Mar
24

Sherman: Hughes will be the fifth starter

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Phil Hughes, says Joel Sherman today in the Post, will be the Yankees’ fifth starter out of Spring Training. The team isn’t ready to make an official announcement, but the move has been all but decided since February. The job, says Sherman, was Phil’s to lose this March, and although Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves have pitched well during Grapefruit League action, Hughes, 23, has thrown as he needed to do in order to secure that final rotation spot.

Sherman offers up an extended take on the Yanks’ thinking:

But this was never a numbers contest. If so, Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre, both of whom statistically have outpitched Hughes, would still be in the mix. This was more about projection. The Yanks like Mitre and, especially, Aceves. But they view both as back-end starters who already have reached their ceilings.

They envision Hughes as a No. 3 starter or better depending on his ability to keep the aggressiveness he showed last year out of the bullpen while honing what, until this point, had been an unappetizing changeup. Thus, Yankee officials were elated Monday despite the poor overall line by how far Hughes’ changeup had advanced, both in its deception and his trust in deploying it.

The homers they saw more as a function of the wind and Hughes’ still gaining arm strength. His fastball was mainly 89-91 mph, and the Yanks anticipate several mph more over the next few weeks. If that comes along with the changeup, the Yanks really may have a No. 3 starter in the No. 5 spot in 2010. But, just as vital, they also may have a No. 3 starter in the No. 3 spot in 2011 should Andy Pettitte retire and Javier Vazquez leave as a free agent.

Now, I’ve been turning the news in Sherman’s column over in my mind all day, and I can’t come to terms with it. I’m a Phil Hughes guy, and I truly think he needs to have a chance to start. But this leaves Joba dangling in the wind. It throws into the Yanks’ ability to develop pitchers and their patience with young arms into doubt, and it makes me wonder just what the team accomplished after three years of highly-publicized Joba Rules. It doesn’t make sense.

Joba Chamberlain in August 2008, the night he injured his shoulder. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Joba, just 24, hasn’t been bad as a Major League starter. Over 43 starts, many of which were limited by the Yanks’ overly cautious approach, he has thrown 221.2 innings and has struck out 206. His 101 walks are on the high side, but as one of the younger starters in the league, he has done the job admirably enough.

The problem though has been in the way the Yanks have kept the kid gloves on. A full 17 of Joba’s Major League starts were shorter than 15 outs. In some of those outings, Joba was just bad; in one, he left after getting struck by the ball; but by and large, the Yankees pulled him due to an innings limit or a pitch limit or some kind of limit. They kept the leash on for a very, very long time.

Now, we hear that the Yankees are ready to end that experiment for now. Sherman sees Chamberlain in the eighth inning with Aceves and Mitre serving as the team’s sixth and seventh starters should the need arise. Just yesterday, I decried such a move. The Yanks should, if not going with Chamberlain in the rotation, have him log innings at AAA. The team has toyed with Joba for so long that he has finally escaped the innings limit, but now they’re going to take him out of the rotation entirely. Who’s steering this ship anyway?

Maybe Sherman is wrong. Maybe his reading of the tea leaves will have been for naught, and the Yankees will surprise all of the B-Jobber analysts who want Joba in the bullpen. Maybe the Yankees will wake up and determine that, after three years of experiments, Joba’s year to dazzle — or fail — without any sort of limit is 2010.

I’m not too optimistic though, and I have to wonder if the Yankees should begin to think about ways to maximize Joba’s value through other avenues. If they’re not willing to let him take his lumps in the rotation as a 24-year-old pitching behind four others good enough to be staff aces, then cut bait and trade him. As early as 2011, the Yankees will need starters who don’t have innings limits, and these constant bullpen/rotation back-and-forths need to end. Joba’s role in 2010 shouldn’t involve rooting for an injury to another starter or waiting for Hughes to reach an inevitable innings cap. He should be starting. Period.

