen.

    My Mo, WHY WASTE THIS TALENT IN THE PEN?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      OH, IF ONLY PHIL HUGHES WAS CHINESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rob in CT

    Until Wang is right, there’s really no point in worrying about this. Between now and the time Wanger is back, a number of things could happen that keep Hughes up in the majors. I don’t expect that to be anytime soon, actually.

    Joba will pitch ~150 innings this season, if healthy. There was always going to be a gap that a 6th starter (hi, Phil!) would need to cover. That’s still gonna be there later in the season. It could be that by the time Wang is back, it’s time to skip Joba a couple of times, with Hughes picking up those starts.

    Another option for limiting Joba’s innings and keeping Phil on a regular schedule would be to set them up as a tandem. One starts, pitches 4-5 innings and the other relieves and tries to finish out the game.

    And of course, another starter could always get hurt.

  • Patrick

    If Wang is healthy, I have no problems with Hughes stepping in to become our Aaron Heilman. Hopefully more effective and less prone to blowing leads, but still, a regular long man to serve as a bridge to Mo.

    • B.George

      you are comparing a 22 yea rold stud who has the potential to become a top of the rotation guy to a guy who was not a very good major leaguer who won ten games by a fluke.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Aaron Heilman is a failed prospect. A possible contribution to this is because the Mets kept yanking him around between the rotation and bullpen.

      I don’t want to Aaron Heilman Phil Hughes, thank you but no.

      • B.George

        lol i have no idea but when I saw Aaron Heilman for some reason Aaron Small popped into my brian

  • Acquiescent Axl

    I have a legitimate question about Joba. Maybe two.

    Are we assuming that his velocity is down due to arm strength issues? I mean what else could it be?

    And also. Doesn’t the whole “innings limit” thing have to be re-assessed if he starts off with low arm strength needing to build it up?? How can you need to build up arm strength after so many innings…build it up…and then have the same innings limit the entire time? Would the innings bump up to add a few more since he wasn’t technically throwing as hard? Just wondering…

    • Jeff Koch

      Are we assuming that his velocity is down due to arm strength issues? I mean what else could it be?

      His mechanics were tweaked after he suffered the shoulrder injury. After the injury Eiland worked with him to throw the ball with better mechanics which in the end will result in better contorl. However, as a result, he will probably loose some of the velocity. Additionally, Burnett has worked with him not to just throw as Burnett did in the past, but to learn to pitch better with command of your pitches. I believe when he is more comfortable and has better control. They did the same with with Hughes and people noticed a dip in velocity as well. In the end, it will prevent future injury.
      And also.

      Doesn’t the whole “innings limit” thing have to be re-assessed if he starts off with low arm strength needing to build it up?? How can you need to build up arm strength after so many innings…build it up…and then have the same innings limit the entire time? Would the innings bump up to add a few more since he wasn’t technically throwing as hard? Just wondering…

      The innings limit is set to increase your workload yearly. A marathon runner doesn’t start by running a marathon. They slowly build up to it and increase strenght and stamina as they approach it. The results of past of just letting guys go out and throw resulted in many injuries and that is where people are trying to be more cautious of their pitchers.

      • Jeff Koch

        Arm strength doesn’t just work on how hard you throw, its the movement of your arm over and over again that will wear at your rotator cuff, stress on ligaments, etc. that you are watching.

  • B.George

    who ever came up with this idea has no brain….no brain at all

  • LiveFromNewYork

    My apologies to Ben and the RAB membership. This post so chapped my ass that I was a bit careless about spewing and it seemed directed at Ben when it was not. The idea of wasting Phil or Joba in the pen is simply mindboggling to me and I lose it when I read it. Sorry.

  • Dominik

    I realize that “cum” is just Latin for “with,” but perhaps the word immediately following “mop up” isn’t the best time to show off your Latin chops. Think of the children.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      And on the 204th comment, someone finally realized what was going through my head as I wrote the post. That took long enough.

      • Jack

        I thought it, but I didn’t want to be the one who said something.

  • Jeremy

    I think the solution to the pen “problem” is clear: Move every pitcher to the pen.

    We would have the most dominant pen EVAR!

    • Jeff Koch

      Yeah!!! It’d make CC the highest paid reliever ever!!!

  • dkidd

    starters are more important than relievers in a vacuum, but i want to win the world series this year. if joba or phil dominating the 7th/8th helps achieve that goal, but sets back their development as starters, i’ll make that trade. i say “if” because it’s too early to say what the team will need, but i’m keeping an open mind

    jeter, posada, damon, matsui are getting old fast. we have a window and i know the vision is building for a string of championships, but let’s get ONE first

    • Jeff Koch

      Yes lets sacrifice the future for an immediate shot of glory. I’d rather have 5+ years of dominace than 1. And beisdes, no one knows if Phil can do relief. It requires a different mentality. Some guys like to know every fifth day is their turn.

      • dkidd

        i disagree that sticking joba or phil into the bullpen automatically equals “sacrificing the future”

        if it’s august and hughes is lights out and wang is dominant and the bullpen stinks and joba is running out of innings, i’m open to using him as a reliever. if for some reason, this would severely retard his development, then of course not. i’m just saying it’s a long season. don’t rule anything out

  • jared

    One small observation in this ongoing debate…Wang is not coming back…he’s finished. Whatever’s happening with him mechanically, mentally whatever…he is broken and I don’t see a realistic return from him this year. Hughes starter… Joba Long relief…period

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      And you know this how exactly?

      • Jeff Koch

        Really? Tell me that ‘s sarcasm cuz if that’s a true thought it’s way off the mark. Wang hadn’t pitched in 8 months, was limited in the offseason, so of course he’d be behind schedule. If you can’t keep the sinker down and don’t have the power to pitch with, of course you’ll get blown up. I say 1 month he’ll be back to the old Wang we know.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      You are an idiot.

      I thought David Pinto was stupid but you, my friend, have him trumped.

  • http://theyankeeblog.com Shamik

    phil as a relief pitcher is stupid. If they do that then why in gods name didn’t they trade him for Johan??

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    “I don’t like the idea of taking a 22-year-old starter and turning him into a glorified mop up-cum-setup man.”

    I agree. I don’t want Phil working as a janitor or stagehand at some sleazy porn film studio.

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