Joba’s future as a reliever


Though the Yankees made us wait through over a month of Spring Training before deciding on their fifth starter, it appears that the decision had been made before the players even arrived at camp. We had seen reports during most of February and March proclaiming Phil Hughes‘s advantage, and that he would have to bomb in order to lose the job. Many of us, I think, didn’t want to believe it at the time. Why go through a year of restricting Joba’s innings and not give him a chance to pitch without limits? Reports this morning suggest that we’ll never get to answer that question.

It starts with Joba’s role on the 2010 team. The Yankees have played lip service to the notion that Joba could open the season in AAA to keep his arm stretched out, but again that doesn’t appear to have ever been a real option. Chamberlain’s job is pretty much guaranteed, in that he’ll pitch out of the bullpen. Whether he locks down the primary setup role remains to be seen, though I’m sure he’ll get every chance to prove he can handle the high leverage situations. In terms of playing for this year, that kind of usage makes sense.

This morning we learned a bit more about the Yankees’ plans. Steve S at TYU points to an interview with pro scouting director Billy Eppler, who said that while Joba could be a starter, he’ll be a reliever not only now, but in the future as well. “Yeah — in the here and now, I don’t feel I don’t foresee any situation. I mean, obviously that’s for Brian and Joe, but but I don’t think they foresee a situation where he would go into the rotation. He is going to be a reliever.” When asked if we’ll see the situation arise again next year, Eppler said that he “wouldn’t consider that likely.”

As Marc Carig reports, pitching coach Dave Eiland backs up Eppler. While he wouldn’t explicitly commit to this being a permanent move, he pretty much said it. “He’s in the bullpen, and he’s there to stay, period,” said Eiland. He did make it clear that there will be no stretching out of Joba’s arm should the Yankees need another starter mid-season. It appears Sergio Mitre and Al Aceves will be starters Nos. 6 and 7. With Chad Gaudin gone, it appears the Yankees’ depth has thinned considerably in the last week.

In regards to Joba’s role, I just wish they had given him a lengthy shot to prove he can start. But while I’m disappointed that they didn’t, obviously they believe that they can get more out of him as a reliever. In terms of 2010 the Yanks will certainly benefit. Joba will be another piece in a solid looking bullpen that will save plenty of games for the starters. In terms of 2011 and beyond, it means the Yankees probably have to go overpay for another starter, something Brian Cashman said he wanted to avoid. The plan, I guess, is to worry about that when the situation arises.

Categories : Death by Bullpen


  1. Stryker says:

    really really really don’t understand this; thought the yankees were finally thinking right with regard to developing top notch pitching talent. it’s sad to say, but i believe they effed up big time. it all makes me lose a little faith in the decision making process of this organization.

    • Accent Shallow says:


      I’m assuming they know something we don’t, but this seems like a really botched process.

      • Rob D. says:

        I’m assuming they know something we don’t, but this seems like a really botched process.

        I think this is an important point. I’m not saying I agree with making Joba a reliever, because I really wanted to see how he’d do in a year in which he had no restrictions. However, it is possible that the Yankees know something about him that we don’t, whether it be a potential for injury, a lack of preparation, or something that indicates to them he will not make it as a starter. They do have access to a lot more information about him than we do, so it is possible they’ve seen something that gives them pause.

        That’s the only way this whole game makes sense to me. It may not be true, but it’s how I’m going to justify it to myself so I don’t get too worked up about it.

      • Dan(Boston, MA) says:

        I think this is a great move actually.. hear me out.

        1) maybe they dont think he can progress from his consistent 5 inning 5 walk off and on performance..

        2) he will be more dominant in a set up role getting the ball to Mo.

        I also think this is a terrific move FINANCIALLY.
        - when Mo retires the yankee organization is not just going to throw a work in progress arm at the back end… they will have to go out and get a nathan/papelbon for 12-14 mil a season. its funny because the closer market is actually rising despite an overall drop in the market. they are becoming so valuable to teams.

        Chamberlain is still locked up for years at fairly cheap costs(even with arbitration). He will gain knowledge and experience setting up for Mo so when Mo finally retires we will have a solid closer to replace the great(hopefully).. AND without having to pay #1-#2 starter money..

        In the article it was said Cashman didnt want to have to pay for another arm in the F.A. market.. well this will prevent him now for having to pay heavily for a closer to come in and replace the great Mo.. Remember when Tino replaced Mattingly and he was getting heckled basically until the 96 playoffs??? imagine a papelbon/nathan coming in and dealing with it.. i think because Joba is a yankee he wont get shit from the fans at all.. its a win win situation boys and girls..

        think about it from a $$$$ standpoint and a talent standpoint.

        • Dan(Boston, MA) says:

          And I also think Chamberlain can be a dominant closer one day.. he has the mentality and it will prolong his career.. he did have injury problems before(why he fell to yanks in the draft).. plus it would be nice to see a yankee replace Mo.. not just some mercenary coming here for the $$$$$

        • I’m not going to completely flesh out a response that undoubtedly is already here somewhere in this thread (I haven’t read any comments yet aside from this one and the top two) but…

          With all due respect, I don’t think you thought through how value is calculated or at least translates on the field, in addition to the financial impact.

          *Young pitchers struggle. He could have struggled for any number of reasons but really, when you boil it all down, there’s no indication he wouldn’t be able to put it all together and be a solid starter. Unless, as you say, there’s some dubious information only they’re privy to that they haven’t released. Possible, but how likely?

          *Joba starting, and even being an inconsistent 5th starter, would provide more value in terms of production than an elite set-up man. Even a decent 4th/good 5th starter is worth more. Innings are important.

          *It’s easier to find bullpen pieces than it is a starter, so again, solely by positional dearth, you’ve squandered resources (again, assuming he can start).

          *Yes, his arbitration commands would be lessened as a reliever than as a starter, and he’ll still be cheap. He would still have been cheap if his role were a starter.

          Arbitration matches players based on an “appropriate” scale to contemporaries in terms of salary—as a starter he’d probably get a relatively small amount, but proportionate to his value, he’d be a greater net gain in terms of production/salary. A starter throwing 200 innings and 180 k in arb with a WHIP at 1.20 may make say…$7 million. A set-up man hitting the same arb. with an ERA of 1.90 and a solid k/9 (say 10.5) would probably make $3-4 million. The production you get from paying the starter $7 million is a better deal than the reliever’s.

          *Also, consider that the starting role Joba could fill is now possibly being filled by an expensive guy where he’s filling in at a spot that would be much easier to fill with other pieces. Patchwork bullpens can work. You also mitigate risk because an expensive reliever is as likely to implode as a cheap guy from no where. Starters are more consistent, more reliable, better and provide more value than closers. We all love Mo and all, but Javier Vazquez is worth much, much much more.

          *The Yankees might actually balk at going into the FA market for a closer, NOT necessarily because they want Joba there but because many guys can close and the guy at $2 million is often just as good as that. They’ve been reluctant to go after big name bullpen pieces lately, rather, they’ve been from within. It seems to have worked.

          *All of those other points are irrelevant anecdotes.

          • So, to sum up:

            Having Joba close maybe saves the team a bit from the standpoint that they’ve relatively cheaply filled the closer’s role. However, by doing that they’ve decreased his value and production and opened up a larger spot (a starter’s role) that will likely have to be filled by a FA that is much more expensive than what it would have cost to fill Mo’s role with another Free Agent. And the starter we’d potentially get in FA might not even be nearly as good as what Joba could have been, which could have saved $16 million+ that could have enabled resources to have been used more effectively elsewhere.

