The Joba/Phil switcheroo

Complete interview with Pags, and a look at Dunn
David Robertson shut down, to see James Andrews

Heading into a Monday match-up against the Rays on June 8th, the Yankees were 33-23, clinging to a 0.5-game lead in AL East. That night, Phil Hughes made his first bullpen appearance for the Yankees in a win, and since then, the Yankees have been nearly unstoppable. The Yankees are 56-27 since Phil’s bullpen debut, and Hughes has been, by most accounts, the Yanks’ third best pitcher over the last three months.

We know the dominance; we see it as often as the Yanks use Phil. The numbers though are impressive. In 33 relief appearances, Hughes has thrown 41.2 innings with an ERA of 1.08. He has walked just 11 and has struck out 54. His numbers rival those of Mariano Rivera‘s, and arguably, only CC Sabathia and Mo have been as valuable on the mound as Phil since mid-June.

While Hughes has helped solidified games at the back end of the bullpen, he’s hardly making a huge impact overall. He has thrown 41.2 innings while the Yankees as a whole have pitched 741.2. Hughes’ contributions, then, have come in just over five percent of all of the Yankee innings over the last three months. They are, in a sense, wasting a weapon in the pen.

At this point in the year, the Yankees do not seem inclined to stretch Hughes out into a starter. As they’re doing with Joba Chamberlain, they could be doing with Hughes. They could have him throw 35 pitches and then 50 an then 65 in an effort to build him up to a playoff starter. The Yankees, though, don’t want to mess with a good thing. In a piece making the rounds today, Rob Neyer, though, urges them to do just that. By switching Joba and Phil Hughes, says Neyer, the Yankees would be perfect for the playoffs.

Chamberlain is the Yankees’ No. 4 starter. Sergio Mitre is the Yankees’ No. 5 starter. Which means the Yankees, as things stand now, have only three reliable starters. And again, you need four of them when the leaves are turning in New England.

I know, I know … Phil Hughes has been so good in the bullpen: 1.11 ERA with an overpowering strikeout-to-walk ratio. Make him a starter again and he’s not going to post numbers anything like those. But to help the Yankees, he doesn’t have to be anywhere near that good; he just has to be measurably better than Chamberlain and Mitre. Particularly if — and I know this is highly speculative — Chamberlain regains his dominant stuff upon returning to a relief role.

Perhaps I’m overreacting to Chamberlain’s recent struggles, and the Yankees are good enough to win the World Series even without a decent fourth starter. But the other day somebody asked me what could keep the Yankees from winning. I didn’t have a good answer, because this is essentially a team without a weakness.

Except one. And with a little creativity, they could probably make it zero.

The problem, as Neyer admits, is Joba. There is no guarantee that he’s going to find the missing five miles-per-hour on his fastball in the pen. There is no guarantee that he’s going to rediscover the ability to attack the strike zone and get hitters out while pitching efficiently out of the pen. In fact, Joba’s recent first-inning struggles would suggest just the opposite.

I’d love to see Hughes in the rotation, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it just isn’t going to happen. Joba’s struggles are, hopefully, an isolated incident that comes and goes with the season. A.J. Burnett to attest to the ups and downs of pitching.

There is but one rub to this tale of pitching. Jon Heyman tweeted today: “Those of us who think Joba’s a reliever may get our wish in the AL playoffs, when he may join Mo, Hughes in pen.” There are no sources here and no analysis. Rather, Heyman just reports something seemingly for the sake of creating news.

If there’s a modicum of truth in this Tweet though it’s not impossible to see what the Yankees would do. Tonight, Chad Gaudin pitches with Alfredo Aceves ready at the first sign of trouble. Aceves has essentially become Gaudin’s caddy. He has thrown 32 pitches and then 42 pitches in relief of the Yanks’ recently-acquired right-hander. With a long outing tonight, Aceves could easily take a spot in the rotation in five days and work toward a start in the playoffs. Crazier roster machinations have happened.

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Complete interview with Pags, and a look at Dunn
David Robertson shut down, to see James Andrews
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    There is but one rub to this tale of pitching. Jon Heyman tweeted today: “Those of us who think Joba’s a reliever may get our wish in the AL playoffs, when he may join Mo, Hughes in pen.” There are no sources here and no analysis. Rather, Heyman just reports something seemingly for the sake of creating news.

    Jon Heyman: 1
    Journalistic integrity: 0

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      Dude, the margin is WAY higher than that. Scott Boras Corp. has been doing this since you and I were in diapers.

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      In Heyman’s defense (it feels weird to say that) it’s not like he was claiming to have sources or anything and it’s not like he wrote an article in SI based on some made-up premise. It’s his opinion, a throw-away line. He didn’t “report” anything (per Ben’s language above), he posted to twitter a throw-away line about something he thinks might happen. As for the substance of what he said… Yeah, we might see Joba in the ‘pen in the playoffs. I don’t think any of us would be so shocked by that possibility actually happening. I’m not sure why that twit or tweet or whatever is so controversial.

