Joba, Phil and the 2010 bullpen

Mo wins 2009 Pro Athlete of the Year Award
What does Nick Johnson mean for the left field situation?

Everybody’s talking about pitching these days. Jorge Posada went on the FAN this week and voiced his belief that the Yanks could use another starter. Meanwhile, at yesterday’s Curtis Granderson press conference, the Yanks’ beat writers quickly turned the focus to pitching.

What came out of it were a few sensational stories. ESPN 1050 AM spent Thursday alleging that Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi both said that one of Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes would be in the starting rotation while the other would set up for Mariano Rivera. It sent Yankee fans into the usual bullpen-inspired Eighth Inning frenzy. Who will get exiled to pen and who will stay in the rotation?

After a few RAB readers e-mailed us, I consulted and reviewed the Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman media sessions. Neither of the two said anything close to what ESPN Radio spent the afternoon reporting, and while the team may not be committed to having both Joba and Phil starting all year, that is simply a function of innings limits than anything else. Listening between the lines made me believe that the Yanks are definitely eying Ben Sheets as a possible starter, but the team will give Phil and Joba every chance to excel as starters.

So what did the Yankee brain trust say? Well, Joe Girardi was at the mic first, and after the cursory Curtis Granderson statements, the focus turned to pitching. Does he want to see the team bring in another starter? “I don’t think you can ever have too much starting pitching. I really don’t,” he said. “Especially with the age of some of our starters, you don’t necessarily want to feel like you have to push them too far, and that was one of the things we were able to do.”

The next question was a loaded one. Could Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain both handle a 32-start workload next year? “I think Joba is more prepared than Phil because Phil didn’t throw 150 innings last year,” Girardi said. “It will be much more difficult to throw him in 32 starts.”

This statement from Girardi was one that made people think Phil would be ticketed to the pen. Of course, that doesn’t make sense if the Yanks want him to reach 150 innings. He certainly won’t get there pitching in relief.

In fact, the next question specifically asked if Hughes would move to pen, and Girardi denied it. This is where I think the Yanks’ interest in Ben Sheets started to show. “I’m not saying that,” Girardi said of a bullpen role for Phil. “That’s something that we’ll have to discuss and see how that fourth starting pitcher is, if he’s someone who can give you 32 starts.”

Ben Sheets, by the way, hasn’t made 32 starts since 2004. In his last season pitching in the Majors — 2008 — he took the hill 31 times. He would be the perfect complement for Phil Hughes and an innings limit.

In the end, the Yanks were mum with their plans. They had to be simply because they don’t have that pitcher — whether its Sheets or Justin Duchscherer or someone else — locked up. All we know is that Joba Chamberlain, as Brian Cashman said, has no innings limit while Phil Hughes does. One of them could wind up in the pen but only if the Yanks enjoy a surplus of pitching. Despite what the radio may tell us, it’s far to early to pigeonhole one of the live young arms for the Eighth Inning. Let’s wait until at least the end of March for that.

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Mo wins 2009 Pro Athlete of the Year Award
What does Nick Johnson mean for the left field situation?
  • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

    I’m still so excited for Joba sans rules.

    It has really gotten crazy how many people are in love with relegating our young starters to the pen.

    • lebigyank

      dude was an injury risk

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        So is everyone.

        • lebigyank

          he was more of an injury risk than say… cc sabathia. but you knew that.

          • Zack

            CC was an “average” starter for 4 out of his first 5 seasons, dude wasnt made to be a starter and should have been in the bullpen too

            • Steve H

              +Josh Beckett

              • Zack

                he’s got that ‘bull in a china shop’/’bulldog’ mentality that only works in the bullpen

                • Steve H

                  Johan actually was in the bullpen, they should have left him there too.

                • kunaldo

                  you know who else had a bulldog mentality? Rogah Clemens…oh, wait, he just snorted like a bull after gene monahan rubbed cayenne pepper on his balls(or something like that)

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Even with the injury issues, you gotta go for Sheets. If all pitchers are healthy (I can dream, right?), you have 6 solid starters with one in the pen. If one goes down, you still have 5 solid starters. Even if 2 go down, what’s the worst that happens? You have Gaudin at your #5. He’s certainly a serviceable #5 starter.

