Feb
03

An old storyline for a new season

By

In two weeks, everything old will be new again. Pitchers and catchers will make their ways down to Tampa or Arizona. They’ll run; they’ll throw; they’ll have pitchers’ fielding practice; and everyone will champion the return of baseball for yet another year of America’s Pastime.

For many, Spring Training is the time to rehash old story lines. This player vows to have a better year. That player is in the best shape of his life. This team feels its their year. You know the drill. For the Yankees, Spring Training means … Joba Chamberlain Drama! Who would have guessed?

As we all know, Joba has been subjected to more hand-wringing over his development over the last three years than any pitcher should be. He come up to the Majors in 2007 when the Yankees were in desperate need of bullpen help, and because Joe Torre could not be trusted with his relievers, the Yanks instituted Joba Rules. Then, as they transitioned him into a starting role in 2008, they adjusted the Rules to fit an innings limit. Then, in 2009, when Joba still had to pitch to an innings limit and be ready for post-season service, the Yanks tried to cap his innings in August.

Throughout this approach, Joba’s numbers suffered. An ace starter in college and the Minors, he started out strong in 2007 and carried that through to August 2008 when he suffered a shoulder injury in Texas. For reasons never discussed — was he injured? did he change his mechanics? — Joba in 2009 never regained the velocity he had a starter in 2008. He struggled through a sub-par 2009, going 9-6 with a 4.75 ERA and just 133 strike outs in 157.1 innings pitched. His walks were up; his home run totals were; his effectiveness was down.

In the postseason, though, Joba seemingly rediscovered his form. He threw 6.1 innings over 10 games, struck out 7 and allowed just a pair of runs. He walked just one, and although opponents hit an ugly .333/.345/.630 against him in a very limited sample size, he seemed more aggressive on the mound. As many — including one who shall remain nameless — have assumed today, Joba isn’t guaranteed anything for 2010. He’ll face competition for the fifth starter spot, and many still would prefer to see the Yanks waste a live arm on some mythical game where the eighth inning is more important than the previous seven frames.

Joba, though, and the Yanks will have none of that for now. Chamberlain spoke yesterday with reporters and said all the right things. He won’t be on an innings limit in 2010, and he is set to fight for his starting job coming out of the gate. “It’s something that’s going to be a battle,” Chamberlain said. “The greatest part about it is it’s not only going to make guys fight for that No. 5 spot, but it’s going to make our team better. We’re going to push each other and continue to try to outwork each other. That’s the greatest part about this game; not only do you push one another to do better, but the team is going to be better for it. Whatever happens, happens. I hope they’re ready because I worked my tail off to get where I’m at and I hope they do the same.”

The Yanks’ brass have been committed to Joba as a starter, but the team is prepared to push him in Spring Training too. “We’ll put the best guy that we feel can fill that spot and give us the best chance to win,” Joe Girardi said. Does Sergio Mitre really fit that bill?

The Yanks will head to Tampa with Alfredo Aceves, Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin as possible starters, but Joba’s real competition is Phil Hughes. The Yanks’ other live arm emerged as the team’s primary set-up man last summer and would be all but guaranteed a rotation spot had the team not traded for Javier Vazquez. As it stands, one of those two will emerge as the front-runner for the spot, and as Hughes faces an innings limit, Joba has a leg up. Nothing is guaranteed, though, and Joba knows it. The loser of this fight will probably head to the pen until someone in the rotation gets hurt. For the Yankees, that’s a comforting luxury to have.

Categories : Pitching
  • bexarama

    Aaagh and just when the Johnny Damon chat was starting to get even more annoying than “JOBA TO THE PEN!!!” For so many reasons, I would obviously love for Joba just to be ridiculously dominant.

    At least we probably don’t have to hear annoying A-Rod debate, right? Oh, who am I kidding, the first time he pops up with a guy on third, it’s gonna start again. :(

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      i hate the fact that everything you say is true

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      When does the “Damon to the Pen” debates start?

  • A.D.

    I love the ST storylines of:

    hitter X got LASIK or New Rx
    Pitcher Y in best shape of his life
    Hitter Z added 10 pounds of muscle

    All for those players not to perform any better.

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

      The best ever was when LenDale White said he was in the best shape of his life AND lost 10 pounds because he gave up… tequila.

      • The Three Amigos

        In fairness no one got to see it while he was on the sideline and his teammate was beasting the league to the tune of 2000 yards.

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          The other reason no one saw it is that he sucks.

          • A.D.

            Well hes skill was being a bowling ball, less bulk hurt him

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

          his teammate was beasting the league to the tune of 2000 yards.

          Since he badly needs a nickname, I’m going to use your comment as a jumping off point and start calling Chris Johnson “AutoTune”.

          • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)
            • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

              (safe)

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

              Funny, but “cthulhu” will NEVER EVER catch on. Too obscure and hard to say.

              Chris “AutoTune” Johnson.

              Although, Johnson apparently bequeathed a nickname on himself already, so I may be too late. (I think mine is better, though.)

              Johnson split carries with RB LenDale White for the duration of the 2008 season. White finished the 2008 season with 773 yards on 200 carries for a 3.9 ypc and 15 rushing touchdowns. They nicknamed this RB tandem “Smash and Dash.” Smash referred to White due to his power, and Dash referred to Johnson due to his unusual quickness and speed. Entering into the 2009 season, however, Johnson dismissed the nickname of “Smash and Dash” and named himself “Every Coach’s Dream.”

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....ng_back%29

              • pat

                Now they could best be described as Dine and Dash.

              • Guest

                He already has a nickname. They called him “Sonic the Hedgehog.”

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

                  Hmmmm… that’s solid too.

                  I just love AutoTune, though. (Not the product, the nickname.)

      • A.D.

        Yeah, I thought that was great, not even drinking (or drinking heavily), just tequila.

        But given his job was to be the fat back, I wondered about it as a career move.

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

          I just assumed he was talking about Tila Tequila. It makes sense if you look at it that way.

      • ev

        More realistically he probably gave up smoking weed. He was a fiend for it in college (saw it firsthand) and continued when he resurfaced at USC parties after he graduated.

  • John

    I’m assuming your referring to Joel Sherman’s article this morning. Seems like he’s grasping for straws. Great relievers shouldn’t be relegated to the bullpen, point blank. He had one real effective year as a reliever in 2007, but that’s it.

    Not everyone is successful pitcher as soon as they start in the league. The only guy that has is Tim Lincecum. Did everyone say Randy Johnson and CC Sabathia should be a “set up” guy when struggling in the majors as a starter?