Categories : Rants

425 Comments»

  1. Bronx Ralphie says:

    Joba will go where he belongs…to the bullpen

    • bexarama says:

      hmmm. why does he belong there?

      • Bo says:

        because hes MUCH better in that role

        • pat says:

          Wasn’t Hughes actually better than Joba as a reliever?

          I won’t wait for you to answer, so don’t worry about it.

          • Spaceman.Spiff says:

            Hughes has been better than Joba as a reliever.

            Joba’s been better than Hughes as a starter.

            No one seems to care.

            • Which is why B-Jobbers are irrational, regardless of how the Phil/Joba situation ultimately pans out.

              The decision tree of a B-Jobber starts with the idea of “Who is best in the relief role? We should put that player in the bullpen, where they’re most effective, and then put the other players in the starting roles afterwards.”

              That’s ass-backwards. Intelligent people don’t begin their decisionmaking process with the consideration of where Joba or Phil have pitched best; they begin their decisionmaking process with the question of what role is most IMPORTANT.

              That most important role is the starting pitching role. Joba or Phil being BETTER as relievers is both irrelevant and to be expected. Relieving is easier than starting. It’s also less critical to a team’s success.

        • Good point. Here’s an idea, lets make everyone a reliever and have them pitch one inning every game. It can go CC-Burnett-Vazquez-Pettite-Hughes-Park-Robertson-Joba-Mo.

          Championship!

        • Joe G. says:

          HE’S GOT THE FIRE OF HIS WINNEBAGO TRIBE ANCESTORS IN HIS BELLEH WHEN HE’S IN TEH PEN. HIS FOREFATHERS THEY DON’T WANT HIM STARTINK!! THEY WANT HIM TO RELIEVE… THIER ANGUISH.

      • Bronx Ralphie says:

        I am not trying to say that Hughes belongs there over Joba but Joba is clearly more effective as a relief pitcher. When is everybody going to jump off the Joba band-wagon?

        • bexarama says:

          Joba is clearly more effective as a relief pitcher.

          Right. So is every starting pitcher in history. How about we not give up on guys before they turn like 26?

          • Bronx Ralphie says:

            then it will be 27…28…so on and so forth. i can’t wait for everybody to say “you were right”

            • pat says:

              Hughes had better numbers than Joba while in the bullpen.

              • Hughes had better numbers than Joba while in the bullpen.

                Repeated for emphasis.

                If you think Joba should be in the bullpen because he’s a better pitcher there, you also think that Hughes should be in the bullpen because he’s a better pitcher there.

                You also think that Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals should be in the bullpen because he’s a better pitcher there.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  B-Jobbers tend to disappear when the fact that Hughes was better than Joba in the bullpen and Joba’s been better as a starter than Hughes is brought up. Quite mysterious….

            • OldYanksFan says:

              Ralphie… there are only 3 rules for deveoping Relievers:
              1) Failed Starters go to the BP
              2) Failed Starters go to the BP
              3) Failed Starters go to the BP

              Joba should go to the BP ONLY if/when he fails as a Starter. So far, even with all the jerking around and his limited pitching history, he has posted above League Average numbers as a starter.

              Joba is probably better then Andy right now. As a starter, he is probably worth $12m-$15m. You don’t just throw that away.

        • RollingWave says:

          Pitcher A:

          as a starter : 5.22 ERA .778 OPS against
          as a reliever: 1.40 ERA .456 OPS against

          Pitcher B:

          as a starter : 4.18 ERA .759 OPS against
          as a reliever: 1.50 ERA .512 OPS against

          guess which one is Phil and Which one is Joba.

  2. I agree with everything expressed in this post.

  3. Joel Sherman, what can I say about that column… that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan.

  4. Oooooh, grey picture caption boxes.

    Snazzy. Ben, you are the sizzle.

  5. Bo says:

    The FO obviously thinks Joba is a reliever long term and they acted. Cant say I disagree with them since its apparent that he is much better out of the pen.

