Mar
17

Open Thread: Joba states his case

By

The internets were abuzz this morning with commentary about how Phil Hughes had grabbed hold of the fifth starter’s job following his shutout performance last night, which in turn meant that Joba Chamberlain‘s career as a starter was on borrowed time. There was talk about how he needed to man up, how he could end up in the bullpen or even in Triple-A, and there was a sense that the obituaries on his time as a big league starter were already written. But then something strange happened today.

He pitched well.

The box score shows three innings of one run ball with three strikeouts, but that doesn’t include the unofficial 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth in which Joba struck out two more. The run came in his first inning of work, when a well-placed blooper got past a diving Kevin Russo for a double, and a routine single by the next batter plated the run. After hitting 94 with his fastball in his previous start, there apparently was no stadium gun to get an idea of how he was throwing today. Regardless, he was impressive.

“Outstanding,” said Girardi of Joba’s outing after the game. “Worked quickly. Attacked the zone. He’s got to go out and throw more, and that’s what you want to see. Quality.”

This purported competition for the fifth starter’s spot is now three appearances old for everyone. It’s only March 17th, and all five candidates have at least two outings left before a winner must be declared. Hughes pitched well, Joba pitched well, Al Aceves has pitched well, even Sergio Mitre has pitched well. This thing’s far from over, folks.

* * *

Here’s tonight’s open thread. If you’ve managed to get into one of our six fantasy baseball leagues, do us all a favor and post your team name in the comments, so everyone can chat about their strategies and what not. The Devils, Nets, and Knicks are all in action, so have a blast.

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar, AP

Categories : Open Thread

262 Comments»

  1. mikebk says:

    do the yanks look to take a chance on elijah dukes?

    • rbizzler says:

      Yikes, my guess is that despite his talent, hey pass on bringing in Dukes.

    • I’d absolutely love to, but I doubt we do.

      As 5th outfielders go, though:

      Dukes >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hoffmann > Thames

    • My money’s on the Florida Marlins giving him a shot.

    • I would love if they went after Dukes. Tons of talent there. I have no idea how much a clubhouse or any single organization can do to curb a player’s recklessness or attitude, but perhaps an organization committed to winning would help. Dukes has had a tough life, from what I’ve heard. While that doesn’t excuse his past transgressions, I don’t think he’s beyond being saved. It’s not like he’s Mike Tyson.

      Sadly, I don’t think the Yankees would grab him, although he would represent a major upgrade over Hoffmann and Thames.

      • I have no idea how much a clubhouse or any single organization can do to curb a player’s recklessness or attitude, but perhaps an organization committed to winning would help.

        I’d bet that playing every day next to Jeter, ARod, Teixeira, Cano, Swisher, Posada, Granderson, Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Jazzy, Mo, Marte, etc. would be a huge boon to him. We’ve got a veteran laden team with more success than you can shake a stick at. I doubt he’d be a distraction, he’d just happily fall in line and try his hardest to fit in and win rings.

        • Mattingly's Love Child says:

          And if he doesn’t toe the line, they’d DFA him.

          I’ll admit, I got WAY too excited today when I saw this news. I wanted the Yanks to trade for him all winter. Now they could get him for nothin….

          But yeah, he’s probably going to sign with a team that would have less competition for a MLB roster spot.

          • To be frank, though, WE have less competition for a roster spot.

            Not only could Dukes easily beat out both Hoffmann and Thames for the 5th outfielder/25th man roster spot, he can also easily steal time from/eventually beat out Gardner and Winn for the starting LF spot.

            Signing with the Yankees would be the PERFECT situation for him. He’d be in a competition with Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, Jamie Hoffmann, and Marcus Thames for the 9th spot in the lineup and LF in the stadium. No pressure, tons of opportunity, tailormade recipe for success, excellent clubhouse with lots of winning and celebrations and pies and fun and shit.

            Dukes and the Yankees is a freaking match made in heaven. Bonus: we don’t even have a leftfielder of the future in the system to bump him off. If he has a good year, we can eschew all the pricey overpaid Carl Crawfords and Jayson Werths and just give 26-year old Elijah Dukes a moderate contract extension.

            • Mattingly's Love Child says:

              Stop it! This was my plan all off-season. Don’t get my hopes up! This makes way too much sense to happen!

        • Yeah, that was along my line of thinking, in addition to him probably not really being as bad as people make him out to be.