    By no means am i saying Joba is at that level, but he needs time to develop. The Yanks would be doing him a disservice if he didn’t start in the majors. I’m pretty sure any other team in the league wouldn’t mind having him as a No. 5 starter. I think its his spot to lose.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Jon Lester had a pretty good first season.

      • Thomas

        So did Fernando Valenzuela.

      • Steve H

        Joba age 21-23>>>>>>>Jon Lester 21-23. Lester blew up at 24. Joba will be 24 this year. I wouldn’t be surprised, at all, to see Joba break out the same way.

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

        Lester’s first year isn’t that great once you look back his W-L record. It’s about on par with what Joba did last year in fewer innings. The same can be said of his second year. Of course, the cancer throws off the comps, but Lester didn’t really hit his stride until 2009 — his age 25 season.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          I was thinking first FULL season. I guess it’s fair to count the partial seasons too though since that’s what we’re doing for Joba, so my bad.

      • DP

        Jon Lester’s ERA his first 2 years as an ML starter: 4.68
        Joba Chamberlain’s (starter) ERA his first 2 years as a starter: 4.16

        • DP

          Randy Johnson, first year of over 20 starts: 4.82 ERA
          Greg Maddux, first year of over 20 starts: 5.61 ERA
          Tom Glavine, first year of over 20 starts: 4.56 ERA

          • Steve H

            But did they have that bulldog mentality? (ignore for a moment that Maddux’ nickname was in fact, Bulldog)

          • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

            not to be an ahole, but these kinds of exercises are pointless. i understand the concept that some pitchers mature differently and take time to figure things out, and that others dont, and that we dont really know how they will mature, but a few cherrypicked stats (esp. from HoFers) shouldn’t be the reason we recognize that fact.

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

              They’re pointless to you because you already get it.

              Other people don’t get it, because they’re morons. Exercises like this are thus helpful to the critically moronic.

              • DP

                Bingo.

          • pat

            And none of those jabronii were making their starts in the alb beast.

  • DP

    They both had good ERAs as relivers riht?????? So wuldnt it make sense to put them both in the bulpen????

    /Mr. Lanny Yankee

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

      Sweet lemonade MMMM sweet lemonade
      Sweet lemonade YEAH sweet lemonade

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Peck Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        shuttup woman get on my horse

  • pat

    The main goal of Joba’s inning limit last year was to build him up to a point where he wouldn’t need inning limits anymore. I can’t see them undoing all that work and putting him back in the pen this year.

  • Kyle

    Is sending the Joba/Hughes loser to the pen really the right option? I think it is a fair assumption that at some point in the season Burnett and/or Pettite will go on the DL. With that in mind, wouldn’t the loser be best served in Triple A where he can develop as a STARTER and not have to transition back after growing comfortable in the pen. Hughes and Joba are both Starters! Treat them as such!

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

      You: preaching
      Me: the choir

    • bexarama

      I mostly agree but I think the pen might be a little thin without one of them.

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

        Marte, Robertson, Aceves, Gaudin, Mitre, Albaladejo, Melancon, Logan, Nova, Sanchez, WDLR, Noesi, Ring, Hirsh, Whelan, McAllister, Garcia… I bet we can assemble a fine 6 man Disciples to Mo out of that grouping without Hughes.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          There’s a chance we can see Z-Mac in the pen’ this year?

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

            Only in emergencies, probably. His ETA is likely 2011.

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

              Or if he goes all Melvin Croussett on AAA and has a 0.52 ERA by July.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                You’re not giving Melvin enough credit. His era would be in the negatives.

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

                  Well, Z-Mac’s not Melvin. He’d just be doing a tribute to Melvin.

    • Bo

      Problem is this team is ‘win now’ and it doesnt serve the team to have one of their 7 best pitchers toiling in Scranton.

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

        http://www.urbandictionary.com.....lification

        (“Win now mode” is a tautology. We’re ALWAYS in win-now mode, which means we’re also NEVER in win-now mode since later will eventually become now and we’re also in win-later mode. Win-now mode means something for teams who are not the Yankees. For us, it’s a meaningless concept.)

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          so, arky, can we just call it Winn mode?

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

            Ugh with the Arky. Don’t tell me YOU were Steve B.

  • dkidd

    what does giradi do if both joba and phil are dominant in st? vasquez to teh 8th?

    • Big Juan

      Andy becomes the second lefty out of the pen.

      • bexarama

        ANDY PETTITTE IS A STARTING PITCHAH!!!!

        • bexarama

          dammit someone used this already!

        • Bo

          This has been beaten into the ground.

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

            He’s so Bover that joke.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Rimshot!

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

              That joke is Bold. Boutdated, even.

    • Steve H

      CC. You pay a guy $161 million, don’t you want him pitching the most important inning? I mean seriously, CC in teh 8th!!11!! and Mo in the 9th, game is over after 7.

    • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

      I can’t decide if you’re misspelling “teh” in “teh 8th” on purpose, like ironically, as a way of mocking the great 8th inning debate, or if you just messed up. Part of me wants to believe it is mockery, but the other part of me believes that someone who misspells Girardi probably makes loads of routine spelling errors.

      Pls advise.

      • dkidd

        mockery! but my question was serious. if they both dominate, does phil automatically go to the bullpen?

        • dkidd

          is there a chance andy could be the odd man out?

          • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

            …what?

            • dkidd

              joba and phil are lights out in st. andy is meh. do they still plug andy into the rotation?

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

                Yes.

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

            is there a chance andy could be the odd man out?

            Is it true that if you don’t “use it”, you “lose it”?

          • JGS

            ANDY PETTITTE IS A STAHTIN PITCHA

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

          Yes.

          All ties go to the dealer, and Joba’s the dealer at the moment.

          • dkidd

            but does joba have to hit on a soft 17?

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

              Seriously, though, if CC, AJ, Andy, and Vazquez all put up Spring ERAs of 8.50, Joba puts up a 3.00, and Hughes puts up a 0.00 with three ST perfect games… Phil’s still going to the bullpen or Scranton. CC-AJ-Andy-Vazquez have their spots locked up already, fait accompli. The last spot is Joba’s to lose, but I don’t think he should actually lose it, no matter how much better Phil/Ace/Gaudin/Sergio look.

              It’s the smart move. You have to balance long term and short term. Not making Joba the 5th starter is a bad developmental decision that I doubt the organization would actually make.