            And don’t look now, but there will be a lot of potential holes in the rotation in 2012.

          • marmeduke says:

            It’s great to see a post based on logic instead of reactionary. There’s little doubt that starting pitchers are much more valuable than relief pitchers and that a decent #5 is at least as valuable as a great closer. What has Joba done as a starting pitcher that has so many people up in arms? (and we need to keep in mind that some of the posts are by kids!) He has shown promise, for sure. But he has also shown a loss of speed, a stubborn attitude and a loss of focus. IF he is 100% healthy than he could mature into a fine starting pitcher. But that shoulder problem coupled with a loss of 4 – 6 mph suggests that there is an underlying health problem. I’m sure Cash, Joe and Eiland know a bit more about this than we do. And remember…at one time Mo was slotted in as a starter but the high command believed that his physical makeup was better as a reliever…that he would probably break down as a starting pitcher. Possibly, the same scenario is playing out here.

            • Although it’s quite clear that I’m very much in favor of Joba starting, you make a few good points. That start in Texas where he injured his shoulder is certainly a concern, both long-term and in respect to the loss in velocity. He could have a Verlander-like return in velocity, though frankly, he doesn’t need to be hitting triple digits to be very effective. He legitimately has four pitches, all of which could be plus or plus-plus pitches. The fastball, even with less velocity still generates a lot of movement. The issues I had seen were more with mechanics and pitch selection. Those are things that can be worked out. Would I be upset if Joba’s velocity didn’t return and his ceiling were thus lowered? Sure, but he doesn’t need it to be successful. Regarding the Mo situation: apples and oranges, man. Mo had 1.5 pitches and a slight frame with a history of injuries. Joba has four pitches a seemingly sturdy frame and again, some injury concerns.

              Their situations are very different.

              As far as attitude and a loss of focus, well, again, it’s not something we can really quantify (which makes it hard to evaluate and analyze), but again, that’s more likely to be a factor of his inexperience.

              Your larger point I think is key: if he’s healthy, he can be a fine starting pitcher. Not he will but he can. And based on the value that brings to both him and the team, until proven he can’t he should have been given every opportunity to succeed in that role.

              This is definitely a set-back, given what we (the public) know.

    • e mills says:

      I’ve been voting 6 on the confidence poll for quite some time….decisions like this are the reason why

  2. Steve H says:

    They clearly wanted Phil in the 5th spot, because there truly wasn’t a competition. I’m ok with that, but why not trade Joba in December, when his value would have been much higher?

    • Ed says:

      Indeed. Not trading him for Johan years ago or Halladay in the past 6-9 months or whatever else could’ve been done seems stupid now.

    • Slu says:

      This. There wasn’t a worse way to handle this situation, really. They jerked him around for over 2 years, hampered his development, minimized his value as asset, and reduced the impact he can have on the team. Completely boneheaded – especially if Phil struggles or there is another injury and we see Mitre in the rotation come June.

      And to think, he could have been the center peice of a deal that got Hallady.

      • No, the Blue Jays would have wanted Montero. Period.

        • Slu says:

          Source? Or are you a member of the Blue Jays FO? They didn’t get anyone like Montero in the current deal and Joba would have compared to Drabek. I’m not saying Joba definitely would have gotten Hallady. For all I know, they offered him for Halladay and the Blue Jays refused. But the overall point that Joba’s trade value is now at it minimum is a valid one.

  3. The plan, I guess, is to worry about that when the situation arises.

    What an awful fucking plan.

  4. The Yanks are trying to balance win now with win in the future. It’s not an easy thing to do.

    I know it’s blasphemy, but if they just see him as a reliever, they should probably trade him to a team that sees him as an actual starter.

    • I know it’s blasphemy, but if they just see him as a reliever, they should probably trade him to a team that sees him as an actual starter.

      The shitty thing is that their return will be very, very small at this point. Why would any team give up a good piece for a guy that the Yankees think is a reliever long term?

      • JGS says:


        Starters have trade value. Elite closers have trade value. Middle relievers, even good middle relievers, don’t. Since you can’t sell Joba as an elite closer because he won’t get the chance to close here barring injury, what could they get for him?

        • ..and that’s irrelevant if he performs for us, right?

          Why is anyone discussing his trade value? Is there some deal out there that I’m unaware of?

          • No, there isn’t, but like we say, everyone is movable for the right price and that includes Chamberlain. Now, moving him will bring back very little compared to what it would’ve just a month or two ago.

          • JGS says:

            The assumption is that if they viewed him like this, they should have traded him and their treatment of him has wrecked his trade value. Of course it’s irrelevant if he performs for us, as he no doubt will, and well. He will be fine in the pen in this year, but they could use Melancon or Robertson in the same roles and they would be just fine

        • Dan(Boston, MA) says:


          why would you deal Chamberlain for another prospect or 2??? so you can do the same thing with them.. deal them??

          this kid is young and his arm is electric in the pen.. f’k getting trade value.. this is the yankees we arent the pirates worried about a setup man costing us 25% of our payroll..

          let the kid setup and take over for mo if he has the stuff instead of giving Papelbon(whose a clown)13 million, 14 million a year…

          i want this kid to take over for Mo when he retires..
          A yankee… not some mercenary..

          if he has a 2.00 era and a k or more an inning as a setup man lets stick with him

          what Mo was to Wetteland..

          • Will in NJ says:

            Great plan. Instead of paying 13 million for a top closer, lets pay 20+ million for another starter because as of now the only guaranteed starters for the yanks in 2011 are cc, aj, and hughes.

            • The Big City of Dreams says:

              very well said I agree because you’d be paying more money for a starter. Cashman was the one that said you develop starting pitchers because the price on FA is expensive. And the thing about cash is why are his statements the exact opposite of those below him. If they don’t know what they will do just come out and say that. Sure ppl will be angry but it’s better than having a scout basically say he is a reliever forever and then a few hours later cashman says “I think he can do that(be a starter) right now actually”

              lol wtf

    • Stryker says:

      sure, it may not be an easy thing to do — but they were doing just fine. nothing about this move says “we’re balancing winning now and winning in the future”. if they believe joba chamberlain is a reliever indefinitely, they a) have no reason to believe this way and b) will have to sacrifice money and years to sign someone on the free agent market next season (whether it be pettitte, vazquez, lee, beckett – whoever) when they have someone who can clearly handle the job wasting away out there.

  5. Moshe Mandel says:

    “In terms of 2011 and beyond, it means the Yankees probably have to go overpay for another starter, something Brian Cashman said he wanted to avoid.”

    This is the biggest issue. They need to develop some cheaper arms to offset the big money in CC, Burnett, and whoever might be the #3 next year. Let’s call this what it is- a terrible decision by an organization that is back to having a lack of patience with prospects. Joba Chamberlain had ZERO seasons where they just let him pitch. I agreed with their moves at the time, provided that he finally got that chance over a full season. The fact that they didnt means they probably should have traded him at some point. It makes no sense. Pretty infuriating, actually.

    • Stryker says:

      Joba Chamberlain had ZERO seasons where they just let him pitch. I agreed with their moves at the time, provided that he finally got that chance over a full season. The fact that they didnt means they probably should have traded him at some point. It makes no sense. Pretty infuriating, actually.

      ding ding ding. perfectly said, moshe.