    • lebigyank

      + 10

      of course that is the best case scenario. i always think of how lucky we were to have cc aj and pettitte healthy. it was a blessing and hopefully we are blessed again in 2010.

    • Salty Buggah

      I’d rather have Ace. Gaudin got pretty lucky in pinstripes last year. He had an ERA of 3.43 but had a FIP of 5.29, a xFIP of 4.68, and a tRA of 6.16. (Sergio Mitre had an ERA of 6.79 but a FIP of 5.30, a xFIP of 4.00, and a tRA of 5.85 despite missing less bats)

    • Zack

      “you have 6 solid starters with one in the pen. If one goes down, you still have 5 solid starters.”

      Not really. If Hughes is in the pen for April-June and someone goes down how is he a starter when he’s been throwing 20-30 pitches?

      • J

        This. I’ve said it before; signing Ben Sheets is a double edged sword. I have been pushing for him since last off-season. However, eventually you have to put the “kids” out there and let them work. As stated above, CC was average at best in his first 4 or 5 years. He doesn’t become the CC we know and love without those first 5 years of learning.

        If the Yankees are in fact going to rely on Joba/Hughes as their starting pitcher stars in the future, you have to allow them time to learn how to pitch. That said, Ben Sheets probably gives them the best shot to win next season. Tough call to make, but this is why they are baseball people, and we are nerds living in our mom’s basement.

  • pete

    I agree 100%. I personally think Duchsherer fits in with the Phil thing better, because of his swing-man -ness, but as Sheets has a much higher upside, I would certainly be happy with that too. The “how are we going to get Phil his innings” was a wonderful thing to complain about last year, as it turned out, and if the reason Phil ain’t starting this year is because Ben Sheets is fucking shit up, I would have to be cool with it.

    Pitching out of the bullpen does, after all, have its benefits. While it takes away from an underdeveloped pitchers development stamina-wise and 3rd/4th pitch-wise, i think it improves a pitcher’s command/location of his best pitches. Young starters try to “mix it up” and hit spots, but good relievers need to be able to execute their pitches with precision – hard fastball up and in or down and on the black, hard curve to a lefties feet, etc. A pitch is part location, and that is what, especially since the inception of the patented locating of mariano, phil would gain from ‘penning it. As a starter he’ll still have to mix it up and try to hit spots that he won’t have totally honed to keep hitters off-balance, but he’ll have those jam-escaping K-routes down for tough spots, which he doesn’t have right now. It did look like joba had those in ’08, and hopefully he can get back to that point. I certainly believe he can.

  • jim p

    150 innings, 6 innings a start gives you 25 starts.

    Subtract 18 or so innings a month (equals 3 6-inning starts)… use the spotty early season schedule and rainouts to miss 2 or 3 starts… so figure you get Phil as a starter March to mid August. Then to the pen. This without Sheets.

    With Sheets I can’t see how it plays out, but it probably would. There’d likely be injuries and dead arms to rest at some point.

  • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Milton Bradley Fat Park Factor

    Whatever. As long as we can still get Mike Cameron, Ben Sheets and Matsui, we’ll be fine. Otherwise, Chapman and Noel Arguelles can battle it out for a rotation spot.

    • Stryker

      ha. IETC.

    • Sean C

      Why not get all of the above?!?

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Milton Bradley Fat Park Factor

        I wanna see the very best
        Like no team ever was
        To catch them is my real test
        To sign them to a low-base, incentive deal is the cause

        I will travel across the land
        Searching far and wide
        Each Yankemon to understand
        The power that’s inside

        Yankeemon! Gotta catch ‘em all!
        It’s Sheets, Matsui and Duchy
        I know it’s my destiny
        Yankeemon!
        Oh, you’re my best friend
        In the AL EAST we must defend

        Free Agents, Mon! Gotta catch ‘em all!
        Our hearts so true
        Our Cash hombre will pull us through
        You sign them and I’ll cheer you
        Championship, mon! Gotta catch ‘em all! Gotta catch ‘em all!
        Yankeesmon!!!!!

        • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

          The best part of waking up…

  • http://leutbneot.wordpress.com Sam

    I personally think that unless Sheets really is clinging to the notion that he’s going to get $10M+ from another team (and who knows, really… dumber offseason moves are made all the time), we should move forward with signing him AND Duchscherer. They’re both extremely talented pitchers, seemingly over their respective injuries / mental troubles / whatever, and would cost only cash and not prospects. If even one of the two comes back to give you something close to his 60th percentile PECOTA projections, you’re looking at an upgrade. It also allows us to keep Phil’s (and to a lesser extent Joba’s) innings monitored more easily and make sure that everyone we need is rested in time for the playoffs.

    Yes, I know we want to downgrade the payroll situation (does anyone else think this is maybe – partially, at least – due to the fact that the Sawx will be pushing $170M this year and that if we’re at $180M then everyone pretty much has the STFU about the payroll discrepancies?), but the Yanks have never put a hard payroll cap in the way of players they thought could help them win, and I don’t think that’s going to happen now. The only way I see one or both of these guys getting away is if a) they have specific reasons, a la Doc wanting to pitch in FLA during ST, that would prevent them from considering the Yankees, or b) the Yanks have something up their sleeve in regards to Matt Holliday. The latter certainly seems more likely to me now that we’re signing Nick Johnson as a relatively full-time DH. This move seems to cut ties with Damon, unless he really can’t better our offer and comes back, hat in hand (doubtful), and leaves us with a hole in LF. If Holliday takes some kind of 5/$80M deal from the Yanks, we upgrade our outfield offensively and defensively from last year, and should get relatively the same out of our DH:

    2009: OF- Damon/Cabrera/Swisher, DH- Matsui
    2010: OF- Holliday/Granderson/Swisher, DH- Johnson (+rotated “half day off” for big bats)

    That’s a pretty big upgrade, and it’s really the only possible reason for signing Johnson at a relatively cheap price to man the DH spot with no chance of him playing the field. I didn’t think it would happen last week, but now I’m thinking that the Yanks are going to swoop in and nab Holliday and maybe one of Sheets / Duch at the last minute, and that’ll be that. Thoughts?

    (see my most recent blog post for more thoughts about this)

    • yankee boi

      yea love the idea … actually i was thinkin the same thing but my idea is a lil bit different : holliday, sheets , chapman… but that really puttin yankees over payroll…wit johnson coming in cheap i think they could bag matt holliday

      • lebigyank

        wishful thinking guys – we dont need holliday we wont get holliday, and this is coming from a “we should and could get manny ramirez” guy hours before we bagged teix last year.

        • jay

          + 2342345

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Yes, I know we want to downgrade the payroll situation… but the Yanks have never put a hard payroll cap in the way of players they thought could help them win, and I don’t think that’s going to happen now.

      Yes, we have. I direct you to last offseason, where we didn’t add Mark DeRosa, Mike Cameron, or any other of a number of available bench players who were either free agents or salary dumps from other teams because after signing Tex and Andy Pettitte late in the winter, we were “at our budget”.

      Cashman is dead serious about not going overbudget.

      • Ed

        Cashman kept talking about cutting payroll and not going over budget right up until the day he signed Tex. Until that point, he kept insisting 3 top free agents wasn’t in the budget.

        Remember when speaking to Tex was just a tactic to try to get CC to make up his mind?

        You’re probably right that Cashman is serious about not going over budget. But the budget he wants other people to believe isn’t necessarily the real budget.

        • jsbrendog

          remember how cashman had to visit with hal personally and lobby him to sign teixeira and present his argument as to why they could not in any way pass this up? yeah that doesnt happen every year. it was the exception

          • Ed

            Yup, I remember. However, he could have been telling the truth with that story, or it could’ve been some great spin to try to get people to believe him the next time he tried using the budget as a negotiating tactic.