              • dkidd

                that’s what i thought. would you rather have phil in the bullpen or scranton?

                • Steve H

                  Scranton. Interning at Dunder Mifflin, as he’ll only be needed every 5 days.

                • A.D.

                  Scranton, you can always put him back in the pen end or middle of summer, stretching him back out, if necessary, is a bitch.

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

                  Personally, Scranton, but I can see why the org would pick the bullpen.

                  I want him building stamina and refining secondary stuff, rather than pitching far fewer innings on an erratic schedule and going only fastball-curveball over and over.

                  The problem with Scranton is it’s no longer a challenge. The problem with the pen is, it’s hard to get him back out of the pen when he’s needed in the rotation and you’re severely depressing his innings.

                  My vote is for Scranton until he’s near his limit, then the bullpen for the stretch run.

                • ROBTEN

                  My vote is for Scranton until he’s near his limit, then the bullpen for the stretch run.

                  I’d like to second that vote.

                  Hughes has shown that he can get MLB hitters out at least once, perhaps twice, through the order with the fastball/curve on a fairly consistent basis. The key to his success as a starter is to continue developing the secondary pitches so that he can go through a lineup three-four times more consistently.

                  At this point in his career, the stats in Scranton don’t matter–we know what he is capable of. The “challenge” would be not getting outs or “wins,” but refining pitches. So, for instance, he could go several innings throwing nothing but the cutter/change-up, which he won’t be able to do coming out of the pen.

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

                  At this point in his career, the stats in Scranton don’t matter–we know what he is capable of. The “challenge” would be not getting outs or “wins,” but refining pitches. So, for instance, he could go several innings throwing nothing but the cutter/change-up, which he won’t be able to do coming out of the pen.

                  That.

                  The best thing for the Yankees big picture is for both Phil Hughes AND Joba Chamberlain to continue to learn how to use a full arsenal of pitches to get through 6/7/8 innings per start.

                  Loser goes to Scranton and just works on mixing and matching pitches, setting hitters up and making them guess wrong, throwing 110 pitches a night and going deep into the game, hitting spots on a consistent basis. If the Scranton hitters aren’t challenging enough, up the challenge by not throwing your best pitch that night. Or experiment with shit; try working as fast as possible. Maybe put runners on intentionally to test your sidestep/throwover routine and how to work out of jams. Try new pitches.

                  The idea that Scranton isn’t a valuable part of their development at the moment is a bit misguided, IMO.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  I third the “Scranton until the stretch run” vote.

                  We should make t-shirts.

                • dkidd

                  this makes sense to me

                  what we know:

                  phil can be a kick-ass bridge to mo

                  what we don ‘t yet know:

                  phil can be a consistently kick-ass starter
                  marte/robertson/melancon can be a kick-ass bridge to mo

                  let’s find out the things we don’t yet know

        • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Anybody’s guess. Sherman’s piece said that Hughes had the leg up on Joba, which is obviously not what you’d expect. I’d dismiss it out of hand as typical tabloid bullshit, but Sherman seems to have some good sources in the Yankee FO/braintrust, so it gives me a slight bit of pause to hear him say that.

          • Steve H

            If what Sherman said was true, maybe it’s just a motivation ploy for Joba. He is in ST already, so maybe it’s working. But again, it’s Sherman, so take that with all the grains of salt in the ocean.

          • Reggie C.

            Sad to say ’cause we’re all Phil fans, but Phil does not make the rotation better if it means that Joba isn’t starting.

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

              Phil makes the rotation better if he’s going to put up better numbers as a starter than Joba is. Your argument makes sense only if we assume that Joba will be better than one of the four other starters. That’s not a bad assumption really.

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

                But even if Phil makes the 2010 Yankee rotation better than Joba does, unless the difference is VAST, we’re probably better served taking a slightly inferior Joba as it makes 2011 and 2012 easier.

                Long term and short term. 2010 is not the only championship we want to win.

                • ROBTEN

                  Long term and short term. 2010 is not the only championship we want to will win.

                  /FTFY

          • Chris

            Sherman also floats the idea of moving both Hughes and Joba to the pen. When a statement like that is included in the column, I tend to dismiss everything else in the column as equally useless.

            • Steve H

              He probably wants them to resign Damon and put him at SS.

        • Steve H

          I think so, though I’d rather see him go to AAA to start. Like Lester in 2008, Joba no longer has any restrictions, which not only can effect him physically, but could have mentally as well. This year he just gets to go out and pitch. Breakout year.

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

    “We’ll put the best guy that we feel can fill that spot and give us the best chance to win,” Joe Girardi said. Does Sergio Mitre really fit that bill?

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-ni.....e/1198000/ (safe)

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      I watched that before, that is probably in my top 3 of SNL skits.

  • http://yanksdraftsandprospects.blogspot.com/ Jake H

    Joba should be given this year to prove he can’t start. If he pitches well and there isn’t any injury concerns he is a starter full time. Yankees might need 2 pitchers after the year if Javy leaves and Andy retires.

    • Steve H

      He should be given 3 more years, minimum. Seriously.

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

        3 years may not even be enough. He should remain an SP prospect until he gets it or he turns 30.

        • Steve H

          Agreed, whether it is injury or performance that hypothetically keeps him from becoming what he has the potential to become.

        • Reggie C.

          Heck … if Joba “only” becomes a serviceable 4/5 starting pitcher type, I’d still want Joba in the rotation. Joba has proven ability to K major-leaguers. He’d make any team’s back-of-the-rotation better.

          I’d love for Bill James’ projection to be dead-on (FOR ONCE) in regards to Joba , but I’m confident that Joba will bury the CHONE projection.

          • DP

            Honestly with about 40-50 more innings, I’d take the CHONE projection from Joba. His ERA would drop from 4.75 to 4.34, WHIP from 1.54 to 1.41, K/9 from 7.6 to 8.6, BB/9 from 4.35 to 3.85, K/BB from 1.75 to 2.23 and HR/9 from 1.20 to 1.06….all steps in the right direction (and certainly good enough for a #5 starter).

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          You guys know I’m with you in wanting Joba/Hughes developed as starters, but are we really willing to let either of them remain SP prospects until they’re 30, if they aren’t good enough to hold down a Yankee rotation spot before then? I mean, we’re talking about ~6 years, here. At some point I’d think you’d have to get some return on your investment by putting a guy into the bullpen. These guys won’t be under team control forever, I don’t see the point of being so rigid in wanting them to be starters that the Yankees effectively don’t get MLB benefit out of them before they either leave the organization or are already well into their prime years. At some point you’ve got to be a bit more pragmatic, no?