    • Jamal G. says:

      I think it’s definitely an unfortunate and disappointing decision, but I disagree that it’s terrible. If they are really going to keep him in the bullpen in 2011 when there could be as many as two rotation spots empty, their talent evaluators obviously feel he is not a viable starting-pitching option over the long haul – for whatever the reason. That being a logical conclusion, can you really damn the organization for this decision?

      • Accent Shallow says:

        We can certainly question why or how they arrived at this decision — even bad Joba was a viable starting pitcher for much of last year, and if he returns to 2008 form, he’s a potential number 1.

        Unless it’s a health issue, I really can’t agree with their conclusions, since he hasn’t looked dynamite in relief since the beginning of 2008.

      • Moshe Mandel says:

        Of course you can. This suggests that we can almost never criticize a team decision because they know more than us. Fans can believe the talent evaluators are wrong, cant we? We do it all the time, and damn teams for making certain moves, because the process used to reach that decision tends to be faulty. You know what I believe happened here? The B-Jobbers finally won within the organization. We knew there were plenty, but that Cash was holding them off. Not anymore.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          but if cash isn’t holding them off why does he feel the need to still wave the starter flag because it makes no sense. I hope he isn’t just saying all this stuff just so that joba has it in his mind hey if I do well in the pen then next yr I can move back to the rotation just like hughes did

  6. Thanks for the link Joe, always appreciated.

    That bastard Pete Caldera tried to pass this off as his own, an hour after I posted it.

    I’ll get you Caldera! (shakes fist)

  7. Jamal G. says:

    … obviously they believe that they can get more out of him as a reliever.

    This is why it’s hard to be upset with the organization. However, going of the assumption that different scouts have differing opinions, I hope Cashman and company explored every avenue to extract as much value out of Chamberlain (e.g., trading him), and placing him in the bullpen for the rest of his team-controlled service time was the greatest option.

    • Stryker says:

      the thing about this line of thinking is what it means not only in the realm of developing talent but for the future, as well.

      just throwing chamberlain in the bullpen as a guy who could have gone limitless in the rotation without a fair shot is lazy, impatient, and short-sighted. it also means that while the yankees have someone with joba’s upside ready to be inserted in the rotation for 2011, they will more than likely throw big time money and years for a free agent pitcher. it’s a waste of resources, if you ask me.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      It’s not that hard. If this was another organization, we would be laughing at them for not understanding that

      1) It takes time to develop young starters, AND

      2) A solid starter has more value than a great one inning reliever.

      Just because we placed trust in Cashman does not mean we have to discard that line of thinking, particularly when it seems that that trust was misplaced in regard to developing pitchers.

      The whole thing stinks. Watch them bring Montero up, have him DH and catch, have him allow a passed ball or two, and then move him off catcher for good. Back to being short-sighted.

      • But here’s the thing. The Yanks have ‘solid starters’ coming out of their ears. And they can always pick up somebody like Gaudin when they need to. But a ‘Relief Ace’ someone who can come in to high leverage situations and shut down the opposition can be extremely valuable at the margins, and that’s where the Yanks live.

        The Yanks have loads of talent. They’re not building a team, they’re trying to assemble the talent they have in a way that puts them over the top. For the Yanks, a killer reliever is worth more to them, since they already have 1-6/7 set. It’s about marginal gains, not team building.

        • Accent Shallow says:

          But when those marginal gains in 2010 hinder the team in 2011, and 2012, and farther down the road, are they really the right decision?

          • But they don’t. Next year they’ll sign Lee, the year after they’ll sign someone else or maybe Brackman/Betances will develop. I understand keeping an eye towards the future, but so much can change between now and then that you can’t hinder your chances at winning this year.

            • Accent Shallow says:

              And when Aceves or Mitre or Chan Ho freakin’ Park (note: for emphasis on how much Park sucks only) is starting games, isn’t that going to hinder the 2010 team?

              This really murders their SP depth. How necessary that depth will be, I have no idea — maybe the current five combine for 155 starts, and it’s all gravy. Maybe Burnett goes down in June and Pettitte falls off a cliff. I’d rather the guy with ace upside be plugged into that rotation, rather than Mitre/Aceves, whose upside is towards the back end. And it’s not just about upside — Joba is a better starter than both of those guys right now.

              As for the future, maybe Nova/McAllister make strides at AAA, but when you have someone who has already had MLB success, why shunt him off to the pen, especially when you’re going to need starters?

              • You’re talking to the wrong guy. I like Aceves as a starter. I even posted that the best 2010 team would have him as the #5 and both Hughes and Joba in the pen. Mo even did a follow up piece that crunched the numbers on it.

                • Accent Shallow says:

                  In that case we’ll have to agree to disagree — I can’t see Aceves outperforming Joba’s 2009, but that’s a conversation for another time.

              • Craig says:

                McAllister is going to be traded by 2011. Source: Myself.

            • Sweet Dick Willie says:

              Next year they’ll sign Lee, the year after they’ll sign someone else

              But that’s a potential waste of resources.

              It gets back to the basis of the debate, which is that starters are more valuable than relievers.

              To put that in perspective, last year, as a mediocre 5th starter, Joba’s WAR was equal to Mo’s.

              So if you have Joba as a legitimate starter for 2011, the resources that would have gone to Lee can be used elsewhere.

              It’s all about being efficient.

            • Slu says:

              This would be a fine theory if they ever successfully developed a starter. Hopefully Hughes works out, but trusting them to find someone else now that Joba is out of the picture is not likely, based on their track record the last 10 years.

        • Moshe Mandel says:

          If they were going to use him as a relief ace, I might be inclined to agree. But they said specifically that he will be a one inning guy, likely the 8th inning.

          About your other point, it is true for this season. For next and going forward, the Yankees are going to have rotation holes, and there is simply more marginal value to them in being able to draw that starter from the system rather than pay them, because starters generally cost more than relievers. Also, the Yankees as an organization have a lot more guys that can profile as good relievers. Joba and Hughes are pretty much all there is in terms of close to the majors, possibly elite starting pitching.

          • I have to trust Girardi will use him properly. If Joe has one strength, it’s managing his bullpen.

            • whozat says:

              Ok, but Joe was quoted yesterday (or maybe friday) as saying Joba would be a one-inning guy — because what if you want to use him again tomorrow?!?!

              It was in Feinsand’s stuff, i think. Probably elsewhere as well.

              They took 2009 Joba and, after a season in which he had a great first half and then hit a wall, turned him into David Robinson. Really, really stupid. If this has been the plan for months, as we’re now hearing, they should have built a trade around him. Hell, maybe they could have sent Joba to Detroit instead of Jackson.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        Yep thats what the yankees do which is panic when their players struggle. They all love their players when they perform well but watch what happens when they don’t. If the yankees can’t handle development then stop doing it. Stop coming out and say we understand its a process and it takes time blah blah blah. Obviously they don’t understand it takes time. They traded a-jax and I was ok with that because we got granderson. When they gave interviews talking about him they said they realize his power numbers are low and he strikes out a bit much but he’s a young player and he is developing. Yet when the trade went down all you heard or read in the papers was the yankees were worried he’d hit for power. lol.