          I think it was he had talent and some maturity issues but for the teams the production wasn’t great enough to offset the maturity.

          That situation I’m guessing would not exist in New York. He’d have a veteran established clubhouse and wouldn’t be cast into a starting role.

          Still, I don’t see them jumping into the fray.

          • Mattingly's Love Child says:

            I think he’s probably as bad as people make him out to be, as much as I want him on the team….

            Dukes has been arrested at least three times for battery, and once for assault.[7] According to court records, he fathered at least five children with four women between 2003 and 2006.[7]
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Dukes

            • Manager Jim Riggleman, general manager Mike Rizzo and team president Stan Kasten all emphasized that the move was based on Dukes’ performance and was not connected to any off-the-field issues. Rizzo, though, did say he thinks Dukes’ departure improves the team’s makeup.

              “Elijah was great,” Riggleman said. “He’s done his work. He’s got no issues. It’s just a baseball decision.”

              Asked if any off-the-field incident could have precipitated his release, Dukes said: “Nothing happened. If something had happened, I’d know about it.”

              Indeed, while with Washington, Dukes appeared to have put his troubled past behind him. He had suspensions in the majors and the minors for various confrontations with umpires, coaches and teammates while in Tampa Bay’s organization; arrests for assault and for marijuana possession; and paternity suits.

              “He never got any of the bad headlines everybody feared when he came here, and I think he deserves credit for that,” Kasten said in a telephone interview. “If anyone says there was an incident, that person has no idea what he’s talking about.”

              Dukes’ Florida-based lawyer, Grady Irvin Jr., wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press: “Mr. Dukes has had absolutely no new off-the-field legal issues whatsoever. Despite the recent loss of his father, the past year has demonstrated that Mr. Dukes has continued his growth as a professional athlete, as a parent, and as a person.”

              Added Dukes: “All I’ve been doing is my job.”

              He was a bad apple, yes, but the Washington org maintains he has grown up and cleaned up his act.

  2. This purported competition for the fifth starter’s spot is now three appearances old for everyone. It’s only March 17th, and all five candidates have at least two outings left before a winner must be declared. Hughes pitched well, Joba pitched well, Al Aceves has pitched well, even Sergio Mitre has pitched well. This thing’s far from over, folks.

    Remember, though: Joba’s the dealer. All tiebreakers go to him.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Let’s hope the Yankees give him that spot. I have a gut feeling out of nowhere that even if it’s tied it won’t go to him.

    • rbizzler says:

      I am not challenging you on Joba being the front runner at all, but I was perusing the game thread over at LoHud and was surprised that the consensus over there is that Hughes has always been in the lead.

      Not sure if you have spent any time over there, but there are a few old-timers who dominate the discussion in a ‘get off my lawn fashion.’ One of the lead guys lives in Florida and claims to have sources associated with the org and likes to posture like he has inside info. He seemed to be leading the ‘Hughes is the 5th starter’ charge, while stating not that Joba belongs in the ‘pen per se, but that he could use a stint in the ‘pen to get his mojo back (his term) ala Hughes 2009. Granted, this is also a guy who called Cano a ‘dog with fleas,’ when he was slumping in early ’08 and was on his jock once he started hitting again.

      I just find it amusing that two dedicated and enthusiastic factions of the fanbase can be working under completely different assumptions.

      • kunaldo says:

        Are you referring to SJ44? B/c I was looking over there as well, and I saw him saying referring to Hughes as having the advantage heading into ST. Personally, w/o any actual references(saw none), I think it’s all BS and just based on the fact that they think Hughes’ “mentality” is more suited for the rotation, and therefore obviously the FO thinks the same way.

        I call BS. All actual logic points towards Joba having been favored since the beginning. We shall see though.

        • rbizzler says:

          Meh. I’d rather not call anyone out as I am glad to be rid of the pettiness that goes on over there, but you are incredibly warm (if not downright smoldering) with your guess.

          I have a personal nemesis over there that I deemed too stupid to respond to almost two years ago.

      • I am not challenging you on Joba being the front runner at all, but I was perusing the game thread over at LoHud…

        Big mistake.

        Not sure if you have spent any time over there…

        I don’t. LoHud is a fetid shithole of idiocy. I avoid it like the plague.

        • rbizzler says:

          LoHud was moderately tolerable before the old timers and chicken little’s chased everyone away. Mind you I was double-dipping between there and the early days of RAB (even pre-tommie, if you can imagine that), but I only read CJ for the updates and info.