          I think the ‘they should be SP prospects until they get it or turn 30′ sentiment is a bit of an exaggeration.

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

            Perhaps only if they both start to regress.

            If Joba or Phil merely plateau at the level that they’re at, then no. Both Joba and Phil are totally servicable AL East 4/5 starters right now.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Sure. That’s all I meant, it’s just not quite as cut-and-dried as sometimes discussed around here. There could certainly come a day before these guys turn 30, whether it be due to their uninspiring performance or because the Yanks have otherwise improved the rotation, when putting one or both of them in the bullpen might be the best move for the Yankees. The idea that they have to be given chances as SP prospects until they’re 30 is too rigid.

          • Steve H

            If they can’t hold down a rotation spot, then yeah, move them. But even if they are 4/5 starters, I’d still give them time. And if injuries hold them back, I’d still give them time. Kerry Wood, who was much more susceptible to injuries didn’t get moved from the rotation until he was 30, because he was so much more valuable as a starter than as a reliever. Joba, and to a lesser extent Phil, have already shown that they can start in the majors. What slot in the rotation they fit in is yet to be determined. They are still very, very young.

            • Mike HC

              Using Kerry Wood as an example does not help. He clearly should have been moved to the pen far before they finally did. It was a mistake to wait that long, so why should the Yanks make the same mistake?

              Right now, the Yanks are set with Mo and an excellent top four starters, so it is really not a huge deal if Hughes or Joba pitch that well or not. When/if Mo, Pettitte and Javy retire, or injuries hit, then the Yanks will have to start making the real decisions. For right now, it is ok for them to keep their ultimate future in limbo. They are still very young guys.

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

                Using Kerry Wood as an example does not help. He clearly should have been moved to the pen far before they finally did. It was a mistake to wait that long…

                Disagreed wholeheartedly. The Cubs did nothing wrong. Wood was not an ineffective starter.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Yeah, but the Cubs also didn’t wait 6-7 years to move him to the bullpen once he started having trouble remaining a viable MLB starter for them. They only waited 2 years.

                  Enough with the Kerry Wood comparison.

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

                  The point is, that two year wait didn’t happen at 22-23-24. It happened at 27-28-29.

                • Mike HC

                  Yea. I was off on that one. Didn’t remember correctly or look up his stats. While it felt like it took the Cubs forever to move Wood, they actually moved him to the pen pretty quick after he started getting injured. I think the Yanks should emulate the Cubs. Can’t wait 6 years watching a guy struggle before you try something else. You can’t even wait 3.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  They didn’t not make that decision when he was 25 because he had no problems when he was 25… It’s not like they were faced with that decision and didn’t make it because they were patient.

                  Look… If I had a young pitcher, at 25, who was injured, I’d try to salvage him as a SP, too. But that doesn’t change the fact that this Kerry Wood comparison just doesn’t really fit the Joba/Phil conversation nearly as well as you guys think it does. The guy was an established MLB starter who was healthy until near the end of his age 27 season, who was put in the bullpen for good a little over 2 years after he first got injured. That’s not like what we’re talking about here with Joba/Phil.

                  It’s become a certainty that someone will start talking about Kerry Wood whenever Phil/Joba and the SP/bullpen conversation comes up, it’s like a knee-jerk reaction around here. But it’s a different situation, I don’t think the comparison holds up that well.

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

                  Also:

                  Yeah, but the Cubs also didn’t wait 6-7 years to move him to the bullpen once he started having trouble remaining a viable MLB starter for them.

                  How many years have Joba or Phil “had trouble remaining a viable MLB starter”?

                  By my count, it’s one single year: Phil Hughes’s 2008 when he began the year in the rotation. Every single other year thus far for both Joba and Phil, they’ve either A) been moved to or from the bullpen midseason or B) been on innings restrictions (sometimes related to point A), muddying the waters.

                  So, sure, once both Joba and Phil have had legit chances to be viable MLB starters and failed in those chances for 2-3 years, we can move them to the bullpen.

                  Those two to three years haven’t happened yet. By the time they happen and Joba and Phil fail, they’ll probably be around 30.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “They didn’t not make that decision when he was 25 because he had no problems when he was 25…”

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “How many years have Joba or Phil ‘had trouble remaining a viable MLB starter’?”

                  I’m not saying they should move one of them or both of them to the pen now or next year or anything of the sort, and I never said either of them have had trouble remaining viable MLB starters. I’m not sure why you’re arguing those points.

                  When you talk about trying them as SP prospects until they either make it OR turn 30, it sounds (and I think this is a reasonable interpretation) like you’re saying they should remain SP prospects until they’re 30, which is about 6-7 years, whether they’re hurt or underperform or whatever. So, prospectively, in the future… It sounds like you’re willing to let them work as SPs, either in MLB or MiLB, for 6-7 years, even if they don’t pan out as starters. I disagree with that assessment since I don’t think it’s nearly that black-and-white. That’s all I’m saying.

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

                  It’s become a certainty that someone will start talking about Kerry Wood whenever Phil/Joba and the SP/bullpen conversation comes up, it’s like a knee-jerk reaction around here. But it’s a different situation, I don’t think the comparison holds up that well.

                  I think it holds up a lot better than you are claiming.

                  The point of the Kerry Wood comp is the overall similarities in age. Kerry Wood wasn’t moved to the bullpen when he was Joba or Phil’s age because he was still a young developing starter who hadn’t yet established himself as a full-fledged MLB starter yet. Remember, neither Joba nor Phil are yet 24 years old. When Wood was 24, he was still struggling with injuries (like they are; like all young starters are), he still had yet to pitch 200+ big league innings or hold down a rotation spot for a full 33-start season, he had a career big league ERA north of 4.00 (in the NL, mind you), he didn’t pitch deep into games, etc.

                  When Wood was 24-27, the period of his career that Joba and Phil are both ENTERING NOW, he continued to be afforded the opportunity (in spite of his injury/stamina concerns and tantalizing bullpen potential) to be a viable MLB starter and indeed became one.

                  When he was 28-31, his body continued to break down as it always has and they finally pulled the plug.

                  The point is not “Kerry Wood tried and failed to be a starter for 6-7 years before they pulled the plug”, the point is, Joba and Phil haven’t even made it to their athletic primes yet, they haven’t even had the chance to really compete for a spot with their full arsenal and physical strength and stamina yet, they’re still works in progress, and before we even give them 2-3 years of full, uninterrupted, unhampered chances to be legit MLB starters (which would probably take them to their age 27-ish seasons), people want to pull the plug preemptively.