        And you’re right about montero. You got guys like framcesa saying yankees don’t think he’ll stay at catcher. lol the kid is what 21 yrs old and hasn’t even had a full yr at AAA. Can he actually get a chance to prove he can’t do it

        Watch when Z mac gets called up. They all love him now but I bet you the same thing happens to him

  8. MikeBK says:

    i wish they would send joba to AAA for at least April to stay stretched out and build innings, but you are right that is a fallacy.

    in regards to phil does that mean to somewhat limit his innings he will basically be a 5 inning starter since we will have ace, joba, k-rob, chan ho and mo all out there to finish off his starts?

  9. Yankeegirl49 says:

    So on the day we find out Joba has been deemed a reliever permanently, we also find out IPK has a spot in the D-Backs rotation. Obviously different teams have different game plans…but this just does not seem right.

    • Slugger27 says:

      one has nothing to do with the other

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        tru they don’t but it does show you that the minute kennedy failed in 2008 he was banished forever in the minds of the yankees. He did battle a serious condition in 2009 but what happened to the kennedy they sold us on. They said he had 4 pitches, poise, and mound presence. They told us he was mature and was a thinking man’s pitcher. They claimed he had the right attitude but yet after his 2008 season all you heard was kennedy has an attitude(which he probably did) and the yankees are down on him.

  10. Jake H says:

    There are so many reasons why I don’t like this move. Just too many to even explain. This decision just proves that the Yankees are having a hard time developing a starting pitching prospect. While I like Zach McAllister he has the most upside on any of the pitching prospects in the upper minors. But his ceiling is a #4 starter.

    • Nick T says:

      McAllister can project to a 3 or possible #2 in some organizations, so there is talent there. Looking forward to seeing him progress in 2010 in AAA. Also don’t forget about Chris Garcia, if he can stay healthy I’d be surprised if he doesn’t make an appearance in the Bronx this season.

      Really wish they gave joba 2010 to go 200 innings, then if he doesn’t show capable (which he would have btw), then sure put him in bullpen in 2011. But 2010 should of been the year for Joba to show what he’s got starting. Oh well..

  11. Jamal G. says:

    After reading the Eiland quote again, I realized I missed something:

    We feel like he can be a good starter.

    If that is truly the case, and assuming “good” is generally above average, then this is about an awful a decision the Yanks have made in quite some time.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      Unless Eiland is defining “good” as “most likely a number 4″, this makes me twitch.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Cashman basically said the same thing he can start right now. Well the question is then why isn’t he? If he can start and ppl like cash and eiland feel that way then would it have been bad for him to spend time in the minors. The kid would be doing down instead of being kicked off the team.

  12. Simon B. says:

    Urge to kill…rising.

    Seriously, what a horrible screwup by the organization.

    It also makes me wonder just how much Hughes’s changeup has improved. It’s been in the gutter for three years, and suddenly becomes “great” after one spring training. I wonder if they’re just using it as an excuse, because Hughes secondary offerings haven’t been great for a starter’s repertoire (even his curve tanked last year).

    Joba was much better fitted to the rotation than Hughes, at least at this point. But no, THE BULLPEN! And Melancon, who as a reliever, has just as much potential, is still in AAA.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      I don’t think Melancon has Joba’s upside as a reliever.

      Of course, YMMV.

      • As relievers, I’m not sure their upsides are that much different.

        • Accent Shallow says:

          Personally, I’d take the guy who has had extended MLB success, and has a knockout slider.

          • Yeah, Joba’s likely to be better as a reliever but it’s with the caveat: as a reliever. In the bullpen, upsides aren’t very big.

            • My point is, Joba’s ceiling in the bullpen is a as a great closer. Melancon’s is as a solid/good closer, right? What’s the difference? Half a win?

              • Accent Shallow says:

                Well, there’s also likelihood of reaching that ceiling. Joba has a track record of success at the MLB level. Melancon does not.

                • Steve H says:

                  And if Melancon doesn’t pan out, he’s much easier to replace than Joba the starter.

                • The Big City of Dreams says:

                  @ accent swallow true joba is better of the two but no one has a read on melancon. He is still a young pitcher and the book is not yet written on him. Besides the yankees billed him as an 8th inning guy/closer. I remember when girardi put him in tough situations last yr. Why on earth would u put a young player in a position to fail especially against teams like the red sox. That is something joe does from time to time. Just because a guy is projected to be something do you have to put him there in his 1st or 2nd game. Does anyone remember gardner’s first career game when joe had him bat leadoff LMAO

      • Simon B. says:

        Honestly, upside as a whole is pretty limited as a reliever, so just because his stuff is a tier below Joba doesn’t mean a whole lot.

        Plus Melancon has some interesting attributes. He gets a ton of both Ks and groundouts, and he’s crazy efficient.

        • Nick T says:

          Prediction” Melancon will be this year’s Robertson and contribute 30-40 innings. Really like his makeup. Which is another reason why Joba needed to start this year, there’s a lot of depth in the bullpen.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            there is tons of depth in the bullpen you are right about that. Now of course joba in there makes it extremely good but it’s not as if they woul fail w/o him. Girardi is a master of the BP you mean to tell me he couldn’t string it together w/o him

  13. This better not be a return to the days of signing trash like Jaret Wright :(

  14. tbord says:

    One of the keys to the Yankee success last year was Phil out of the pen. SOMEONE has to replace him this year if another title is attainable. So why not Joba? It may be the a blessing in disguise both for the team, and for Joba. He has not been the same pitcher he was when he had Phil’s role. A return to the former Joba would be “most excellent”.

    • Jack says:

      One of the keys to the Yankee success last year was Phil out of the pen.

      No it wasn’t.

      • Accent Shallow says:

        This isn’t precisely true. Having Hughes play untouchable setup man helped quite a bit. It wasn’t the difference between winning the division and third place, or even winning the division and the Wild Card, but it was helpful. Plugging Dave Robertson into that role is a downgrade, but it’s not enough of a downgrade to take the Yankees out of contention, or even to make them not the AL East favorite.

        • Jack says:

          That’s what I meant. Did Hughes help them win a game or two they might have lost? Probably. Should he be considered a key to the team’s sucess? No, he should not.

      • tbord says:

        Even if Joba was left in the rotation, there is nothing in his past that guarantees he will be able to hold down a starting role. Phil, on the other hand has the pedigree. IMHO the Yankees made the correct call. Period.

    • So why not Joba?

      Because he’s a starting pitcher and the Yankees have at least two guys–Robertson and Marte–who can fill Hughes’ shoes (excuse the accidental pun). The step up from Robertson/Marte to Joba/Hughes is very small.

      Hughes pitching great in relief was, yes, a key to the team’s success but it was below a few things:

      1. CC being CC
      2. Jeter being Jeter/rebounding
      2. A-Rod being A-Rod
      3. A.J. having a solid season
      4. Tex being Tex
      5. Posada rebounding

    • Tom Zig says:

      One of the keys to the Yankee success last year was Phil out of the pen.

      One of them, yes. But most certainly not the main one. In fact Hughes sucked in the playoffs.

      Perhaps Joba will regain some aggressiveness and velocity out of the pen and then hopefully we’ll put him back where he belongs in 2011.

    • Do Not Feed The Trolls! says:

      A return to the former Joba would be “most excellent”.

      The starter who throws 97 and shuts out the Red Sox for 7 inns yes that would be great.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      “He has not been the same pitcher he was when he had Phil’s role.”

      what do you mean by that exactly?

  15. Paul says:

    Awful. They give the kid 15 minor league starts, in contrast to Hughes’ 63 mL starts, and they think they have enough information?