      • Other facts, according to LoHud:

        *There are seven planets in our galaxy.

        *The Earth really is flat. Some guy named Friedman said so. It is a literal meaning. Suck on that dick, New York Times!

        *There are no such things as black swans. Similarly, what’s a red herring?

        *In any business, talent that provides the best value for their company should always be relegated to a role that best suits the inane comfort of others, and not the position that yields the best total value. This is why I have my secretary, who can type a gazillion wpm and is highly organized, cleaning the bathroom instead. I’ve replaced where she’d be most valuable with an autistic child with one arm. I feel more comfortable this way. Thanks, LoHud!

        *Only True Mailmen are allowed to deliver bills. Otherwise, the bills are invalid and they do not need to be paid.

      • T-Dubs says:

        While I’ve never commented over there, I will 100% agree with you on the commenters but I’m sort of in love with Chad Jennings (as has been noted).

    • This.

      He has the most upside, no innings limits, and the most complete arsenal.

  3. If you’ve managed to get into one of our six fantasy baseball leagues, do us all a favor and post your team name in the comments

    JesusMo&JoeDiMaggio

  4. Also, (and I promise to stop spamming)

    Freddy Sez likes himself some St. Patrick’s Day

    http://www.puristbleedspinstri.....z-slainte/

  5. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Here’s tonight’s open thread. If you’ve managed to get into one of our six fantasy baseball leagues, do us all a favor and post your team name in the comments, so everyone can chat about their strategies and what not.

    I was lucky enough to be in the second league and I name there is my handle. JobaWockeeZ.

  6. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Is there any truth to the Yankee officials believing Hughes to be the favorite for the 5th starter or was that just BS?

    I read about it all the time though I don’t remember seeing any quotes and such.

  7. Mattingly's Love Child says:

    Here’s tonight’s open thread. If you’ve managed to get into one of our six fantasy baseball leagues, do us all a favor and post your team name in the comments, so everyone can chat about their strategies and what not.

    MattinglysPornStache (h/t tsjc, I needed some help with a creative/funny name) in league 5, whatever the name has been decided upon

  8. YankeeScribe says:

    I like Hughes’ temperment more than Joba’s but I don’t think either pitcher has good enough ‘stuff’ to be a top tier starter

  9. Nick says:

    Question, how come everyone made a big deal to point out Hughes was so good yesterday against the Astros JV team, but when Joba faced the Phillies JV team, sans Ibanez (who he walked), people ignore it. Kind of odd huh?

  10. Eirias says:

    Somehow it seems wrong for the Mets to have such a good cutter-specializing prospect.

  11. Josh says:

    Murderer’s Row: League 4

  12. J.R. says:

    My name is Clean as Canseco

  13. To any Devils fans (and anyone else who wants to check it out for the novelty factor) who aren’t aware: The Devils are wearing the old school red/green/white uniforms tonight (MSG+).

    This is pretty awesome, it’s bringing me back to my childhood. I busted out my old John MacLean red and green jersey, signed by the whole team. Yes I’ve kept it all these years, and yes I know how lame this whole comment is.

    • It’s pretty awesome.

      Also, at risk of jinxing this game, we own the Pens

      • It really is pretty cool. It’s extra exciting since they act like the Yankees and refuse to change their uniforms or wear third unis, so this is a pretty unique thing they’re doing tonight. I have a couple of these old jerseys from when I was a kid… They’re definitely awful, but the nostalgia factor is exceedingly high for me. I really meant to get tickets for tonight’s game but I just kept putting it off and forgot about it. There have been rumblings that this will be an annual St. Paddy’s Day thing, so hopefully we’ll have more chances to take it in in person in the future.

        And yeah, fingers-crossed on the Pens thing. Team’s been showing some signs of life lately though, and getting Martin back is obviously pretty huge for them. Hopefully they got their bad stretch out of their system a bit early this year and can ride a nice stretch into the postseason.

        • Jimmy says:

          And Kovalchuk isn’t even clicking yet. Hopefully Lemaire settles the lines out this week. I like the Langenbrunner/Zajac/Parise and Zubrus/Elias/Kovalchuk arrangements. All complimentary players.

  14. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    http://cbs5.com/local/marin.ca.....66775.html

    “A screaming line drive was hit, traveling over 100 miles an hour, striking Gunner in the head.”