      • Chris

        If the Yankees take the longer ALDS, and thus only need 3 starters for the 5 games series, then it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that Joba would be in the pen for that series.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      sorry, but i’m going to disqualify that last score–anything sent by twitter fails to qualify as journalism.

      if its not in the NYT–all the news that’s fit to print (and fish too)–it doesnt count.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    If Joba and Hughes are both in the bullpen int he same time I will kill a small child each day they are both in it.

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

      Particularly if they’re in it so we can give playoff starts to Al Aceves.

      I’m sorry, but that’s batshit insane. I’m an Al Aceves fan, I love his stuff and his game, but stretching out Al Aceves so we can put Joba in the pen and give a Game 4 start to Alf is B-A-T-S-H-I-T I-N-S-A-N-E.

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

        To be fair to Heyman, the Aceves part is my speculation as to how Jon Heyman could be right. There’s a snowman’s chance in hell that Sergio Mitre gets the ball for game 4 of the ALCS.

        • http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/07/23/alg_burnett.jpg Mike Pop

          Why not Chad Gaudin for the 4th starter? Dude’s been a beast in the postseason. SSS FTW!

          http://www.baseball-reference......postseason

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

          No, I got you and understood what you were saying, and you’re right.

          If, IF we were to move Joba to the pen, Aceves would be stretched out to take his spot in the rotation, because having Aceves inherit Joba’s playoff starts is clearly the least dumb alternative of the three (the other two being Gaudin and Mitre).

          But it’s the least dumb alternative in the same way that Bobby Jindal is the least dumb alternative amongst the choices of Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and Mark Sanford for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. You should be bitchslapped and punched in the nuts for even thinking of one of those choices, because you’d be a massive idiot for ever thinking that this should be a line of thought you even entertain as a potentially desirable solution to a problem that isn’t even a real problem.

          • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            We bitch out people who come around here with their wingnut teabagging assbaggery, we shouldn’t do the same.

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

              Meh, I feel confident in saying that non-wingnut Republicans wouldn’t have a problem with me using Jindal, Palin, and Sanford as analogous to three horrible ideas.

              But, if I’ve offended anyone with my political comment, I’m sorry. Not trying to start an off-topic deal, just making an analogy.

              • The Three Amigos

                I will back you up on this as an alienated republican

              • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                I know, sorry to be a killjoy. I just think it’s best for everyone if we all just abstain from engaging in that stuff.

                • The Three Amigos

                  You are definitely correct on that one.

          • Lou Fan 260

            We can just vote for Obama and enjoy his appointment of Communists and his love of spending money. Socialism baby.

            • jsbrendog

              \ig’nant’d

              • Lou Fan 260

                Yeah- Ignorant- I am a CPA/Tax attorney and I read- if your an Obama supporter you are certainly not. No way you can justify governing the way he does.

                • jsbrendog

                  i’m sorry but i cannot respond because since I cannot read i have no idea what you said.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  OMG. Seriously. Everyone needs to stop with the f*cking political stuff. This is not the appropriate forum.

            • Former RAB Lurker

              Nazi communists. They’re all Nazi fascist socialist communists, just like him.

              /sarcasm

              • Lou Fan 260

                Do any of you posters live in the real world with real non-union jobs? Do you think we can sustain this debt? I am an anti-Bush guy. Anti-war. I liked Clinton on domestic issues. You can not like both Clinton who balanced the budget and this guy.

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

                  You’re so getting ignored from now on. Have fun having a convo by yourself.

                  Mondesi, I apologize to you for bringing this guy out of the woodwork.

                • jsbrendog

                  THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!11!!1!!!!1!

                • Marcus

                  I am a pro-Yankees guy. I heard that Damon Oppenheimer balanced the draft budget this year.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  It’s unavoidable. It’s also really unfortunate, it closes off an entire area of conversation and humor.

                • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

                  Baseball Czar job is open…

                  2 other pluses:

                  The Yanks like guys named Damon.
                  The govt likes people named Oppenheimer.
                  This kook likes balanced budgets.

                  win-win-win!

  • Drew

    In 3 months of bullpen work, Phil has pitched 42 innings.

    If you extrapolate that shit over the course of a season, that’s 84 innings. Which is a high number for any reliever.

    Saying we’re wasting a weapon isn’t exactly how I’d describe it. Mo has only pitched 32 innings in that same time frame.

    http://www.baseball-reference......g_gamelogs

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

      Mariano is a 39-year-old closer coming off of shoulder surgery who hasn’t made a start since 1995. Phil Hughes is a 23-year-old who isn’t going to approach the innings he needs to pitch this year and made a start as recently as May 31. You’re comparing apples to oranges, and you’re basing it on the assumption that the only important innings Hughes can pitch are those bullpen innings.

