Sherman: Yankees concerned Joba was too comfortable

What it meant to be there
ALDS Game Three Thread: Angels @ Red Sox

In today’s column, Joel Sherman writes that many of the Yanks’ bigwigs felt Joba Chamberlain was a little comfortable about his place in the organziation, and considered demoting him to Triple-A Scranton back in August. In an ironic twist of fate, I suggested they do that exact same thing, but back in July. The team didn’t follow through with the move because, frankly, they were scared of having both Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin in their rotation at the same time.

The more important issue here is next season. CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett are locks atop the rotation. Andy Pettitte may or may not return, but beyond that you have a collection of unproven commodities. Many felt that Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes were a little to comfortable last year coming out of Spring Training, and the Yanks are probably worried about that happening again, rightly so. As it stands now, Joba, Hughes, Gaudin, Kennedy, Mitre, and even Al Aceves could come to camp competing for as many three rotation spots. While competition is ideal, having that many question marks is not.

What it meant to be there
ALDS Game Three Thread: Angels @ Red Sox
  • AndrewYF

    You wonder what could have been had Wang merely been healthy. The Yankees’ 2010 outlook would sure seem a lot rosier.

  • marc resnick

    Mike, Mike, Mike. Problems for another day, brother. lol

  • nick blasioli

    maybe wang will be as good as ever and pettite comes back..that would be ideal..get rid of mitre..maybe sign a starter or trade for one and that hopefully will resolve the problem..

    • Pasqua

      Wang won’t be back until the summer, at earliest, I believe.

      • Jersey

        Let’s hope he’s the best deadline pickup the Yanks make in 2010.

        • Lanny

          Wang wont be back.

          • Bob Stone

            I am hoping that your prediction is true to form – Overly pessimistic and wrong.

  • gargoyle

    The only important thing is the next 3 weeks. His only value right now is in the bullpen.

    The starter v. reliever debate is for another time.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Worry about 2010 when we get there. There’s 2009 business to take care of first.

    • marc resnick

      couldn’t agree more. i dont event have the energy to consider next year

  • Jersey

    Man! If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

    • Bob Stone


  • Reggie C.

    I always enjoy participating in forward looking threads , even in October baseball. Throw in the added motivating driver of squaring off against Pavano and being up 2-0 in the series, I expect the Yanks to hit today. Very. Well.

    Anyways, I’ll continue to maintain that Wang simply cannot be factored as a rotation contributor for next season. I’d be surprised to see Wang stay on the 40 man, since he’ll be gone for at least half the season before he throws competitively. Gaudin is a surer bet than Wang to contribute in 2010. Beyond that, i think alot hinges on whether Pettitte is up for another 1-yr incentive laden deal.

  • ashish

    mo money mo problems… ;)

  • Andrew Brotherton

    I think we will see the Yankees make a play for Justin Duchscherer, Ben Sheets, Brett Myers, or try and trade for Brandon Webb if he is healthy. We will kick the tires on Halladay.

  • mustang

    “Many felt that Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes were a little to comfortable last year coming out of Spring Training”

    If I remember correctly there were a lot of people here that felt that same comfort level of a small sample.
    But I agree that’s to many question marks.

  • Steve H

    In today’s Boston Globe they mention that Wang is ahead of schedule and could possibly return by May. Still don’t want to rely on him, but that’s certainly encouraging.

    • MikeD

      Even if he’s ahead of schedule, he may not be on the Yankees. They’d have to offer him arbitration, and that will be expensive. If they don’t offer him arbitration, he can sign with any team, and since the Yankees can’t promise him one of their five rotation slots, Wang could very well sign with another team.

  • Austin M. Matherne




    • The Walrus Was Paul

      I don’t see the Yankees going after Lackey…

      • MikeD

        Depends. If Pettitte doesn’t return, I do see them at least exploring bringing Lackey to NY. They won’t go into 2010 with CC and AJ and a bunch of question marks. They’ll want at least one more proven name.

    • Bob Stone

      No way they go after Lackey. It’ll take $80 million/5 Years. NO WAY.

  • Charlie

    they’ll probably bring back petitte, so its cc aj andy joba hughes. this seems kinda moot to me, cause that’d be a fine rotation

    • Matt H. :: Sec105

      Hughes is gonna be on the Joba09 schedule….and is anyone really that overly confident that Joba can be a reliable SP?

      • whozat

        Hughes isn’t going to be on the Joba 2009 schedule, as he’s thrown 146 innings in a season before.