            I totally don’t expect the team to sign Holliday, but if they did, I’d expect a similar story, but without the taking him away from the Red Sox part of it.

            Just remember – every agent tries to tie the Yankees to their clients to drive up bidding because everyone believes the Yankees will spend big. The only thing Cashman can do to counter that is try to create a perception of a tight budget. It’s always in Cashman’s interests to publicly downplay the budget.

        • Steve H

          Yeah, but Tex and CC were/are special cases. 28-29 year olds, healthy and in the prime of their career (and great guys as well) rarely hit free agency.

  • Stryker

    the more i think about it, the more i’m falling in love with the idea of going for sheets and/or j-dukes. think about it: cash has been trying to reduce payroll a bit by bringing in guys that, combined, counter the losses they suffer by letting damon and matsui walk. by bringing in cheaper alternatives, that allows him to put that money toward something else to improve the team. i think they’d be able to make competitive offers to sheets and duke rather than put it toward a year of a lengthy and expensive deal for holliday. both of those guys shouldn’t require anything more than a year (maybe an option plus some incentives perhaps), so after 2010 the yankees have that money PLUS the 5.5 mil from nick johnson and 11.75 from pettitte to play with for if/when jeter, mauer, crawford, werth, beckett, vazquez, webb, street, mo, and felix all hit the open market.

  • lebigyank

    id like chashman to ink sheets (sounds funny) but i think the yanks will end up with duchscherer. happy with either though.

  • pat

    I don’t really see how we can expect Hughes to hit his prescribed innings limit if we sign Sheets. That would give us 5 full time starters plus Hughes. What am I missing?

    • Mike Pop

      +1

      We’ve been preaching for years how both Joba and Hughes need to be starters. This is the year they can both get that opportunity at the same time. This is the year they both deserve it.

      Every year they don’t become starting pitchers, they can lose value to the Yankees. It’s time to let them show the Yankees what they got(especially Hughes since Joba at least held up without injury for 150 innings last year).

      • TheLastClown

        Whatcha doing up so late Pop?

        • Mike Pop

          Hookers.

          • TheLastClown

            No blow?

            • pat

              Mike Pop drinks hooker tears like Redbull.

              • Mike Pop

                Hookers usually cost less after you make them drink a case of Natty Light.

                • pat

                  Spam filter ate my previous two responses, oh well.

    • TheLastClown

      A May 22nd injury to A.J. Burnett.

      • pat

        Let’s hope not, I think those injury plagued years are behind him.

    • Chris

      AAA

    • Bo

      hes got no chance to hit those innings if they sign another starter unless they move joba to the pen

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  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Nostra-Artist

    Ben, your hearing is obviously better than mine, unless you had another source. I listened to that LoHud audio twice and could barely make out a word Cashman said, and just when I heard a few “Joba”s and “Hughes”s the audio ran out.

    Anyway, good job by you guys clearing this up, and shame on 1050 for being so misleading.

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

      It’s all about the headphones! And pumping up the volume. I’ve had to transcribe my fair share of muffled interviews too. But yeah, shame on 1050. They were being completely sensationalistic.

  • Grover

    With Gaudin, Mitre and Aceves the starting staff is covered. Adding up the roster spots with Johnson as the DH the only hole I see is the second lefty out of the pen. Dunn and done. I smell fear on RAB of not filling every position with star quality. I enjoy some of the insight, statistics and humor but like the lesser sites I see short term thinking and the same disregard for spending of the typical fan. Holliday would be a huge mistake and likely cost one of the front line starters and/or Mauer in 2011.

    • Tampa Yankee

      “I see short term thinking and the same disregard for spending of the typical fan. Holliday would be a huge mistake and likely cost one of the front line starters and/or Mauer in 2011.”

      Show me an article where someone (Mike, Joe or Ben) have said the Yanks should go after Holliday? IIRC, they are opposed to a deal for Holliday because of the cost in terms of $ and years and do not want to add another long-term contract. Going after high risk, high reward pitcher such as Sheets, Duke and/or Kelvim Escobar on a incentive laden, 1 yr deal is not the same thing. Spending a good amount on Chapman is totally different too.