      • Drew

        I am 100 million percent in favor of Hughes as a starter going forward.

        You really want to put him there now though? He may not even get a start in October.

        My point was, I think we’re doing the best we can with what we have now. If he was in the pen for the whole year he’d be one of the most worked bullpen arms in the game. I just feel “waste” isn’t an accurate depiction of his usage at this point in the season.

      • Chris

        Considering that Hughes has been more valuable per month as a reliever than as a starter this year, it’s hard to say they’re wasting a weapon. He started for one month and was worth 2.1 RAR. He has now relieved for 3+ months and has been worth roughly 5.5 RAR per month. Unless you assume that he would have significantly improved his performance as a starter, then he’s certainly not being wasted in the pen.

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

      If Mariano Rivera were able to throw 200+ innings in a season, he would be throwing 200+ innings in a season.

      Mo is an awesome bullpen weapon for two reasons: 1) He’s the balls; 2) He can’t be a starter.

      Phil is also the balls. Reason #2 does not apply, hence, he’s being wasted.

      • Drew

        See above.

      • AndrewYF

        If he stays in the bullpen AFTER THIS YEAR, yes, he’s being wasted.

        But he’s not being wasted now. And he won’t be wasted in the playoffs this year.

    • A.D.

      His early BP innings were long outings as a piggyback

      • Chris

        Not really. He had one 3.2 inning outing on June 10th. All the rest were 2 innings or less.

    • Lanny

      How has Hughes been wasted? Have you watched this team since he took over as the set up man?

      Think thats coincidence?

  • Tank Foster

    Leave Joba AND Phil alone; keep them right where they are. Neyer and company look for things to portray as weaknesses for the Yankees. What teams are significantly better than the Yankees at the 4th starter position? Or 1-4 in aggregate? Given the importance of the 4th starter relative to 1-3, in the playoffs, how much does any other team’s advantage over the Yankees in this slot mean?

    It means squat.

    As for Phil’s 41 innings….the Jamesian approach to valuing pitchers places high leverage innings at a 1.5x – 2x multiplier v. that of starting pitchers, so Phil’s contribution is a bit more than the paltry 41 innings suggests.

    Of course, this highly intelligent crowd knows that already. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

    So, Rob Neyer is just going to assume that Phil Hughes is going to outperform Joba Chamberlain in a handful of potential starts next month? Alrighty, then.

    Honestly, the most obvious question – in my opinion – to Neyer’s post is what makes anyone think Hughes will better Chamberlain in the rotation from here until the rest of the 2009 season, and he does not even acknowledge such a scenario.

    Again, I go back to this comment: http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-567837

    and ask: What other number-four starter of a postseason contender provides a better chance for the Yankees to succeed than Joba CHamberlain?

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

      Agreed. That’s some of the least intelligent writing I’ve seen from Neyer, he usually doesn’t fall for any of those false narratives.

      I’m disappointed.

      • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Yup. This combined with his post about the Nady/Marte trade is kind of surprising. Seems like someone stole his brain.

        • Doug

          in his chat today, called him out on the fact that he didn’t mention any of tabata behavioral problems in his blog. and he answered that he indeed should have.

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

            I’m more shocked that nobody called him out on his “Ross Ohlendorf could be starting for the Yankees” or “McCutchen could soon be as good as Ohlendorf”.

            Yes, Rob Neyer, Ross Ohlendorf has made great strides. No, he’d not be able to start for us, he’d still get shelled in the AL. And no, we’re not shedding any tears over the loss of Karstens or McCutchen. They’re cannon fodder.

            • Doug

              well, I actually called him out on both of those facts in the comments section of the blog, but he didn’t respond. to no one’s surprise.

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

                Okay, copy. Fight the good fight.

          • Chris

            He should have also noted that Tabata has continued to struggle at AA this year.

            • Doug

              in all fairness, he had a .293/.357/.406 combined line this year, split between AA and AAA. awfully similar to one austin jackson.

              • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

                It’s not as attractive as you think once you look at his platoon splits:

                http://www.minorleaguesplits.c.....?pl=467798

                • Doug

                  good point.

                  looked up ajax for comparison and his splits are eerily similar, which is a good thing.

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

              Or that Marte is currently throwing up a .000/.071/.000 against line on 14 batters faced in the five games since his return from the DL.

              • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                As far as discussion of the trade is concerned, isn’t 2008 the only year that really matters for Marte? He was a free agent signing after the 2008 season, it’s not like the Yankees traded for his 2009 (and beyond) stats.

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

                  We resigned him during our exclusive negotiation window. Technically, he never left our control and hit the market.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Ok. That’s stretching it a bit, though.