    All I know is I’m sending Cashman a big box of dogshit.

  16. jeff says:

    how are they gonna keep joba motivated to keep pitching well out of the pen if he already knows he has no chance at being a starter, which he really wants to become?

    • raisin says:

      he couldn’t keep his head in the game last year or accept management, this is Girardi’s revenge – let’s see how many signs Joba shakes off this year…

  17. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    Cannot be extremely confident in an organization acting in an apparent illogical manner.

    So, short of the Yankee brass explaining their logic behind this move, my level just dropped to 8 in the fan confidence poll.

  18. ledavidisrael says:

    I was hoping they were going to have Joba shadow hughes. Allowing them to essentially split the 5th starter role. With Joba maybe throwing another one inning here or there.

    This would allow them to two spots in the rotation (CC’s and the 5th starter) where the bullpen wouldn’t be lightly used.

    In addition to that. They could swap the two towards the end of the season when Hughes is hitting his Innings limit. This plan could keep Hughes & Joba at IP they should be at.

  19. Jake H says:

    Joba as a starer last year provided a 2.4 WAR and 6.8 million in value.

  20. Jake H says:

    Cashman said that Eppler and Dave D were stating their own opinions not what the organization will do.

  21. Simon B. says:

    What people don’t seem to realize is Hughes’s repertoire has a taken A HUGE hit between two years of injuries and a year in the bullpen. His curve, which was once an elite offering, was below average last year. His cutter is decent, but I don’t how far that will take him as a starter. His changeup, up until (apparently) this spring training was absolutely awful (he threw it like 10 times all last year and half of those were in the dirt). His GB rate was pitiful.

    I hope Hughes can rebound well, but Joba is still WAY ahead of him. Oh god, Joba had a slightly below average year as he was coping with a much bigger workload and reduced velocity. OBVIOUSLY CAN’T BE A STARTER! Proportionally, he was more impressive as a starter in 08 than he ever was as a reliever.

  22. Why go through a year of restricting Joba’s innings and not give him a chance to pitch without limits? Reports this morning suggest that we’ll never get to answer that question.

    I think there’s a pretty easy answer to that. The inning limits are about keeping young pitchers healthy, for whatever role you want to eventually use them. The Yanks could say that the fact that we are even discussing Joba for the bullpen or as a starter is because they didn’t blow his arm out at a young age. So it makes sense no matter which way you go.

    • whozat says:

      I don’t think anyone’s questioning the decision to keep his innings limited, but rather the bizarre left turn they’ve taken by consigning him to the pen seemingly forever, modulo Cash’s comments (which are comforting)

  23. YankeeScribe says:

    Maybe Joba has some physical problem that makes the Yanks cautious about using him as a starter now or in the future. His velocity hasn’t been the same since 2008.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      His velocity hasn’t been the same since 2008. that shoulder injury in Texas in 2008.


    • Greg says:

      After he got hurt I thought I remember Posada coming out and saying that he was too soft to be a starter. That he wouldn’t be able to handle the workload and predicted more injuries if he continued to start. I don’t know how much weight is behind the truth of those comments, but maybe they noticed it too toward the end of ’09. Just spitballin.

  24. Steve H says:

    I think the key to getting Joba back in the rotation is to have Phil pitch well this year, and hold up all season. He’s the only question mark in the rotation this year, if he’s not a question mark heading into 2011, then maybe Joba ends up back in the 5th spot as that seasons question mark.

    • YankeeJosh says:

      THIS! That’s the conclusion I’ve come to as well. If Hughes struggles this year or gets injured, the Yankees will have at most one young starter in the rotation again next year, and we’ll be having this debate again.

  25. Mike Pop says:

    This is unbelievable.

  26. James says:

    In terms of Starter vs Reliever. You get the sense that it’s Brain Cashman vs the rest of the organization. Everyone but Cash seems to believe Joba should be in the pen.

    and god bless c-money…but he is fighting a war that i don’t think he will win (though i wish he would).

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      If cashman is really doing that and just not saying these words to say it then I give him credit because as you said it seems like the faction that wants him in the pen is making more noise than they ever have before. I wonder if hank is still on the side that wants him as a starter.

  27. gxpanos says:

    The thing that gets me about this is this: What if Hughes has a crappy year starting? It’s not inconceivable. And the precedent is that if he does have a crappy year, the club won’t have any patience and in 2011 Cashman will have to sign TWO big FA starters.

    Sure, maybe they’ll have patience with Hughes, but now it’s irrational for fans to take it for granted that they will. The Gaudin thing and now this just makes me pessimistic.

    Also, will Hughes feel secure and comfortable? Or will he press because he thinks if he screws up, he’ll be shipped to the bp in 2011?

    aaaaaaarrrrrrrgh angsty.

  28. tbord says:

    Considering that Mo is now 40, his effectiveness can only go down. I would much rather see Joba as the heir apparent than Robertson, or someone else (god forbid the Chanmaster). Cashman and company ARE thinking ahead.

    • JGS says:

      Why? No matter what, you aren’t going to get another Mo. The difference between a good closer and a great closer really isn’t that big

    • The hole they’re looking to plug with this move is much smaller than the hole they’re going to have to plug in the rotation in the future.

      Also, as relievers, what’s the difference between Robertson and Chamberlain? Not a lot. At all. Their ceilings in the bullpen are, as I said before, great/good/solid closers, and there’s not much of a difference between those things.

      Finding future starters who are young and cost controlled to replace Pettitte, Vazquez, and (possibly post 2011) Sabathia is more important than finding a replacement for any closer, even if it is Mo.

      • tbord says:

        There is more than enough in the minors to plug the hole, not even including Aceves and Mitre. Nova, Mcallister, and later with Banuelos and Ramirez. Another year of development will close the gap and allow for a smooth transition when Pettite retires and Vasquez leaves. This is without considering free agent signings or trades. I would rather they go on this direction than getting stuck with a Lidge”mare”.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          but when those guys stumble wouldn’t the same thing happen again. I’m still waiting for alan horne to get here wasn’t he suppose to be aj burnett like lol

  29. Mike HC says:

    This one is tough to swallow but I guess the Yanks had to make a decision. I see Hughes as Joba’s equal in talent at this point, so I can’t argue with their decision either way. And if the Yanks continue to sign big money talented pitchers to fill up their starting pitching slots the next couple of years, then Joba probably should remain in the bullpen for the teams sake.

    But if Hughes can’t hold the starting job down, which he hasn’t been able to do in 2008 or 2009, Joba should the next one in line. If the Yanks truly go to Aceves or Mitre if they need a long term starting pitching option, then that will be the true travesty.

    • tbord says:

      It’s about time the Yankees finish what they start. Hughes is years away from his prime. The finished product is well worth the wqait – Growing pains be damned.

      • It’s about time the Yankees finish what they start. Hughes is years away from his prime. The finished product is well worth the wqait – Growing pains be damned.

        Define irony.

        • Joe D. says:

          Define irony.

          A bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.

      • Mike HC says:

        Except the Yanks disagree with you, evidenced by both Joba and Hughes. They are more likely to go to the bullpen than be allowed to go through”growing pains.” The Yanks will go to someone else if they are not getting the job done.