    Another metal bat incident, there’s a video on yahoo! as well explaining the incident. Pretty scary though, they really need to switch to wooden bats completely and permanently.

  15. So, question:

    The Celtics are wearing their special green and gold alternate uniforms (at home) in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

    Is gold an Irish color? No. Orange is. Why isn’t the jersey green and orange? When the Knicks play St. Patty’s home games, they drop Blue for green and keep the orange.

    What the hell does gold have to do with St. Patrick or Ireland?

  16. bexarama says:

    aagh Joba just can’t catch a break. Did anyone else hear what they (to be fair, I think it was just Harold Reynolds, known bad analyst) said about him on MLB Network? “He needs to get some outs.” What the heck did he do today?

  17. Joba pitched well because he came into the game in the 6th inning. That was the key to his success.

  18. Bill says:

    Joba is more work to do. My guess he starts the season in the bullpen.

  19. Ron Washington tested positive for using cocaine in 2009. In 2009, the Texas Rangers won 87 games.

    DID RON WASHINGTON’S COCAINE USAGE HELP HIS TEAM WIN MORE GAMES IN 2009?!

  20. V says:

    Bah, another league opens today when I’m not at work or at home. :shrug: Maybe next year.

  21. While we all have bitched about the absurdity of a spring training competition for the #5 spot, take a step back for one minute and look at it from an organizational and developmental standpoint. All of the pitchers involved (including the top 2) have parts of their game that they needed to work on and focus on correcting.

    -Joba has had trouble finding his fastball early in games, and hasn’t been very efficient as a Starter. His pitch selection makes you scratch your head at times as well.

    -Hughes has been working on changeup since he was in AA. His splits facing lefties as a MLB starter suck. He needs that changeup to take it to the next level as a starter.

    -Aceves needs to show he’s more than a back of the rotation starter/long man.

    -Mitre needs to show that he’s fully recovered from TJ and that he better than the pitcher we saw last year.

    Each of these guys have something to prove this Spring. Setting up a competition with the carrot of the #5 spot as the prize will get all of the participants to bear down and try to figure out what they know the Yanks are looking for. It can help them take that next step forward, and reports of Hughes’ improved change shouldn’t just be taken for granted, I think they know he wants to start and used that motivation to make him a better pitcher. It’s smart to do it now, in the heat and fog of the regular season it’s much harder to focus on these things.

    I think the Yanks deserve praise for how they’ve run this camp. Many other teams are just going through the motions, getting in shape for the season. The Yanks are looking to maximize every asset they have. This competition is part of that process.

    • Each of these guys have something to prove this Spring. Setting up a competition with the carrot of the #5 spot as the prize will get all of the participants to bear down and try to figure out what they know the Yanks are looking for. It can help them take that next step forward, and reports of Hughes’ improved change shouldn’t just be taken for granted, I think they know he wants to start and used that motivation to make him a better pitcher. It’s smart to do it now, in the heat and fog of the regular season it’s much harder to focus on these things.

      An excellent point that we may be overlooking in our narrow focus on our frequently discussed favorite players to love (or hate).

      The “competition” may have much less to do with Joba and Phil (guys who have things to work on but still know they’re going to have a prominent role with this club regardless) and much more to do with Aceves, Mitre, and Gaudin. Give them an incentive to work towards, and see if they respond to the challenge.

      • Thanks. Girardi loves to set up these competitions each spring, and has often said “it brings out the best in everyone”. It sounds trite (and it is) but that doesn’t mean he isn’t correct. I think it’s just another example of why they’re a well-run organization.

      • kunaldo says:

        I agree it’s a good point. But I wouldn’t say we ever disagreed with the concept of a friendly competition, if only to ensure that no one would take anything for granted. Having that carrot there is certainly important, but to think that a few starts in ST would bump up anyone besides Hughes or Joba to the #5 spot is naive, IMO. Unless the kids absolutely blow chunks, I would have to think that either one of them will be in the rotation, with the edge going to Joba.

        • I’m not saying the Yanks deserve all the credit for the players performance(s) but I do think they deserve some. When you see players taking a step forward in this context, it’s something you have to consider.

          Look at the Joba quote that Eric just posted:

          ““I give [Girardi] a little bit of the credit, because sometimes you need a little bit of a kick in the rear,” Chamberlain said.”