    • Bo

      gaudin mitre and aceves?

      lets pray no one gets hurt then

  • Jake H

    I want both in the rotation. Make them earn it over Gaudin, Ace, Mitre. That doesn’t bother me at all. I think they should earn it but also I think they have earned a shot at pitching a whole year without restrictions.

    Plus it would free up money for the Yanks too if they both showed league average starting innings. Makes it easier for the Yanks to fill other position.

  • dkidd

    very few people on this site are calling for holliday

    if we have 10M to spend, i’d prefer capps and escobar to sheets. i’m ready for joba and phil to get a full year in the rotation. if aj and andy goes down, we live with one of aceves/mitre/gaudin

    • dkidd

      aj or andy

    • Stryker

      if aj and/or andy go down, why should they have to live with one of aceves/mitre/gaudin? if sheets and/or duke can be had for a reasonable base plus incentives for a limited commitment, i’d much rather they go for it.

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

      Escobar should be inquired upon regardless of the SP situation. As for the latter situation, I’d be more inclined to go after J-Dukes because I think he’d be easier to sign w/o guaranteeing him starts.

    • Bo

      have u looked at capps’ numbers? save totals doesnt mean hes effective

  • Kyle

    I know it’s not ideal, but what the harm in signing Sheets and/or Duke and letting Phil start the Season in Scranton? I realize he logged many innings on a World Series Champion team, but injuries happen to starting pitchers. This way Phil is the first call up, he won’t have to be “stretched out” and will be able to undoubtedly reach the 150 innings mark. Also, spending so much time in the bullpen last year stunted the growth of his full complement of pitches

    • Stryker

      i understand the sentiment, and it’s legit. i just think that hughes has nothing left to learn at AAA. sure it will help him stick to the every-5th-day thing and keep the innings going rather than an inning here or there…but he’ll plow through those hitters at that level and twiddle his thumbs between innings.

      at least if he stays at the major league level he can get experience and work on getting professional hitters out whether that’s in the rotation for half the year or in the bullpen or whatever.

      • Ed

        Hughes probably doesn’t have much if anything left to learn at AAA at this point.

        But the minors are about two things – learning how to pitch, and conditioning your body to pitch a full major league season. He’s got the first part down, but not the second.

        You’ll never build up the stamina to pitch a 200 inning season by pitching 100 innings every year. Joba showed us what happens when your innings progression is 110, 100, 160, and it got really ugly near the end. The team should do everything it can to avoid that sort of situation.

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

          The team should do everything it can to avoid that sort of situation.

          /waits for TSJC and the delay Hughes til May post.

          • Ed

            /Readies reply to TSJC “But then if he gets hurt, he misses his target. See Joba’s 2008 season. etc…”

  • Pasqua

    The way Michael Kay skewed this information is absolutely incredible. He spoke on his radio show, ad nauseum, about the fact that Cashman had definitively stated that Phil or Joba would be moving to the ‘pen. It’s always been apparent that Kay likes to stir things up and exaggerate, but his “reporting” in this instance amounts to an outright lie.

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

      I’d be willing to bet it doesn’t get corrected, either.

  • Reggie C.

    There should always be some financial flexibility at the trading deadline with a team fielding the amount of guys in their mid 30s as the Yankees are constructed. I hold my breath with Posada really.

    Anyways, financial flexibility falls in line with both Joba and Phil Hughes opening 2010 as starters. If the Yanks can land Matt Capps (as Dkidd suggested), i’d feel alot better that emergency starters Aceves and Gaudin won’t be worn out in ‘pen duty.

    • Stryker

      i’d feel alot better that emergency starters Aceves and Gaudin won’t be worn out in ‘pen duty.

      well, in all reality, how many innings do you think those guys would really get sticking strictly to pen duty? aceves threw 84 and gaudin threw 30 IP in their time with the yankees in ’09. aceves has a bit more because of multiple inning appearances before gaudin joined up with the team. gaudin took over more of that spot starter/mop up role once he was acquired. girardi likes keeping his guys fresh and knows they could spot start so i doubt that they’d get overworked.