    • YankeeScribe says:

      Hughes would have been a starter on most MLB teams last season. The Yanks are just very impatient in developing young players…

  30. mikey pie says:

    I swear people just cant view this guy for what he is toady, not what he was 2 years ago or even glimpses of last year. This guy has absolutely lost his stuff, period. They brought him in relief yesterday and look at the swings guys were getting off him, NOBODY was overmatched by the great Joba. Ill bet my last dollar he never sniffs the 8th inning. This guy is meat and i have been saying since last year he needs to be dealt, but im sure every scout out there sees the same thing now and is value is zero. The great Joba has sadly flamed out.

    • tbord says:

      Talk about impatient Yankee fans! One outing out of the pen, and he’s meat. Give the guy a chance.

      • mikey pie says:

        Ummm…how bout the last 2months of last season and this entire spring, sad but true.Nobody was jerking his chain this spring and is stuff is non existent.MEAT.

        • tbord says:

          This is an argumwent that cannot be proved either way until the REAL season begins. Meanwhile, the real experts have made their decision. Embrace it!

        • Accent Shallow says:

          If he’s as bad as you think, he’ll be in AAA soon enough.

          (As an aside, if he’s pitching the eighth in Scranton, I will lose my mind)

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          the last 2 months of the season is when they started to mess with innings. I mean the kid was going on extra rest then normal rest then pitching 2-3 innings then pitch count and no pitch count. In the spring he didn’t pitch well and some of that is due to him having the flu and losing about 10-15 pounds but yet ppl don’t take than into account. Yet hughes gives up 3 hrs and they are all “wind aided.” He walks a coule of guys and gives up some runs in another start and they say yea but he looked so sharp. Lol that shows everyone right there they had no intention of letting joba lose the job.

    • JP says:

      Hes right…the guy has not been the same since that game in texas in August of 08…even when he came out of the bullpen at the end of 08, he looked like shit he was throwing the same fastballs he had in the ST game yesterday…I do not know if he will regain that pre-injury form and I have never seen anything like this…he just flat out lost everything…it has nothing to do with starting or relieving…in 2008 as a starter he was a flat out beast dominating everyone until that injury.

    • deadrody says:

      Yeah, totally lost his stuff when he was 7-2 with a 3.58 ERA through the end of July 2009.

      Do you guys even pay attention ? Joba didn’t start “losing it” until they started messing with his schedule and routine by skipping him and limiting the innings for his starts.

  31. deadrody says:

    Good lord, fellas, they are talking generally about THIS SEASON. He will not be moved to the rotation this season. Epperly goes beyond that, but he is the director of scouting and he is contradicting what has been said by both the GM and the manager.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      Well, since there’s no real baseball, we may as well wail and gnash our teeth, right?

      (You’re right, though, we do need to maintain perspective. For all we know, Joba turns into Scott Linebrink)

  32. Reggie C. says:

    Even if Billy Eppler wasn’t officially speaking for the organization, the man’s rank definitely gives us an indication as to where Joba’s future lies with the Yankees. Cashman is smart and he knows he’d further depreciate Joba’s trade value if a public statement were made along the lines that Joba wasn’t “starter-material.”

    I doubt we’ll ever get Cashman to say more than what he’s already said: “We view Joba as a starter in the bullpen.” At the end of the day, this news gives even more incentive for Zach McAllister and Ivan Nova to put the screws on AAA hitters. McAllister especially has a shot now as he’ll log 150+ innings. When Hughes puts up better numbers than Joba ’09, I think its 50% chance that Cash decides to fill a rotation spot internally.

  33. Will in NJ says:

    What really gets me, as stated by several other people before, is that they completely fucked around with his development for 3 years, and then don’t even give him a chance when the training wheels are off? And now the B-jobbers get to dance around and shout that they were always right.

  34. Trade Joba says:

    JUST TRADE THE KID ALREADY. Some team, somewhere, will give you more value than an effing reliever!!!

  35. Maybe we can trade Joba for Brandon Morrow and hire Bill Bavasi to head our player development.

  36. Trade Joba says:

    I’m really getting to the point where I hope Joba goes to free agency, signs with the Blue Jays or Orioles, and dominates the Yankees for 6 years as a starter.

  37. larryf says:

    How many starts/innings can our 5th starter get? We have a day off every week until July. Add in a few rainouts and I don’t see Phil getting many starts/innings. I think Joba will be in lots of games in the first half and we can make a better decision about his role and abilities come July.

  38. mustang says:

    “The Yanks are trying to balance win now with win in the future. It’s not an easy thing to do.”

    I think Rebecca has nailed it. Teams like:
    Blue Jays with Halladay
    Giants with Cann
    Twins with Johan
    Indians with CC
    And so on can take the development loses, they almost have to, because they don’t have the financial firepower the Yankees have.
    Maybe the Yankees are just happy with the fact that they develop a starter and a future closer.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      How are they planning for the future when Eiland said the only they are focused on is the 201- season and defending heir championship.

      “Maybe the Yankees are just happy with the fact that they develop a starter and a future closer.”

      if they want to develop a future closer then whats all this bs about he can start right now/we still see him as a starter

  39. mustang says:

    ” In terms of 2011 and beyond, it means the Yankees probably have to go overpay for another starter,”

    Yet they saved money by developing at least one starter and one future closer it’s all the way you look at it.

    • Trade Joba says:

      Cost of starter > Cost of reliever. I’d rather pay a reliever on the open market than a starter.

      • mustang says:

        Agree, but they are saving something.

        • Mike Pop says:

          Not really though. A relief ‘ace’ would get a 2 year 10 million dollar deal and an ace gets a 5-7 year 90+ million dollar deal. Even a lesser starter costs 20 + million.

          It’s just silly if they are really thinking of keeping him there forever. Especially after the last 2-3 years.

          • mustang says:

            Mike Pop,
            I must give you credit you are one of the true hard-core Joba starter guys who has commented in the last few days. There are certainly a lot of people missing in action in the last few days.

  40. mustang says:

    I’m just happy its over now we can go back to being happy Yankees fan holding hands in peace and love never to speak of this again.


  41. Fanta says:

    This is great news. Joba is a great reliever

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      he is??????? based on what exactly. Has he pitched yr after yr after yr going against the best of he best. Has he faced the same guys back to back days and blew them away both times. He hasn’t even had a full season as a reliever

  42. jsbrendog says:

    if they are sticking him in the bullpen fulltim i hope they trade him to a team that has him start and he wins a cy young.

    this is infuriating and really makes me lose a lot of faith in the front office’s ability to handle/develop young pitchers.

  43. Joe D. says:

    Gotta be honest, this makes all the sense in the world.

    The kid did only had Roy Halladay-lite numbers as a starter in 2008, and AJ Burnett numbers as a starter in 2009. As an under-25 pitcher. In the AL East.

    Clearly, the kid is a reliever.

    Clearly, the scouts and Yankees FO are seeing something that simply doesn’t show up in Chamberlain’s numbers in:
    200+ innings as a starter in college
    80+ innings as a starter in the minors
    220+ innings as a starter in the majors

    In those 500+ innings, on the whole, Chamberlain has easily proven he can be (ahem…IS) a decent-at-worst major league starter right now. As a pup, the clear draw from that is he has the potential to be a good-to-outstanding starter long-term.

    Truly, this is some Pirates or Royals crap.

    I expect better from the Yankees, and am hereby ashamed.