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

                  Which brings me to a side-point: the line on the Nady/Marte deal isn’t finalized yet, because we still have an opportunity to recoup pick(s) back for Nady and/or deal Marte for something of value too. The value Nady and Marte can give us when they leave was assuredly part of Cashman’s calculation when making the deal. Cashmoney loves amassing prospects, and I bet he fully intended to turn Nady back into some youngsters when he hit free agency (as I doubt he was ever a longterm plan).

                  Marte is more interesting… the swiftness with which we resigned him makes me wonder if he was always going to be a sign-and-trade. He’s a quality lefty out of the pen, always a good thing to keep around.

                  So, rather than judge the deal as Tabata/Ohlendorf/Karstens/McCutchen for a half-season of Marte and a year and a half of Nady, Cashman may have seen it as two or three and a half years of Marte, a year and a half of Nady, and a sandwich pick plus possibly a first rounder.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  He may have hoped it would turn out that way, but what he traded for was half a season of Marte and a year and a half of Nady (and possible compensation picks). At the time he made the trade, none of the rest of the stuff could have been foreseen. I’m not saying he made the wrong move or anything like that, but it’s a major stretch to start adding on all this other stuff after the fact as if that was what Cashman acquired last year. You can’t say he traded for 3.5 years of Marte, you just can’t.

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

                  You can’t say he traded for 3.5 years of Marte, you just can’t.

                  Sure I can. When we traded for Tino, or O’Neill, or Cone, or Clemens, or Knoblauch, or any other of a number of acquisitions, it was with the firm intention to trade for them as they enter their free agent year and then resign them or extend them to keep them in pinstripes.

                  Had we traded for Santana, it would have been with the intention of resigning him.

                  We may have traded for 3.5 years of Marte knowing full and well that it may work out to be only .5 years of him if he spurns our contract extension, but the plan could very easily have been “We’re trading for Marte and keeping him. We were going to sign him this offseason, why not get a jump on it and get him for this pennant run as well?”

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Ok. I’ll agree they may have traded for him with the intention to re-sign him, obviously that’s fair. But when they traded for him they traded for half a year and then the chance to either offer him arbitration (and either re-sign him that way or get the compensation picks), sign him to a new deal (which they did), just let him walk. But they could have been left empty-handed. They traded for half a year of performance and the chance to do those things, nothing about it was a foregone conclusion.

                  It’s a minor difference/distinction at this point, I just think you’re overselling your argument a bit.

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        As was I. Sad thing is, that was the second poor post by Neyer yesterday: http://myespn.go.com/blogs/swe.....nkees.html

        • Raf

          mpaxisa dropping the knowledge in the comments lol

    • Drew

      Tazawa and Byrd ftw!

      heh

      Seriously though, we definitely don’t need a 5th starter in the postseason and it’s extremely possible that we won’t need a 4th starter with our Horse.
      That said, I’m still confident in Jober if he is called on in October.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      What other number-four starter of a postseason contender provides a better chance for the Yankees to succeed than Joba CHamberlain?

      If the Rangers make the playoff, Nolan Ryan will start a game for them.

      • jsbrendog

        tcwa.

        and, he could probably pitch a no hitter. he’s like baseball’s chuck norris

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        +1

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

        He’ll show these punk kids how to pitch a full 9 innings. Pussies.

        (On a side note, how the hell has Nolan not hired Tony Bernazard yet? Aren’t they a match made in heaven? Bernazard should be running the Rangers farm system. I’m shocked this has not yet come to pass.)

        • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

          I was actually surprised that when it was reported that Jonathan Albaladejo suffered two black eyes, that nobody made a Bernazard joke.

  • yankees1977

    Phil had how many starts in 09? 7 starts. What was his ERA b4 moving to the Pen? Somewhere between 5 and 6? i dunno. Despite Joba’s struggles, Joba is still better than Hughes or Aceves in the rotation. Hughes should be left in the pen and that is where he belongs. Just because Hughes is lights out in the pen does not translate that he would be better in the rotation.

    • http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/07/23/alg_burnett.jpg Mike Pop

      Hughes should be left in the pen and that is where he belongs.

      Yeah, he should be left in the pen for the rest of THIS season and playoffs. But no, this is not where he belongs at all.

    • jsbrendog

      Hughes shouldn’t be left in the pen and that is where he belongs unless he is given ample time to fail as a starter. Just because Hughes is lights out in the pen does not translate that he would be better in the rotation. mean we should jump to conclusions and waste him there when he still has the ability to be a top of the rotation starter.

      fixed.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Just because Hughes is lights out in the pen does not translate that he would be better in the rotation.

      Well, yeah, most guys are gonna have better numbers as relievers than they will as starters. However, better numbers in the ‘pen does not equate to more value than lesser numbers as a starter.