  • Steve H

    I’ll continue to bang this drum. This only makes sense if it’s Sheets, as he would be our #2 starter if healthy(and a #1 on most teams). J-Dukes at his best will be our 4, 5 or 6 pitcher, and losing development for Joba or Hughes isn’t worth it. Sheets is potentially way too good to pass up because we want both Joba and Hughes getting 30 starts. I do agree with the notion that Hughes should be starting in AAA if they sign Sheets.

  • TopChuckie

    I’d have no complaints with a signing of Sheets or Duch at the right price and length, I preferred Harden, but I think in any event they should resign Wang to a minor league contract. Start Joba and Hughes in the rotation, in May Wang starts pitching in Scranton. If Wang shows he’s regained his form by June, if either youngster is struggling, I suspect Joba will, send him back to the pen for good, particularly if it’s Joba, and bring up Wang.

    If the Yanks didn’t still view both Joba and Hughes as starters, Roy Halladay would be wearing pinstripes right now. No way they refuse to trade a middle reliever for Halladay, especially if they knew he’d sign only a 3-year extension. They are obviously still hoping for much bigger things from both Joba and Hughes.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      …by June, if either youngster is struggling, I suspect Joba will, send him back to the pen for good, particularly if it’s Joba…

      No.

      For good? No.

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

      by June, if either youngster is struggling, I suspect Joba will, send him back to the pen for good, particularly if it’s Joba,

      Absolutely not. For either one of them, unless it’s really ugly. Neither one of these guys should be moved to the ‘pen until it is 1000% clear that they cannot work as starters and we won’t know that until at least this time next year.

      • TopChuckie

        I agree if it’s Hughes, but I’m starting to think Joba just doesn’t have the stamina to get the most out of his pitches as a starter. If he’s mediocre as a starter again this season I think it’s time to groom him as the future closer. Hughes I have a little more patience with because he was always more highly regarded as a starter prospect in the first place, he has shown flashes of brilliance as a starter, and just hasn’t gotten as much opportunity to show what he can really do yet, either due to injury or team needs.

        Joba appears to need that extra MPH to really be effective and I believe his temperament is more suited for the bullpen.

        • Zack

          “I believe his temperament is more suited for the bullpen.”

          No. This continues to come up, but the answer is still no.

          • Zack

            Recent SPs who had bulldog mentalities that their team foolishly kept in the rotation:
            Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Matt Garza, AJ Burnett, John Smoltz, and more and more and more and more….

            • Steve H

              Let’s go with some historical ones:

              Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Bob Feller, Tom Seaver………

        • Steve H

          He was extremely effective for 110 innings this year, which was his previous max. He struggled after that. That happens to 95% of young pitchers. No biggie. He doesn’t need that extra MPH to be effective, he was plenty effective sitting 92-94 as a starter this year.

          And the temperament argument is your worst of all.

          If his temperament is a “bullpen” temperament, explain to me how Mo has a completely different temperament, yet is the greatest reliever of all time? Makes 0 sense.

        • Zack

          “Hughes I have a little more patience with because he was always more highly regarded as a starter prospect in the first place, he has shown flashes of brilliance as a starter, and just hasn’t gotten as much opportunity to show what he can really do yet, either due to injury or team needs.”

          Joba was always a prospect as a starter as well, and Joba has also shown more flashes on brilliance.

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

          I agree if it’s Hughes, but I’m starting to think Joba just doesn’t have the stamina to get the most out of his pitches as a starter.

          This is what I don’t get. Joba just pitched a full season in the majors, something Hughes has never done. So, why would Joba struggle w/stamina?

          If he’s mediocre as a starter again this season I think it’s time to groom him as the future closer.

          No it’s not. It’s time to maybe start considering it, but I wouldn’t want him relieving until he proves he can’t be anything more than he is right now, which is verydoubtful.