  44. Craig says:

    I was very upset about this when it was announced, but I have started to feel better about it over the past few days. Here’s why:

    1. We’ve already read the speculation that the Yankees are going to make a run at an OF and SP, perhaps Werth and Lee. Those guys won’t come cheap and won’t leave enough money left over to sign another starting pitcher to fill out the rotation. The Yankees NEED Joba in the rotation for the financial relief and his talent.

    2. Despite being in the ‘pen this year, he can still have a high innings cap next year – if he has one at all. There was a lot of talk about the Yanks setting inning baselines on career highs achieved several years ago (i.e., Hughes’ career high of 146 IP in 2006). With a career high of 164ish innings in ’09, a 180-190 inning limit seems more than reasonable – if not conservative – for 2011.

    Certainly, a lot of things can happen between March 28, 2010 and March 28, 2011, but I think we can expect Joba to be back in the rotation next year. It will be the shittiest and most scenic route ever taken, but I’ll forgive the Front Office if they get it right in the end.

  45. Charlie says:

    this shit is just making me sick at this point. terrible decision making and reasoning by the front office. i thought better of cashman. this was a complete butchering of joba’s value to the team and on the trade market. well done.

  46. Angelo says:

    Im going to sum up what most of us smart Yankees fans feel here:

    “I am genuinely pissed off that they Yankees gave up on Joba as a starter.”

    FO: Joba has no innings limit going into 2010.

    I am ecstatic.

    FO: Actually Joba is a reliever…We don’t know why we gave him limitless innings, no clue actually. Phil Hughes FTW.

    /Logic fail

    I can’t remember the last time I was this infuriated with the Yankees decisions. And we dont even get an explanation! What the hell?!

    • mustang says:

      “us smart Yankees fans feel here”

      Key word here “fans” not media, not players, not scouts, and not GM’s. The FO that has remade this team and returned it to championship form has made a decision and try to explain it if people can’t deal it that’s on them.

      • Angelo says:

        What has the FO explained to us? They have explained that Hughes will be a starter going forward? and the opposite for Joba? So whenever the Yankees make a move, we are not allowed to believe that they have come to the wrong decision? I forgot that the FO is always correct.

      • mustang says:

        At the end boys if they are carry that big ass trophy off the field it wouldn’t matter one bit.

  47. TheZack says:

    Why does anyone have any faith in the Yankees’ ability to groom a starter in the first place? What was the last starting pitcher the team developed that had any kind of lasting success?

    Andy Pettitte. And before him? Gator?

    This team, for whatever reason, simply does not or cannot develop starters. Lots get traded away, lots just don’t make it, and lots don’t get the chance they deserve because of impatience and the lure of signing FA.

  48. Max says:

    I’m frustrated, but only if he is not a starter next year. Eppler is big and a Cash guy, but Cash calls the shots. The Starter in Bullpen speech might be to up his value, but maybe, just maybe it means he starts next year. I bet they stretch him if there is a permanent (like TJ surgery) injury to the rotation.

  49. YankeeJosh says:

    What happens if Joba struggles in the bullpen? Will Eppler and Eiland still insist his future is there? This is just really disappointing to hear.

  50. MikeD says:

    If I thought Joba could be dominant out of the pen for the Yankees, as he was in late 2007, I could accept this move on some level. While it would hinder Joba’s development as a starter, it would at least greatly help the Yankees in 2010.

    The problem is I question if Joba can be a domiant reliever, unless he finds his 97-100 mph heater out of the pen, and the control he had over that pitch. I haven’t seen both since August 2008. He didn’t have it all last year, including when he pitched out of the pen in the post season, and he hasn’t had it in spring training. The B-Jobbers seem to accept without question that Joba will once again be the Joba of 2007 and ultimately replace Mo when he decides to call it quits. They’re about to be disappointed.

  51. yanksdefsux says:

    There are a few things that puzzle me about handling Joba. He did not make the starting 5 this year partly because of a lack of confidence and for that I blame the management. Being a two pitch pitcher (mostly fastball-slider), the management should have viewed him as a releiver turning into a starter.

    As a starter in 2009, my conjecture was that Joba tried a lot to “save” himself from injury and “pace” himself as he felt obligated to be in the game for 6+ inning when starting. Thereby, lowering effectiveness (caused by lack of velocity/command and intimidation) which resulted in a loss in confidence and hence poorer performances.

    It was partly a fault of the management that he felt this way. He should have been encouraged to be amped up from the start (it was definitely physically feasible to do that) and go for 4-5+ in each start (which in most case was what he did anyways with the “pacing” himself routine). That way over 30 starts he would have logged around a 130-140 innings and being amped up and us having a strong bullpen would have logged more wins than he did.

    • Chamberlain isn’t/wasn’t a two pitch pitcher. He had and used four pitches.

      • yanksdefsux says:

        But his effectiveness on the changeup+curve was well lower than the 2 he used as a reliever.

        My point being that his sucess in the big leagues was a result of his relief role, he should have been treated as a releiver turning to a starter in 2009.

        That is allowed to be strteched out from 3+ to 4+ to 5+ in 2009. That way he couldbuild confidence being amped up with lower expectations in the beginning to stay in the game.

        • But his effectiveness on the changeup+curve was well lower than the 2 he used as a reliever.

          Of course, that’s why those were his secondary pitches. However, they’re more well developed than Hughes’ secondary offerings.

          My point being that his sucess in the big leagues was a result of his relief role, he should have been treated as a releiver turning to a starter in 2009.

          What about his success as a starter in mid-2008 and through July of 2009? That sample size is much bigger than his relief sample.

          • yanksdefsux says:

            I agree with you that he did have success even as a starter, no one is disputing the 8 inning gem with the sox 2009, 7 inning shutout sox 2008 and some more.

            This is inspite of the numbers going in my favor over his big league career. He made 43 (12+31) big league starts and 49 (30+19) relief appearances and relief sample beats the start sample over 2007-2009 period.

            However, it would hard to justify the statistical significance of the difference in these sample sizes in my conclusion.

            I think it is hard to argue as a big leaguer Joba was more successful as a starter than as a releif man. That DOES NOT imply that he is a reliever. I just feel that that his stretching out in 2009 should have been done the other way round, where he would not have felt the need to compromise on stuff to pitch longer.

            Arm conditioning is necessary and was done for Joba, mental conditioning is needed as much and Joba, I feel needed that. Yankees lacked in providing that to him.

            • I think it is hard to argue as a big leaguer Joba was more successful as a starter than as a releif man.

              No it isn’t. His time as a starter (221.2 IP) is more valuable than his time as a reliever (60 IP). The fact that he was able to more than hold his own in the league’s toughest division at a young age is, to me, much more impressive than blowing guys away in the bullpen–most young SP prospects could do that easily (see: Hughes, Phil and Price, David). Chamberlain’s stats as a reliever may look more impressive, but that doesn’t mean they’re more valuable or more successful.

              • yanksdefsux says:

                Yes, a lot of young talented starters do well in the pen.

                Btw, a lot of the coveted starters do well in the first few starts (when they have not been seen by big leaguers for a stretch of time) and then falter later, so I could also argue you are reading too much into the spikes in performance in his first few starts than the overall picture.

                I dont think you can answer the “effectiveness”/”value to the team”/”success” by just innings pitched or number of appearances (that was the issue you raised before). So it makes no logical/statistical sense to invoke them to compare how effective he was in each role. The tough division part is sort of irrelevant in the effectiveness as he was as much likely to be a reliever in a tough divison as he was a starter. But more importantly, apart from gut feeling we cannot say without further analysis in which role he was more “effective”. But I actually agree with you, pls read along.