    • http://161stStreet.wordpress.com Chris A

      You are right that just because Hughes is dominant in the pen doesn’t mean he will be dominant in the rotation, but you can’t assume that Joba is better than Hughes in the rotation based on 7 starts that Hughes made months ago.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Also, on Joba’s struggles, I wrote about this earlier today (HINT, HINT). While he may have some ugly peripherals, his ERA is at 4.41 and his K/9 is at 7.7. For a 23 year old in his first full season as a starter in the A.L. East, that’s pretty good and definitely something to build on. Methinks that we fans did not temper our expectations of the Joba enough and did not expect to run into the “growing pains” we’re seeing now.

  • Moshe Mandel

    I posted on this today, so let me paraphrase:

    No.

    Seriously, we are talking about two playoff starts. It is reasonable to suggest that a good 8th inning guy in the playoffs is more important than the 4th starter. If Hughes is the 4th starter, he gets maybe 12 innings in the playoffs, whereas as a reliever, he probably gets between 8-10 innings of higher leverage. The two roles are pretty similar in value, and messing with things is riskier than leaving the status quo. It would be a move with limited upside and a higher risk (both to health and the possibility that neither succeeds in their new role).

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

      I will explain.

      No, there is too much. I will sum up.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        why didnt you tell me we had a holocaust cloak?

        • Rob H.

          Inconceivable!!

    • Sam

      I didn’t think of this but it’s a good point.

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “It is reasonable to suggest that a good 8th inning guy in the playoffs is more important than the 4th starter.”

      I was going to make a comment about this. Clearly the rotation is more important than the ‘pen in the regular season (and in the playoffs when you’re talking about the 1-2-3 guys), but we’re talking about the 4th starter in the postseason rotation here. The 4th starter might not even pitch more than once or twice, right? I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to think that a shut-down reliever might actually be more important in the playoffs than a 4th starter. That feels a little crazy to say… Is it? I’m totally open, as always, to being shown why I might be wrong.

      • Moshe Mandel

        It is weird, and I was nervous to put that under my byline on my blog, but it makes sense. Assuming a starter like Hughes makes it through 6 innings on both of his starts, he would notch 12 innings. If he gets 3 innings per series (it could be more) as a reliever, that’s 9. With the high leverage multiplier, and considering that whoever starts a Game 4 would have the benefit of matching up with the other team’s 4, and I think it is pretty clear that the reliever is at least as valuable, if not more, than the 4 starter.

        • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          IF that 4th starter is only getting a start or two. There’s always that variable involved in the scheduling and other matters that may change the plans for the rotation, right? If you get stuck in long series, and/or Mo-forbid one of your 1-3 starters gets hurt or something, all of a sudden that 4th starter is a heck of a lot more important.

          You know, however you come out on this issue, I think it’s pretty clear there’s at least a conversation to be had about this stuff. It’s definitely not black and white an issue as it may first seem.

          • Moshe Mandel

            In this case, I actually think the issue is black and white, just because there just isn’t time to stretch Phil out and properly judge whether he is an improvement over Joba. On a theoretical level, however, I agree that it is a nebulous issue with a ton of factors to consider.

            • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Oh totally… For 2009, Phil’s gotta stay in the ‘pen. But yeah, on a theoretical level, it’s a gray area.

      • Joe

        Right, the 4th starter may only pitch once but if that one start is with the yanks down 2-1 in the ALDS on the road (all but guaranteed at this point) then how important is that guy? Just look at 2007. Torre had to throw Wang out there on 3 days rest bc he didn’t have a good 4th starter (Mussina had a bad year) to go to and he ended up getting creamed. I’m not saying Hughes (or Aceves or Gaudin or Mitre) is the answer to the problem. Just saying that having a pretty good 4th starter could be a bigger deal than some are making it out to be.

        • Moshe Mandel

          The 4 guy wont start in the ALDS. See Ed in SF’s comment at 4:06 below.

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

            That is not necessarily true.

          • Joe

            Point taken, didn’t see Ed’s comment before I started posting mine. Makes me feel a lot better about the ALDS that’s for sure haha.

        • Chris

          But the Yankees wouldn’t have been down 2-1 if they had a better 8th inning pitcher in game 2.

          • Joe

            Or if Torre didn’t pull them off the field like he should have

            • Joe

              Or if Torre DID pull them off the field like he should have.

              Sorry bout that

    • http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2009/08/08/soxyank6__1249712396_8566.jpg Tom Zig

      Would you even use a #4 starter in the ALDS?

      Is this what you mean?

      Joba would start game 4 of the ALCS and WS(if we get to either).

      My question is:

      Is that dependent on the way the series has been going so far?

      As in if we have a 2-1 or 3-0 series lead you go to Joba for game 4.

      But what if we have a 2-1 deficit or 3-0 deficit, do you go to Joba?