                  Phil and Joba aren’t full-fledged starters yet because they’ve tried and failed… they haven’t really tried yet. They’re too young to really try yet. After they try and after they fail, and after we give them a SECOND chance to try and fail, THEN we should pull the plug.

                  All that time means the plug probably doesn’t get pulled for way more than 5 years. I mean, at this rate, Phil’s gonna be on innings limits until he’s fully 25. You’ve got to give him a few seasons post-innings limits to make it before you move him to the pen.

                  That’s the Kerry Wood comp.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “The point of the Kerry Wood comp is the overall similarities in age. Kerry Wood wasn’t moved to the bullpen when he was Joba or Phil’s age because he was still a young developing starter who hadn’t yet established himself as a full-fledged MLB starter yet. “

                  That’s one interpretation of history, but it’s not one I ascribe to. At age 23, which was Joba and Phil’s age last season, Wood had already made 49 MLB starts and had a season, at age 21, in which he made 26 starts with a 128 ERA+. Neither Phil nor Joba has had that kind of success, as a starter, at the MLB level, to this point in their careers.

                  Also… Again, I never said either Phil or Joba should be moved to the bullpen this year or next year. You’re kind of straw-manning me. I’m arguing that the Yankees shouldn’t necessarily wait 6-7 years for a couple of guys going into their age 24 seasons to pan out as MLB starters. That’s not remotely like saying they should move either one of them to the bullpen right now.

                  “When Wood was 24-27, the period of his career that Joba and Phil are both ENTERING NOW, he continued to be afforded the opportunity (in spite of his injury/stamina concerns and tantalizing bullpen potential) to be a viable MLB starter and indeed became one.”

                  This would be relevant if I was arguing that either Phil or Joba should be moved to the bullpen right now but, again, I never came close to saying anything of the sort.

                  “When he was 28-31, his body continued to break down as it always has and they finally pulled the plug.”

                  You’re trying to portray this in a light most favorable to your argument, and in doing so I think you’re stretching too far. Kerry Wood, while he missed time as a 22 year old, was a healthy, productive number 2 starter for the Cubs from his age 24 season until his injury in his age 27 season. It’s not like he and the Cubs were constantly showing patience for those years until he just couldn’t take it anymore… He pitched, effectively, for a long time during that stretch. Then, he got injured at 27, couldn’t come back at 28 or 29, and was in the bullpen at 30. They pulled the plug after a bit more than 2 years of injury, after he’d been healthy and effective for 4 years. Not after 6-7 years, like you’re talking about with Joba/Phil.

                  “The point is not ‘Kerry Wood tried and failed to be a starter for 6-7 years before they pulled the plug’, the point is, Joba and Phil haven’t even made it to their athletic primes yet, they haven’t even had the chance to really compete for a spot with their full arsenal and physical strength and stamina yet, they’re still works in progress, and before we even give them 2-3 years of full, uninterrupted, unhampered chances to be legit MLB starters (which would probably take them to their age 27-ish seasons), people want to pull the plug preemptively.”

                  Ok… That argument can be made without the unnecessary, and I think inaccurate, Kerry Wood comparison.

                  And, again, I don’t want to pull the plug preemptively, I just don’t want to be locked into giving them shots until they’re 30 no matter what, nor do I think the Kerry Wood comparison is the best evidence for why the Yankees should be patient with them (and I do, in fact, think the Yankees should be patient with them).

                  And… Is it 27 now, instead of 30?

                  “Phil and Joba aren’t full-fledged starters yet because they’ve tried and failed… they haven’t really tried yet. They’re too young to really try yet. After they try and after they fail, and after we give them a SECOND chance to try and fail, THEN we should pull the plug.”

                  Agreed. But that point, if it comes (and I hope and believe it won’t), will probably be before they’re 30. And the reason why they should be given chances is not because ‘Kerry Wood was a starter until he was 30,’ that’s a totally different situation with a very different set of circumstances.

                  <I"All that time means the plug probably doesn’t get pulled for way more than 5 years. I mean, at this rate, Phil’s gonna be on innings limits until he’s fully 25. You’ve got to give him a few seasons post-innings limits to make it before you move him to the pen."

                  Agreed, basically… But probably not until he’s 30 and definitely not because of the Kerry Wood example.

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

                  Okay, fair enough… this bores me now.

                  :: fart joke ::

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Phew, same, thanks.

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

                  No problem… tubby.

                • http://iheartrerun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/rerun.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  New name-linky-thingie, just for you.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Kerry Wood comes up every time this topic is addressed, and I get why, but it might be time to put the Kerry Wood comparison to bed. Wood was moved to the bullpen because he couldn’t stay healthy in the rotation, but when he started having the injury problems he had already proven that he was an effective MLB starter and he was healthy until near the end of his age 27 season. So, really, it’s disingenuous to point to Wood and say ‘well look at Wood, they tried to keep him in the rotation until he was 30.’ They really tried to keep him in the rotation for 2 years, that’s it. 2 years. We’re talking about 6-7 years here when we talk about Joba/Hughes being given shots as SPs until they’re 30.

              The Wood comparison has big holes.

              • Steve H

                When I mention Wood, it’s strictly if Joba can’t stay healthy. I’m making the assumption that he has already proven himself as an effective MLB starter, but one who can’t put together healthy seasons. He only made 30 starts twice, at 25 and 26. I’m willing to bet if Joba makes 30 starts this year he’ll be an effective MLB starter. If his starts the next few years after this go 22, 17, 15 or something along those lines, then I consider the move. He’d still be younger than when Wood was moved,

              • Mike HC

                Yea, I agree that Wood is not a great comparison. He came into the league on fire and just could not stay healthy. Joba is completely different case.

              • Steve H

                Wood had TJS at 22 and missed the whole season, he was a starter, and injured from 2004-2006 so his injuries stretched over 4 seasons, 3 consecutive before they moved him full time. He did make some appearances from the pen in 2005, but they moved him back, full time, to the rotation in 2006, only for him to get hurt again.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Age Starts ERA+
                  21 26 128
                  22 – -
                  23 23 95
                  24 28 123
                  25 33 110
                  26 32 135
                  27 22 118

                  Yes, Wood missed his age 22 season. But then he was back at 23, and had a sustained run of success and decent health. I’m not sure why the age 22 injury is relevant.