                But the bottom line is we agree. JOBA IS A STARTER. Only thing I am suggesting is Yankees did not help him make a stronger case with the Joba rules. His mental make up was of a reliever and he struggled with the transition.

                Here is an analogy: I am really good at math and my grammar sucks (as you can see). My mentor is trying to pick a book for me to read, he has two choices: Greatest Mathematicians of our Century or Pride and Prejudice. Assuming that both are grammatically sound, my mentor, I feel, should pick the first one for me. But the Yankees would have picked the second one.

                • yanksdefsux says:

                  In closing, they should have done one of two things: let him be a reliever who started. So we would see him starting for 3 innings.

                  Then on some day when he feels good, let him make the adjustment by going an additional inning more, which would be endogenously determined not told to him before. That would have been the way to stretch him out. So that he is not pressured with the inning limit in each game, and we were taking it one inning at a time as he pitched. teh rhetoric was all wrong in 2009 in handling Joba.

                  Second option would be to send him to Scraton for 2009.

                  Best for this year is SEND HIM TO SCRANTON. So that he remains a starter at which he will surely excel. All this is assuming that there isnt some information that is kept pvt from us fans, like some injury.

                • You’re not seeing Joba’s first half last year, when his ERA in the AL East was well under 4.00.

                  This is not a case of “…the first few starts (when they have not been seen by big leaguers.” It’s an entire half-season. And hitters saw him most of 2008, and the latter part of 2007 as well. This simply does not apply here.

                • yanksdefsux says:

                  Agreed, though that was again just anecdotal. My point was that judging whether he was more valuable more as a starter or a reliever cannot be settled with the naive stats that we are talking about. It needs more work. You and Matt could be right after a thorough analysis, that Joba was a a lot more effective as a starter in the first 3 years, but what evidence was cited by each is insufficient to conclude.

                  However, he has the stuff of a starter, in fact top of the line starter. We seem to be on the same page on that. Thanks for taking interest Matt and Andy.

  52. YankeesJunkie says:

    I am truly disappointed that the Yankees have decided to make a reliever this year and most likely for the future. However,someone had to lose this race and it was either Hughes and Joba, both who have a great potential. I am hoping that this is a one year deal rather than a career deal. Hopefully, Hughes goes out and dominates this year for the Yankees and Joba dominates as well.

    Another point. Now that we know Joba is in the pen, I don’t think he is the second best reliever on the team as David Robertson has shown to be great the last year in relief. At this point I think Joba should be the 7th inning guy. Either that or someone that goes out for two innings at a time rather than one.

  53. thurdonpaul says:

    I wonder if maybe a very smallllll part of the reasoning behind Joba in the pen is because Mariano is a free agent at the end of the year. We compliment Cashman on being a ninja, could this be in some small way connected to Mo ?

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Maybe, but there is no reason to be shocked if Mariano has two years left after this contract where Joba will be 27 by then.

      • thurdonpaul says:

        I should have expanded more on my thought. I meant if Joba is awesome out of the pen this year does Cashman use that as leverage when talking to Mo about his new contract ?

        • mustang says:

          mustang says:
          March 24th, 2010 at 4:25 pm
          A little different take on this how about if the Yankees, like I said yesterday, are looking for Mo replacements. At the end of the year the Yankees are faced with maybe having to give their extremely popular Fortysomething closer a multi-year contract. I’m sure they rather go year to year but what happens if Mo doesn’t want that. Enter Joba a popular player on his own that can fill in Mo’s shoes.?If the Mo’s contract talks don’t go the way the Yankees like they don’t only have a guy that fills in on the field, but with Joba they take less of a hit with the media and fans.
          Just a theory.

          • thurdonpaul says:

            Seems like we are thinking alike. Im not saying thats why Joba is in the pen, just that its an added little bonus. Possibly.

    • mustang says:

      Bingo give that man the prize !!!!

  54. mikey pie says:

    Joba replacing Mo is Fantasy Land….Joba wont replace Robertson or Park.

  55. WOWWWW the B-Jobber Lurkers are really out in force…

    If it’s true that Joba’s in the pen forever…

    Apologies if this was stated above, I only made it half-way through the comments above, but:

    What really bothers me about this for the short term is this: Hughes *is* still on an innings limit, even if it’s 160-170, and granted, he’ll be the 5th starter, but still–how many starts does this guarantee us out of Meattray? 5? 10? 15? Enough to cost us the division? Overreaction? Probably, but…

    As noted above, Mo-forbid any of the top 5 go down. Remember what happened last year with our backup 3rd baseman getting injured? And remember when our backup catcher had to play every day, a role he wasn’t used to, and he got injured? And when Aceves had a spot start, and wasn’t the same for almost a month? Admittedly, we don’t know for a fact that this was the direct cause, but it makes sense that suddenly placing a backup into a full-time position he’s not prepared for increases his injury risk.

    I really fear what happens when a starter goes down, then his replacement goes down, given that we’ve jettisoned Gaudin and we’ve apparently marooned Joba in the pen forever.

    Perhaps I should cancell[sic] my season tickets.

    /broncks teechur’d

  56. tommydee2000 says:

    Ahhh, Joe Torre, the gift that keeps on giving.
    Remember that the original Joba Rules were really the Torre Rules.

    They were imposed on St. Joseph in 2007 because Cash didn’t want one of his elite pitching prospects out of baseball in two months because Joba received the Gordon/Quantrill/Proctor treatment.

    If he hadn’t burned out all his original relievers, Joba would have remained in the Minors that season as a starter, and he would have come up after building his innings totals as planned.

  57. yankXfan says:

    Wow. Hey, forget the rationalizations, justifications, and outright excuses. Every person outside of NY knew Joba was a reliever because his stuff translated better there (or at least, never translated as well as a starter), but it took the front office to actually convince you of the same. He’s a reliever. He’s always been a reliever. He was always going to be a reliever. HE IS A RELIEVER.

    Man up and get use to that. Don’t blame our front office for your own wacky pipedream.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      so then the same thing can be said about hughes doesn’t he translate better to the bullpen then the rotation

      • yankXfan says:

        The difference between Hughes and Joba is the difference between Alba and Lady Gaga.


        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          so as I said before hughes is a reliever too. Like joba most of his success has come in the BP. He was been given a shot in the rotation early in the 07 and 08 seasons and got hurt both yrs. He was put in the rotation last yr and had a 5 ERA also hughes has stats worse or equal to joba when it comes to starting. So why is it that joba is a reliever but when it comes to hughes it’s not evem a discussion about him relieving

    • Rob in CT says:

      I see you’ve ignored 2008. He was a dominant starter in 2008, until the injury down in Texas. If this decision was about was keeping him healthy, I’d be more understanding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that way.

      I’d prefer he be sent down to AAA as a starter. That said, I’m worried that Joba will never regain the form he had pre-injury. Whether he’s a starter or reliever, the loss of stuff turns a potentially great pitcher into merely an ok one.

      Maybe the Yankees have decided that 2007-2008 Joba is gone for good, and they’re trying to salvage the situation the best they can.

  58. baseballnation says:

    This has to make Zach Mcalister really happing going into 2011 about his prospects on possibly nabbing a fifth strter spot if h continues to pitch well.

  59. Barry says:

    Oh how the mighty have fallen.

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