      • Moshe Mandel

        You need to win 4 games in that sort of series. Even though that particular game might go better if CC pitches, pitching Joba and allowing everyone else to go on regular rest makes it more likely that you can win 4 games.

  • Dela G

    simple answer to this “conundrum?”

    no

  • Billy Shears

    From May 5th (Joba’s 12 K game vs. Boston) through July 29th (his 8 scoreless innings in Tampa) Joba went 6-2 with a 3.69 ERA. That is 3 months of starting. I think the best thing for the Yankees is to hope that Joba reverts to that Joba. Hughes had a 5 ERA as a starer and Aceves is Captain Longball. The best option as a fourth starter is Joba. Also, its not like the average fourth starter in the playoffs is going to be Pedro circa 1999. Its going to be Joe Saunders, Jarrod Washburn, Buchholz, 2009 Pedro who would be crushed in the AL, Jon Garland, Kyle Lohse and Penny or Aaron Cook. Not exactly the cream of the crop.

  • Ed in SF

    Here’s how we could see Joba and Phil in the ‘pen in the playoffs: the Yankees choose ALDS Series “A” as the team with the best record in the AL. If they do that, they can start 3 guys over a 5 game series on regular rest:

    Wed Oct 7: Game 1 – CC
    Thu Oct 8: off
    Fri Oct 9: Game 2 – Pettitte (my preference)
    Sat Oct 10: off
    Sun Oct 11: Game 3 – AJ
    Mon Oct 12: Game 4 – CC on 4 days rest
    Tues Oct 13: off
    Wed Oct 14: Game 5 – Pettitte on 4 days rest

    The ALCS doesn’t start until Friday the 16th, so even if the Yankees win in 5 then you’ve got AJ on 4 days rest for game 1 of the ALCS, CC on regular rest for Game 2, Pettitte on regular rest for Game 3, and then and only then do you need a #4 starter before the World Series – for Game 4 of the ALCS on October 20.

    Unless someone gets extra rest or the Yankees want to sit Joba for over 2 weeks, Joba will be in the pen for the ALDS.

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

      That’s the second time this has been suggested, and here’s why it’s the wrong idea, IMO:

      We have the better 4th starter than all other teams in baseball. Sure, Joba may not be a slam-dunk victory, but he’s better than the Tigers, Red Sox, Angels, Rays, and Rangers fourth starter.

      So, we shouldn’t be looking forward to a slower series where we can bring back CC on short rest, we should be looking forward to a faster series where we can throw Joba on normal rest versus Jarrod Washburn or Rick Porcello (or Verlander on short rest).

      That’s how you exploit your talent edge to your advantage.

      • Ed in SF

        You missed a key point. You don’t have to bring CC back on short rest. You can pitch your top 3 on REGULAR rest if you have the short series.

        As for matchups, I guess the question is indeed does come down to what matchups you prefer.

        Let’s assume the Tigers go Verlander, Jackson, Washburn, Porcello. Do you prefer – say, Pettitte vs. Jackson a 2nd time (#2 vs. #2) or do you prefer a crack at Joba vs. Porcello. Personally, I’d rather have Pettitte going 2x in the playoffs, but maybe that’s just me.

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        Thank you.

      • Moshe Mandel

        I disagree. Porcello has better numbers than Joba, and is pitching better than him at this point. Even Jarrod Washburn, while struggling, has had a better year than Joba. I’d rather bet on getting good pitching from our top 3 and facing Edwin jackson twice.

        • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

          Washburn away from his outfield amazing defense in Seattle is not really better than Joba.

          • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

            Er make that “amazing outfield defense”.

          • Moshe Mandel

            You are probably right. However, he might get Game 3 anyhow, and I’d like to see Jackson-Burnett twice rather than replace one of those matchups with Joba- Porcello/Washburn.

        • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

          Jarrod Washburn has had stark differences in performance from when he was a Mariner to when he was a Tiger, though. The man has been below the performance of a replacement-level player (-0.6 WAR) as a Tiger.

          Also, the difference between the 2009 campaigns of Joba Chamberlain and Rick Porcell are negligibly in the favor of the latter, and you know who gets the upper hand when you factor in the offenses these two young hurlers will face.

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      It’s an ancillary point, but I think you toss AJ out there in Game 2 and Andy in Game 3. Check out their respective home-road splits.

      • Moshe Mandel

        +1.

      • Ed in SF

        Makes sense if the home/road splits are drastic (no time to look up, will take your word for it). But AJ in a Game 5 scares the crap out of me.

        • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Heh… After I posted that comment I was like ‘hold on, maybe the Game 5 matchups are more important here.’ That’s a good point. But yeah, just FYI, the home/road splits definitely, without question, point to AJ starting at home in Game 2 and Andy starting on the road in Game 3.