        And, yes. I am confident that Joba can be a reliable starter. Because I’ve looked around and seen that 23 year old full-time big league pitchers often struggle early in their careers, because they’re inexperienced and have never struggled on the field before.

        • Bob Stone

          True – As evidence see Maddux, Greg. His second season stats with the Cubs: 6 Wins, 14 Losses, 5.61 ERA in 27 starts. The rest of his stats after that is history.

  • Matt H. :: Sec105

    Any like #3/4 guys the Yanks could target in free agency?

    • Matt H. :: Sec105

      eh, not that much. Lot of guys that are good NL pitchers only, and a few injury guys…

      Lackey, who is somewhat tested in the AL, will be too expensive cause of the weak market, and I believe the Mets will offer a lot for him.

      • Lanny

        The Mets offer a lot???



    Is the “comfort” argument simply another variation on evaluating talent by “feeling” over “stats”?

    Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy are all young pitchers and young pitchers are prone to struggling when they first reach the major leagues.

    In the case of Joba and Kennedy, owing to the fact that they were college pitchers, there was very little time in the minors to adjust to professional baseball at all, much less pitching in the majors.

    In the case of Hughes, the leg injury put him months behind in his development.

    So, Hughes and Kennedy struggled in their first full year as starters and were sent down. Hughes developed another pitch and came back strong. Kennedy suffered the aneurysm, but rebounded faster than expected and is in the mix for next year.

    Joba had an up and down season, but it is clear that once he had reached and moved beyond previous innings high, he began to struggle.

    So, young pitchers struggle, reach new innings highs, have to think more about their approach to pitching, are sometimes lights out and other times not…but in the case of both Hughes and Joba, continue to show that they can get major league hitters out.

    Long post short, is “comfort” just an alibi for when a young pitcher struggles while learning to refine his pitching skills at the major league level? Is the best evaluation of a young player’s talent if they feel “comfortable”? Do we want young pitchers constantly worrying that if they have a bad start that they will be sent down? Now, if they are struggling, and would benefit from refining their skills in an environment that allows them to do so without the pressure of winning, then sure, send them down. Otherwise, it seems to me like a weak measure of a player’s performance.

    • whozat

      It’s people looking for a narrative. If a guy acts like Joba and struggles, he’s too confident. If a guy acts like Hughes and struggles, he’s mentally weak.

      “Young pitcher inconsistent, as all young pitchers tend to be” generates few column inches.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Yeah I agree. I really don’t think comfort has much to do with Hughes or IPK struggling.

      • Tank the Frank

        + 62

    • Riddering

      +Big 3 to this comment and all your points

      I hate the use of the word “comfort” and the idea that these guys are slacking rather than struggling.

  • Mike Nitabach

    Webb would be an excellent pick-up, if they can get him.

    • Lanny

      Why wouldnt Ari pick up his option?

  • MikeD

    Based on some of Joba’s comments, I suspect he believes to be a MLB starter, he has to dial back the fast ball and try to set up hitters for future ABs. If that’s his mindset, then no wonder he got his ass kicked at times.

    He has a 96 mph fastball. He should use that the majority of the time. He throws too many breaking pitches, nibbles when he’s ahead in the count. How many times did he have 0-2 counts and then he was 3-2. Power pitchers should not nibble, no not have to nibble.

    I’m serious in what in this statement: The Yankees should hire Roger Clemens to tutor Joba in Spring Traning next year!

  • yanksfan81

    The Yanks need to kick the tires on Sheets, Webb and Harden. Even if they can keep Andy,which i think they will, picking up one of those guys would solidify the rotation. I ve read a couple places that Harden would except something in the 5-7 million dollar range with incentives. Sheets would be a qua;ity pick up as well, he’s had a full year to get healthy and he and CC were tight on the Brewers. If Arizona doesn’t offer Webb a contract we’d be foolish not to make a full court press on him.

    I think they figure out a way to bring Wang back, he is way ahead of schedule and its not like he going to cost 10 mil a year, he’s a 2 time 19 game winner and all we need is for him to be a #3/4. If he can get healthy we’d look foolish for letting him walk.

    If you don’t think Hughes is going to have the exact same trouble going from the pen to the rotation as Joba has your nuts. His Fb is going to go back to 91-92 his cutter is getting alot better and his curve has been hit and miss. Also he might get to 90-95 innings this year if we get to the series, there not going to let him throw 180 innings next year. Its going to be the Joba rules all over again.

    We re going to have rotaion and bp questions that Cash is going to have to address this offseason that i believe are way more pressing issues than our outfield