                • Steve H

                  I think there are two different arguments. The Kerry Wood comparisons came up when there was concern over Joba’s health, that he couldn’t stay healthy in the rotation. Those concerns were unfounded, but in that case the Kerry Wood comparisons made sense. Don’t move Joba to the pen for health reasons, give him a chance to stick as a starter.

                  The Kerry Wood comparison was never about performance, just about health. Now that Joba has made 30+ starts in the rotation, the Kerry Wood comparison can be put to bed. But you and I both know, the first time Joba misses a start, the cries will come out that “Joba can’t stay healthy in the rotation, move him to the pen!!”, even though just about every starting pitcher gets hurt once in a while.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “But you and I both know, the first time Joba misses a start, the cries will come out that “Joba can’t stay healthy in the rotation, move him to the pen!!”, even though just about every starting pitcher gets hurt once in a while.”

                  Sure, of course… But whatever, I’m failing to see why Kerry Wood is relevant in that sense. No biggie.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Where do you think Hughes cap will go if it’s significant? I can’t seeing it being 2009 Joba-eqsue. And we know that the Yanks are willing to stretch our the limits like with Joba so I don’t think Hughes will really be at a disadvantage by a cap.

  • Don W

    I can’t believe no one in the media has covered the REAL Yankee story.

    Should the Yanks have signed Beltre so they could use A-Rod as a late inning pinch hitter????

    • bexarama

      Was someone seriously suggesting this?

      • Don W

        sarcasm fail

        • bexarama

          Oh well. Hey, ever since I saw people seriously suggesting “trading high” on A-Rod…

          • Don W

            If someone wrote an article describing the merits of having the ability to use A-Rod to replace a lesser hitter once a game in a high leverage situation there would be many who would be convinced it was the right thing to do.

            20% of the population are incapable of logical thought…40% of baseball writers.

        • Esteban

          The Yankees already have a replacement for Mo: CC Sabathia.

  • Mike HC

    The Yanks are stacked right now. If injuries don’t hit, which is obviously a huge if, the Yanks will roll out a top 7 of CC, AJ, Andy, Javy, Joba, Hughes and Mo. That is power pitching at its best. No matter what the Yanks decide to do, it will work out. The Yanks could put CC in the pen and probably be just fine, ha.

    Love this team.

    • JGS

      Mo is not the seventh starter

      • Mike HC

        Just top seven pitchers, period. Regardless of role.

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

    Here’s the only scenario where I’d be cool with Phil Hughes being the 5th starter over Joba Chamberlain:

    If Joba goes to Scranton. If the loser of the 5th starter ST battle goes to AAA and remains a starter, I’m good with either of them winning. If the loser goes to the ML bullpen, Joba has to be the winner and Phil has to be the loser.

    It’s more excusable to put Phil in the pen for 2010 because he has innings limits and Joba doesn’t. Putting innings-restricted Phil in the 2010 rotation and uncapped Joba in the 2010 bullpen is ass-backwards.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      …uncapped Joba in the 2010 bullpen is ass-backwards Mets.

      Fixed.

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

        /redundant’d

    • Steve H

      Agreed. And I would have to believe Joba is in the drivers seat. So for Phil to beat him, he would really have to perform great in ST, in which case we’d want him in the rotation. But yeah, only if the loser goes to AAA. If one of them were in the pen (and this would never happen), I would want their pitches called from the bench, forcing them to use ALL of their pitches, as to not lose feel. No shaking off from pitcher or cather, if we lose a game in May because Joba throws a change, so be it.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Isn’t ass backwards face forwards? Just saying.

      Otherwise, yeah, you’re right.

    • Reggie C.

      Barring a long DL stint or season-ending injury to a starter, Phil Hughes will certainly see a decrease of IP in a full-time relief role. I imagine Joe G. would insert Aceves, Gaudin, and Mitre to the rotation for spot starts before calling on Hughes.

      So keeping Hughes in the ‘pen results in the kid facing a significantly smaller innings cap in ’11 than Joba faced in ’09. Does this work for you in developing Hughes as next season’s #5?

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

        Yes, because the alternative is Joba decreasing HIS innings totals and being re-capped. We’ve come this far to make Joba a viable starter, we can’t undo that now.

        • Reggie C.

          Alright. I agree that Joba’s development as a starter takes priority over Hughes’s respective development given the progress Joba’s made.

          Though, regarding Hughes, its probably best for his development to start him in Scranton for a 100 innings, and then bring him up as a reliever for the stretch run. Is that your thinking?

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Join the club, we’re making t-shirts.

            http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-766315

            • Reggie C.

              Haha! I absolutely did not see that line of convo you guys had earlier. You guys said it well: “Scranton until the stretch!”

        • ROBTEN

          I agree; Hughes getting innings cannot come at the expense of Joba’s development. There are easy ways *cough*Scranton*cough* that both Hughes and Joba continue their development without impinging on each other’s progress.

          The question, though, brings up a question I have had–Verducci’s effect is used to talk about innings increases over previous career highs. It seems to me that the assumption, however, is that the rule focuses on a fairly linear projection–year one to year two to year three…

          What does it mean if Hughes does go to the pen again this season? Would it be fair to expect even a capped 150 innings as a starter in 2011 if his last year of significant innings accumulation will have been 2007? Would it have to be a lower cap? (And thus, another part of the argument that the loser of the 5th starter sweepstakes goes to Scranton?)

    • Ed

      Agreed – Joba to the pen is waste. If they’re sending the loser to AAA though, I’d favor Joba in the minors.

      ~7 weeks in the minors for Joba = Joba becomes a Super-Two after the season instead of normal arbitration eligible, and a Free Agent after 2014 instead of 2013.

      Half the season in the minors for Joba = Joba for the minimum next year.

      The extra year of team control I could see happening easily – we’re just talking a mid-to-late May callup for that. The other scenario, well, probably not likely, but I’d love it if the team was good enough that they couldn’t fit Joba on the roster.

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

        Works for me.

        If you can guarantee me that the loser of the Joba/Phil race goes to Scranton and not to the bullpen, I’ll totally happily accept either outcome.

  • Big Juan

    Sometimes, I read the fantasy baseball message boards over at ESPN (counterproductive to normal brain function). Today is the day I stop reading those boards:

    Being a Red Sox fan I’d much rather see Joba in the Yanks starting rotation then to a 7-8-9 of Hughes – Joba – Mo.

    http://sleekupload.com/uploads.....palm_4.jpg

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

      Meh, it’s not his fault that he’s dumb. He’s a Red Sox fan.