          • The unstated corollary of that statement:

            “‘I give [Girardi] a little bit of the credit, because sometimes you need a little bit of a kick in the rear,’ Chamberlain said.” The rest of the credit, the much larger part, I give to myself for being a talented pitcher with great stuff and dynamic ability. I’m the balls, and now I’m pitching like it, because I was bound to eventually regardless of any outside factors.

            Sincerely,
            Theoretical Joba Chamberlain

          • kunaldo says:

            I’m with you man, I like the idea of a competition too, no matter how nominal it may be.

            I was just saying internally the organization probably didn’t see it as a 5 horse race.

            Whatevs, I think we’re all on the same page.

  22. Challenged to “pick it up” and show the Yankees something special, Chamberlain answered the call with four strong innings of one-run ball against the Phillies at Bright House Field, keeping in competition to serve as New York’s fifth starter to open the season.

    Chamberlain worked so economically, the Yankees had to ask the Phillies to come back to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, even though Philadelphia had already put the finishing touches on a 6-2 victory. Given three more outs, Chamberlain quickly dispatched those batters, too.

    “That’s me — attacking the strike zone and being able to work on some things in certain counts,” Chamberlain said. “I just felt really aggressive. It’s one of those things where once you feel it, you continue to build from that. I think it’s a good thing from a mental aspect to build on.”

    [snip]

    “I give [Girardi] a little bit of the credit, because sometimes you need a little bit of a kick in the rear,” Chamberlain said.

    Girardi called Chamberlain’s effort “outstanding” and said that the right-hander used his fastball command and sound mechanics to get ahead in the count. That was what the manager had pushed Chamberlain to show in this third go-round, which will be given more weight than the first two.

    “I told them I wasn’t going to evaluate them a whole lot the first couple of outings,” Girardi said of his pitchers. “I don’t necessarily think that they had a lot of innings under their belt, and they don’t have the arm strength that they have at this point.

    “Their mechanics may not be as sound for some things that we’re asking them to work on. Now we tell them to go pitch, and it means more.”

    http://www.fanfeedr.com/mlb/20.....mly-in-mix

  23. ct_chris says:

    Joba will get the 5th starter spot for two reasons.
    1. Innings limit on Hughes while Joba is poised for 200 innings this year.
    2. More MLB experience – Approx. 290 innings for Joba to 190 innings for Hughes. In addition Joba has a 3.6 overall ERA while Hughes ERA has been 4.2.

  24. My new follower on Twitter: http://twitter.com/account/pro.....reflang=en (Probably NSFW)

    I’m open-minded but that’s just weird.

  25. Nostra, are you in one of the 6 leagues of The RAB 120™?

  26. nz says:

    If Mitre is a even a candidate, I will shit myself.

  27. JobaWockeeZ says:

    So apparently Cliff Lee is out for 4 or 5 REGULAR season games for an intentional head throwing. Wow.

  28. JGS says:

    “I think one day I’d like to become an actual pitcher”

    -Mike Pelfrey

  29. WOOO I HAVE POWER AGAIN!

  30. dkidd says:

    r.i.p. alex chilton

  31. Pasqua says:

    I feel dumb for posting it, but I’m at a crossroads:

    Have a keeper league, need to post my 8 keeps by tomorrow. This is a transition year for me, as some of my old reliables are getting older, but I’m petrified of wasting slots on younger guys who may or may not pan out.

    Definites:
    Pujols
    McLouth
    Werth
    Chipper Jones
    Roy Halladay

    Leaning Towards:
    J.A. Happ
    Mark DeRosa

    Don’t Know What To Do:
    Johnny Damon
    Juan Rivera
    Joba Chamberlain
    Wade Davis

    Do I hang on to the young pitching? Throw Juan Rivera in over Johnny (considering the likely production drop from JD?) or assume Johnny’s got one more run in him? Lose Joba (esp. if he ends up back in a set up role)? Whutchathink?

  32. chriskeo says:

    I’m the Jersey Crushers in the 1st league.

  33. Dirty Pena says:

    RAB Brackets?

  34. AJ says:

    Damaso Marte took a Buster Douglas right hand to the face today.

  35. bexarama says:

    this is a really silly headline, ESPN:
    Phillies roll as Pettitte’s Yanks debut falls short

  36. Tom Zig says:

    The box score shows three innings of one run ball with three strikeouts, but that doesn’t include the unofficial 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth in which Joba struck out two more.

    So really Joba pitched 4 innings, with 5 Ks?

    If so…AWESOME

  37. Mike HC says:

    Gritty Dominicans. League One.

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