          Hughes I have a little more patience with because he was always more highly regarded as a starter prospect in the first place, he has shown flashes of brilliance as a starter, and just hasn’t gotten as much opportunity to show what he can really do yet, either due to injury or team needs.

          Literally everything you just said could be said about Joba Chamberlain.
          –Was a starter in college and the minors
          –Has shown flashes of brilliance (see: 2008, middle of 2009)
          –Injured in 2008, development hurt by team needs in ’07. He never should’ve been relieving. Ever.

          Joba appears to need that extra MPH to really be effective and I believe his temperament is more suited for the bullpen.

          Does he, though? Just because he struggled after reaching an innings high doesn’t mean he “needs” the extra zip on his fastball to be successful. Control is far more important than velocity and once he can calm the walks down–which comes with time and experience–he’ll be fine.

          • TopChuckie

            Joba struggles with stamina per game, not per season, in that he has to back off a bit to make it to the 6th inning, which any pitcher would compared to being a reliever, however it appears to hurt Joba more than others.

            His early season starts were average, sure he struck out 12 in 5.2 IP, but he also gave up 6 hits and 4 runs. Is that an effective start? Walks got him in trouble a lot and pushed up his pitch counts. When he was able to limit the H/IP he negated it with too many BB/IP.

            For three starts in late July he was great.

            After that he was awful.

            Never said Joba wasn’t an SP prospect, just saying Hughes was a more highly regarded SP prospect. Phil Hughes was a top 3 SP prospect in all of baseball, Joba was never that. I just feel in watching them that Hughes is a more polished, well rounded pitcher than Joba. Hughes is a pitcher whereas Joba is a thrower, if you will.

            Never said you had to have a bulldog tenacity to be a closer, though I think you do, Mariano’s is just mostly kept inside. The Mariano argument is silly. Just because a guy might be too emotional to handle starting, that doesn’t equate to “you have to be very emotional to be a closer.”

            Also, if it were just temperament then fine, overcome it, but mix in temperament with decreased velocity and you start to have a problem. Joba clearly wants to blow away every single batter, and a starter simply can’t do that.

            • TopChuckie

              Sorry, Clemens did, so let’s take perhaps the best pitcher our our lifetimes, who was also roided up, and use him as proof Joba would be able to do the same.

              And all, or most, of those other “bulldog” examples were able to sit in the upper 90’s as starters, Joba clearly isn’t able. If he we able to consistently hit 97 throughout his starts, ala Verlander, then fine, but he isn’t, and because of that he is struggling a bit as a starter.

              Again, I am fully supportive of starting Joba in the rotation this year and giving him another chance, but I think it has to work this year or I’ve seen enough.

    • Bo

      if they viewed them as longterm relievers they probably would have been moved. now would have been the time to trade one of them when their value was at its peak.

  • Frank1979

    I know this may be a stupid question and I’m not sure if somebody has already gone over this, but if they were to sign Ben Sheets, when would he be ready to pitch? By spring training or a month or two into the season?

    • Frank1979

      Dammit, you guys already started a new post.

      Timing of my comment = Fail.

  • Bo

    If they sign another starter than its pretty easy to make the correlation that joba or phil will open the season in the pen.

    I dont think they’d be signing sheets or duch to put them in the pen.

    let the 2 kids battle it out to start off. not like they wont have chances thru the season.

  • yankeewanabe

    i’m pretty sure cashman would sign sheets/duch to set up a competion for the two rotation spots .

  • http://theyankeemanager.blogspot.com/ Francis Isberto

    Honestly, I would prefer Joba and even Phil Hughes to be inserted back in the bullpen. Both of them can start but they are more effective coming out of the pen where their innings are decreased.

    The bullpen will be outstanding with Mariano Rivera leading the way plus you got two set-up and long reliever guys like Joba and Phil Hughes. Add more guys like D-Rob and lefty Marte and you got yourself a super dependable bullpen.

    The Yanks should get 1 starter from the free agency pool and get one internally (Gaudin, Aceves).

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