  • yankees1977

    Sorry! I mean phil belongs in the pen for this year. He is lights out and he should not be moved. I believe he should be given another chance for a spot at the rotation next year. But what i am saying is that everybody thinks by putting Hughes in Joba’s spot this year he is going to be successful? He certainly has the potential… but in 07′ he got tagged to a tune of 4.46 ERA with 13 Starts. In 08′ with a 6.62 ERA with 8 starts and in 09′ he started 7 games with a 6 something ERA? Compare this to Joba as a starter and Its not comparable. (don’t know his combined ERA as a starter for 08′ and 09′) I just don’t understand the thinking that people can give Hughes a spot over Joba’s in the rotation.

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

      Helpful hint: Please use the reply button. Makes the conversation easier. Thanks in advance.

    • Drew

      Especially at this stage of the game. I don’t see anyone in the Yankees’ system suggesting a flip flop b/w Jober and Phil one week into September.

      The Yanks have made their stance pretty clear.

    • jsbrendog

      1. please use the reply button as it wouldve taken me less time to realize what you were referring to.

      2. vindication. you were unclear above but after clarification you basically were saying what i fixed it to.

      cheers

  • Bill

    This is a move that we potentially should’ve made a long time ago, but its a little too late for this kind of shakeup.

    We need Hughes in the bullpen now. Joba couldn’t be trusted in Hughes’ role right now because moving him into the bullpen won’t add 5 MPH and the good control he needs to be the reliever he was last year and the year before.

    While Joba starting a game in the playoffs is not something I’m looking forward to at the moment I don’t think we’ll need to lean much on our 4th starter. In the ALDS I’m expecting to go with 3 starters. CC can pitch on short rest if need be, so he could easily do games 1 and 4 with Pettitte probably taking games 2 and 5 on normal rest (days off for travel). In the ALCS we will need a 4th starter, but if Joba struggles you can have a quick hook with him because the days off will give the bullpen more rest. We can always turn to guys like Aceves, Robertson, and Coke if Joba struggles early. Our pen is actually deep enough to make up for Joba struggling.

  • mustang

    This Hughes to the rotation thing is like the Halloween movie series just when you think it’s over RAB manages to recast ( adding Joba to fold this time) and pulls out one ( i hope) more thread on the topic.

    • Lanny

      Can add that to Melky, Stadium issues and now Jeters contract.

      • mustang

        Totally agree with Melky not so much with the Stadium and Jeter’s contract not yet, but you can see it heading in that direction.

  • james

    Hughes should stay in the pen FOREVER. He’s a dominant force in the pen and an average starter. His fastball is far more effective in the pen and Phil doesn’t have the changeup needed to be a dominant started. Keep him as the setup man for this year and next, then when Mo retires, make him the closer.

    • Drew

      ugh… Not this again.

    • mustang

      You just drew a RAB bull’s eye on your ass.
      LOL

      I respectful disagree.

    • jsbrendog

      you’re a dominant started

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

      What’s with the “he needs a changeup” to be a starter meme. Where did this start? Why is it parroted so heavily?

      • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

        If I am not mistaken, it started during the 2008 season when his struggles became frustrating, and everyone with a platform was searching for a reason as to why he was struggling. I think Eiland or Girardi might have mentioned his changeup was still developing, so that gave some the ammunition they needed. As to why it’s so popular, I’d guess that is because – to the masses – it makes you sound knowledgeable without any confusing, nerd-tainted “statistical mathematics.”

        • http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2009/08/08/soxyank6__1249712396_8566.jpg Tom Zig

          Is that when the “Phil-Hughes-Chinese” meme was born?

          • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

            Yes, but I have to admit that I never got that one.

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

              http://riveraveblues.com/2008/.....ent-164161

              It was just a non-sequitur from me poking fun at how people were constantly finding new and less important things to nitpick in Phil Hughes’s game, in lame attemtps to say why he was going to suck for all eternity and was just an overhyped Yankee bust.

              I one-upped by saying that the problem with Phil wasn’t that he didn’t have a changeup or had diminishing velocity or didn’t have the stones to pitch big innings, but that he wasn’t Chinese. Since he wasn’t Chinese, he was destined to be a bust forever.

    • http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2009/08/08/soxyank6__1249712396_8566.jpg Tom Zig

      Hughes should stay in the pen FOREVER

      Start out with bold claim and add capital letters for emphasis

      He’s a dominant force in the pen and an average starter.

      You are correct he is a dominant force in the pen. He is only 23 and hasn’t had time to learn his craft to become anything more than an average starter. Why give up now?

      His fastball is far more effective in the pen and Phil doesn’t have the changeup needed to be a dominant started.

      Well sure anyone’s fastball will be more effective in the pen, all you do is throw for an inning or too.

      You are correct he doesn’t have the changeup, but that is because he is working on it. Tough to learn and experiment with a new pitch when you thrown out into high leverage situations with the game possibly being on the line.