      His mother and father are first cousins.

      • Big Juan

        The worst part was that pretty much everyone on the board was in agreement with that statement.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        And one of them is a horse. And they were still first cousins.

    • A.D.

      I would too if for some reason Joba pushed CC to the bullpen.

  • larryf

    Speaking of Joba and capping, when is RAB taking a poll on Joba’s cap? Do we like the lid or not?

    • Reggie C.

      I honestly thought there was none. Its questionable whether Joba’s going to pitch deep enough in his starts to pass 180 innings. I’m sure Joe G. still has Joba on a subjective pitch count. Also, since Joba probably wont be starting in the playoffs, barring injury of course, there’s no need to speak of a cap.

      • Big Juan

        I’m pretty sure larryf was talking about his baseball cap…

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Really? Becasue I read it the same way Reggie did.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            If you mean baseball cap, I’m not a fan of the flat brim. Looks kind of stupid IMO.

            • Big Juan

              And it looks particularly stupid on Joba — a big white dude from Nebraska.

              I’m not against the flat-brim, but some guys just can’t pull it off.

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

                “And it looks particularly stupid on Joba — a big white Native American dude from Nebraska.”

                Fixed. Does that change the calculus at all?

                • Big Juan

                  Hmm…could Damon or Ellsbury pull off the flat-brim?

                • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

                  Crazy Whores.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  No.

                  But then, I’m biased. I dislike the flat brim on EVERYBODY.

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

                  Hmm…could Damon or Ellsbury pull off the flat-brim?

                  Johnny Damon is not a Native. His dad is Croatian/Irish (i.e. white), his mom is Thai (he’s a Vietnam War army baby).

                • Big Juan

                  Damnit.

                  Knowledge counter:
                  TSJC: 2
                  Big Juan: -1

        • larryf

          I was Juan. Sorry that my intentions didn’t come across. I was surprised that the tradition-bound Yanks let that go when Joba wore his baseball cap with the long flat lid. Was he the first? CC does the same I think….

          • Big Juan

            CC just rocks his to the side a bit, with a curve that’s a little off center.

            I don’t care about Joba rocking the flat-brim — dude just needs to get a new hat. The one he had last year was repulsive.

            • bexarama

              Wetteland did the same thing. It’s like, they think the cap has gone through the whole “journey” of the season with them, so they won’t “disrespect it.” Pretty gross and weird, but baseball players are crazy superstitious.

              • Big Juan

                Oh believe me I understand that. I refused to wear a different for my summer team this year after having a great season last year.

                But his head must sweat a ton to have his hat look that nasty haha.

                • Big Juan

                  *a different hat

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

            It’s all these black players Cashman keeps bringing in. They’re a bad influence on the clubhouse. It’s just like Omar Minaya with the Latins.

            Sincerely,
            Idiot Met Fans

            • Joe

              Are they really saying this?

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

                No, not to my knowledge (I attempt to avoid all human contact with Met fans as a precaution, so I’m not sure).

                But, they’re Met fans… the fact that they said it (and continue to say it) about Omar is disconcerting enough.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        I wouldn’t say that. There is certainly a chance he starts in the playoffs IMO if Andy has a significant decline and Joba takes a big step forward. Both are very possible.

    • pete

      I wouldn’t bother putting a cap on his innings this year, even if the yanks have one internally that they’re not telling anyone about (which they probably do). My guess is he’ll have enough rough patches that even in 32 full starts he’s not going to surpass 180. I am worried about the playoffs, though. I have to assume he’ll go to the pen in the playoffs if CC/AJ/Javy/Andy are all still going pretty strong, but there’s a solid chance that doesn’t happen. I think it’s virtually a guarantee that CC, AJ, and Javy start in the postseason barring severe injury, but I’m worried that Andy won’t be able to push himself that far. Of course, if the yanks are steamrolling the East, then they can give all of their starters some serious rest in september, but considering the improvements the sox have made and the upside of the Rays, I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Still, it’d only be 1 potential start in the ALCS and 1 potential start in the WS, so if it has to be Joba, it shouldn’t be the end of the world.

  • Bo

    After all they have done the past 2+ yrs with Joba to put him in the pen now would be pretty moronic. Even if long term hes a natural reliever. Which he is.

    After staying healthy (apparently) last yr he should be the 5th starter.

    The real issue is what to do with Hughes. And that depends on whether they think hes a closer or starter in the future. If they think starter he has to have innings. Could be as the long man. Could be in Scranton for 2 months. He wont get innings pitching the 8th. Otherwise they may as well just make him the heir apparent.

    Again if they thought both of these guys were relievers they should have traded one this off season.

    • DP

      ZZZZZZZZZZZ

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

        Even if long term hes a natural reliever. Which he is.

        Bartelby: “I do believe in this”… what does that mean?!

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

      Is that a movie quote???

      • Big Juan

        Is that a movie quote Robert???

        Slightly improved.

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

          BANGWAGON

  • pete

    I do think there is some debate on the issue here (at RAB), though. Some believe that, in the likely event that hughes, on account of his innings limits, doesn’t beat out Joba for the 5th spot, should go to the ‘pen, and others feel he should start the season in AAA as a starter.

    If he starts in the ‘Pen, it’s an advantageous position for the yankees to be in because he gives the 2010 team guaranteed value, rather than “if somebody gets injured” value, and because he bolsters the ‘pen and allows Robertson and Melancon to develop for another year without too much pressure on them. Also, and this is, IMO, the most convincing part of this argument, if Hughes is in the ‘pen facing MLB hitters in high-intensity strikeout situations, he can really hone his ability to execute “out-pitches” that will help him minimize damage as a starter, even if he goes through the inevitable bout of 4-5 inning starts because of it next year. This, I believe, helped Joba a lot in ’08 as a starter because he had spent about 3/4 of a season simply focusing on striking guys out. When pitchers have the ability to execute their repertoire of pitches to maximum effectiveness, they are able to frequently escape jams the way joba did as a starter in ’08.

    If he starts the year in AAA, there are two distinct scenarios that could come of it, each providing the yankees with another form of value. One would be that Hughes remains stretched out and one of the MLB starters gets injured, allowing Hughes to fill in. This would be helpful because A) it would help his development more to face better hitters than to stay in AAA, and B) he is probably a better starting option long-term than aceves/mitre/gaudin, whose performances would likely trend downward as a season wore on, whereas hughes’s would probably trend upward until he reached his innings cap. The other scenario would be that Hughes would spend all season in AAA, and this would be helpful because it would allow him to work on pitches that haven’t reached their potential yet as a starter without detriment to the MLB club, and it would allow him to stretch out so that next year he is able to handle a full-season’s workload if/when one or both of Andy and Javy leave next year.