      Keep him as the setup man for this year and next, then when Mo retires, make him the closer.

      Well we are keeping him as the setup man this year. But next year he’ll be in the rotation because starters > relievers. We will cross the Mo’s heir to the throrne bridge when we get to it. Proclaiming someone to be Mo’s heir right now is foolhearty.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      So it begins…

      • mustang

        You said it my friend all winter all spring and anytime Hughes as a bad start.

        Damn you Cashman for putting any of the “Big Three” in the pen. Well at least it’s over after Hughes…..IPK…. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!

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

          IPK’s gonna go to the pen and throw 105 mph cheese, a curveball with four full feet of break and late life, and spit fire out of his asscheeks.

          ERA: -27.00

          • jsbrendog

            dylan. i spit hot fire.

            • http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2009/07/23/alg_burnett.jpg Mike Pop

              I need you to get me a left handed set of golf clubs. And take a picture with a midget, holding these balloons :echoed:.

          • mustang

            “IPK’s gonna go to the pen and throw 105 mph cheese, a curveball…”

            You know it will probably happen, but I believe in a merciful God.

  • james

    okay look, maybe FOREVER is a liitle extreme, but none of you can deny that Phil is a completely different pitcher in the pen. His fastball as a starter sat at 90-91 and now in the pen he’s 94-95. He’s the best set up man in the league right now by far and its not ridiculous to talk about Mo’s successor because the dude’s about to turn 40.
    I love Phil’s mentality out of the pen and I want to see him there for years to come

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Most guys will have better numbers/stuff out of the bullpen because of the SSS and the fact that they can air it out and not have to face the same guys more than once. Sure, it’s not ridiculous to talk about Mo’s successor but we should be talking about an actual reliever taking over that spot, not a guy who’s still in his early 20’s and has a fuckton of potential as a starter.

    • Rob H.

      this thing called the “reply” button is your friend. It’s good to use.

      Phil Hughes has far more potential as a starting pitcher. End of story. Lets move on. Please stop talking like you actually believe that relievers are more important than starters. If you actually believe this, then please stop believing it since you are wrong.

      • Lanny

        Can you blame him for not replying when the other reply degenerates into lame movie quotes?

    • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi
    • http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2009/08/08/soxyank6__1249712396_8566.jpg Tom Zig

      If Verlander were in the pen he’d throw 110.

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

        They’d rename all MVP’s the Verlander award, even the NBA MVP and NFL MVP.

        Because there would be no more valuable player in any sport than him.

        • http://cache.boston.com/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2009/08/08/soxyank6__1249712396_8566.jpg Tom Zig

          Verlander would throw his changeup at 100 too and then he would add in a knuckleball for funsies, which somehow would reach 90 MPH and would have 6-10-3 movement.

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

      I love Phil’s mentality out of the pen and I want to see him there for years to come

      Bull(shit) in a china shop

  • Mike HC

    I would love to see Joba start a game in the post season. I think he will be ready to go. Judging him on these half starts is unfair to him.

    Putting him in the pen would also be redundant with Hughes and Mo. Hughes and Mo can go three innings combined for every playoff game. Combined with Aceves, Coke etc … the pen is set. Why start tinkering with a team that is playing like the best team in baseball right now?

    • Doug

      okay, how about judging him then on the 3 or 4 starts before that. he hasn’t had a real good start since the end of july.

      • Mike HC

        You mean the starts where he had extended rest? I think once we started messing with Joba’s rest in between starts and/or innings per start, it set him off. I still think it was smart for the Yanks to do that, in order to keep his workload down, but he should not be judged on those starts. He is going to get stretched back out for the playoffs, and I would expect him to have some good starts towards the end of the year. I doubt he forgot how to pitch considering his era was in the mid 3.00’s relatively late in the year this year.

        • Doug

          hope you’re right.

          i, for one, was never in favor of the extended rest. think a starting pitcher’s routine is very important. and during that stretch, he didn’t have any.

  • http://www.workwithpete.com Pete

    Via Sweeny: Robertson shut down with tightness in elbow – off to Dr. Andrews..

    • Drew

      Saw that, that’s never a good thing.

    • Doug

      supposedly has been pitching “tightness” for a couple of weeks now. why, may i ask. guess they thought it was nothing

    • Rod

      Bring up Brackman out of the ‘pen.

  • crawdaddie

    The Yankees are sending David Robertson to see Dr. Andrews with elbow tightness so forget about them making any type of switching between Hughes and Joba.

  • Lanny

    Is it so far fetched to see them use a 3 man rotation in the playoffs? With all the off days its certainly possible.

  • paulb

    Still would like to hear someone in the organization address the lack of velocity with Joba. He dominated cause he would come in and challenge with 98 mph fbs. No at 91-92 he HAS to rely more on location which he clearly is having trouble with.

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