    What it comes down to is 1) whether or not you think that Hughes being fully stretched out and ready for a rotation spot next year will be more valuable to his development than the improvement his repertoire will get from pitching in the ‘pen, and 2) is his value to the 2010 team greater in the ‘pen or as an insurance policy in the rotation? And then of course, if the answers to those two questions suggest opposite courses of action, which trumps the other?

    In my opinion, 2011-and-beyond hughes is more important than 2010 Hughes, because while there would likely be a dropoff from him to his replacement in either the rotation (6th spot, that is) or the bullpen in 2010, the dropoff from future him to his future replacement will likely be greater. The 2010 yanks are making the playoffs regardless of what happens with Hughes, IMO. His development as a starter is more important than his contribution to the 2010 team. Thus, I think the answer to #1 should take priority over the answer to #2.

    As far as which option is better for his development, I personally think it’s more important to get the innings stuff out of the way. He doesn’t need to be a good starter yet, or even within the next two or three years – but he does need to be a starter. I’m not convinced that there is enough evidence regarding bullpen-rotation switches to know whether or not it could be detrimental to a pitcher’s health, and the last thing we want is to ruin him because of injury. As far as developing major league strikeout pitches, I’m personally OK with that taking a year or two at the MLB level like it usually does with pitchers who don’t throw upper 90s as starters (and like it usually does with them, too). I really think that he belongs in AAA to start the year.

    And if Hughes does “beat out” Joba for the spot, I think Joba would have to not only suck in ST (a sample of 2 full starts is hardly enough to base a season-long roster decision off of), but there would also need to be pretty overwhelming evidence that he was in serious need of coaching and AAA, so obviously you’re better off sending him to the minors. If he’s bad enough to warrant losing a rotation spot despite the innings cap that hughes has, then something is seriously wrong, and sending him to the ‘pen would just be putting off the problem.

    What do you guys think?

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

      All of this.

      • pete

        the official TSJC seal of approval? love it

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

          Bask in the glory, my friend. Drink it in… it always goes down smooth.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

      For once I’m busy at work…so could you summarize all of this in 12 words or less?

      You know I love you, pete (no homo or remote tracings of homo?).

      • pete

        12 words or less? no. but i’ll make try to make it short and sweet: phil-to-pen will help phil become a better strikeout pitcher, but phil-to-AAA will stretch him out and allow him to start throwing full seasons as a starter in MLB as early as 2011, after a couple of which he’ll have developed those strikeout pitches anyway. Also, starting the year in AAA gives the yankees a better 6th starter, which, considering Andy’s age and AJ’s injury history, could prove more valuable than his spot in the ‘pen, where his replacements are the very capable Robertson, Aceves, and Marte

        • pete

          also, maybe we should avoid sayings like “no homo”?

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

            Agreed.

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

            That’s not a maybe. That’s a commenting guideline offense.

            • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

              Whoa. Apologies, it was meant as a cultural joke, not as a slight or anything like that.

            • Pepe

              I am happy to see that RAB has a zero tolerance policy. Good job, I thought I was living in the 80′s for a moment.

        • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

          All of these things I agree with. Thanks for the summary (and I apologize if it came off as rude).

          • pete

            you didn’t – that’s the problem

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)
      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        This one’s pretty batshit insane too, from Was Watching:

        http://waswatching.com/2010/02.....n-the-pen/

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

          Yeah, let’s put Hughes in the rotation – because we know he lacks a third pitch that’s required when facing a line-up more than one time in a game, and, we know that his fastball – as a starter – is more in the 89-91 MPH range and then requires pinpoint control to be successful. Makes perfect sense, right?

          Pull-ease.

          Hey, I have no issue with Chamberlain in the pen, if that’s what the Yankees want to do. But, what about having him in the pen with Phil Hughes?

          Sure, I know, there’s not a lot of room out there with Rivera, Marte, Robertson and Aceves…and perhaps Melancon and/or Gaudin. And, of course, there’s no room in the “budget” to acquire another starting pitcher like…say…Jarrod Washburn to be a fifth starter.

          But, the thought of counting on Phil Hughes to make 30 starts and provide 165+ quality innings, at this stage of his career, based on what we’ve seen from him so far, makes no sense, whatsoever.

          I didn’t think it was possible to disagree with that Joel Sherman article because you didn’t think it was stupid ENOUGH.

          I was wrong.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            But…but SIX INNING GAMES!!!!

            • pete

              it’s IMPOSSIBLE to lose in the first six innings!!!!

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                Well Hughes and Joba will MAKE us lose…DUH!!!!!!

                • pete

                  wait now i’m confused…so a starting pitcher can hurt you in the first six innings, unless your top 3 in your bullpen are good enough to cause the runs scored by the opposition in the first 6 innings to be reversed? oh wait i guess i’m not confused. nevermind

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  ANY pitcher will be better than those bums. Joba and Hughes AREN’T STARTERS, GET THIS IN YOUR HEAD!!!!!!

          • ROBTEN

            The “Waswatching” dictionary:

            budget – noun

            1. An estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future.

            2. Brian Cashman’s ridiculous alibi for not spending large amounts of money on starters going into their age 35 season in favor of unproven young pitchers and thus dooming the Yankees to failure in 2010.

            pull-ease – noun

            1. Lubricant required for masturbatory posts in which you declare that you are supremely smarter than Brian Cashman and that every move that he makes is so utterly and abjectly stupid that it should be obvious to everyone, but is only clear to you precisely because of how smart you are.

      • pete

        i care

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

        The only good thing about that Joel Sherman New York Post article was the link on the left hand sidebar to the gallery of images from a Lingerie Football League practice.

  • Hughesus Christo

    For the love of Mo put on of them in AAA. It’s so fricking obvious.

    • http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/mlb.alex.rodriguez.through.the.years/images/1993.alex-rodriguez.jpg Drew

      Absolutely.

      If the pen has issues that are seriously hurting our ability to win, and we cannot acquire a pen arm, then we can discuss sliding someone in there.
      The great thing about that is, we can and will acquire a pen arm if we have a crack in the Bridge to Mowhere.
      No need to thwart Huba’s progress.

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