  6. Nady Nation says:

    This would truly be baffling. What was the point of all those abbreviated starts last year? Did the organization really change its stance that Joba shouldn’t be a full-time starter based on the last 2 months of ’09, during which he was pitching in unchartered territory innings-wise? Gotta admit, if this is the case, I’d lose some faith in the front office.

  7. Beamish says:

    I think the 8th inning comment is just part and parcel of the mistaken belief that the “loser” of the 5th Starter battle must logically be bound for the bullpen because they both pitched there once.

    I just pray the Yankees show the reporters and B-Jobbers that they know they have two starters to develop and so the “loser” is bound for AAA. Best of all, Joba in the Scranton/WB rotation can be brought up for spot starts and sent back through most of the season.

    • radnom says:


      I think the 8th inning comment is just part and parcel of the mistaken belief that the “loser” of the 5th Starter battle must logically be bound for the bullpen because they both pitched there once.

      No. It is because the Yankees have repeatedly said that neither of them is going to AAA. You are deluding yourself if you think otherwise. The Yankees are not going to send Joba to the AAA rotation after a full year starting at the bigs.

      • Chris says:

        No. It is because the Yankees have repeatedly said that neither of them is going to AAA.

        The Yankees have never said that. The closest they’ve come is when Cashman said that he would be comfortable with either of them pitching out of the pen this year.

        • radnom says:

          That is just a complete falsehood.


          That process is just around the corner, and Girardi knows that someone of that group of five will be taking a gut-punch when the bad news comes down. There are only so many pegs to plug in, and Girardi has repeatedly stated that the Yankees will take the 12 best arms, regardless of where they fit.

          With Gaudin on waivers, who would you say bumps out either Phil or Joba from the 12 best pitchers discussion?
          He has repeatedly said this when questioned if the loser would go to triple-A, next time just do a Google search before you claim something never happened because it doesn’t fit your view point.

          • Dirty Pena says:

            Nowhere in that statement does it say “neither Joba nor Hughes are going to AAA.” I agree they probably aren’t, but for all we know, Girardi could say “I want 2 lefties” and take Boone Logan.

            • radnom says:

              That statement, in response to a question about the loser of the 5th starter battle being sent to triple-A absolutely says that neither of them are going to the minors.

              Thats just one, how about Cashman responding to the same by saying the 2010 team would be better off with both of them in the pen, but they would have to take the long term into consideration as well.

              The Yankees have about as clear as possible that they are not sending them down. It isn’t just some “crazy parcel of mistaken belief” as the OP implied.

  8. John Petrone says:

    I might not be a Yankee fan anymore if what Joel Sherman is saying is true. The best words in the post are “it doesn’t make sense”. I will not be as mad if he was put in AAA, but to give up on a starter who absolutely dominated in 65.1ip in 2008 would be foolish. Cashman would be turning on himself!!!!!

  9. Bo says:

    But the FO obviously screwed up and should have maximized his value and traded him when they had the chance.

    A waste of a high valued asset.

    Also dont think it would have harmed anything if they let Joba start the yr as the 5th starter with Hughes in the pen. Hughes has an innings limit anyway. Why bother going thru the rules mumbo jumbo if you arent going to let the kid loose?

    If he struggled or was as average as he was last yr you could turn to Hughes in the middle of May/June.

    • All Praise Be To Mo says:

      Wow, I think this has been the first rational post I’ve ever seen from you in the months I’ve followed this blog. Besides the first 2 paragraphs of course, but baby steps….

  10. bexarama says:

    I really disliked Sherman’s article because it didn’t even mention Joba at all except to say that he was gonna be the eighth inning guy. Why was the job Hughes’ from the beginning? Why not Joba’s? I really hope it’s just mediots being mediots. Apparently on ESPN radio they said Joba has the inside track… I just don’t know any more. It’s getting tiresome and I really hope the Yankees aren’t listening to the whole “Joba’s MENTALITY belongs in the bullpen” thing.

    (OT: Edwar was traded from the Rangers to the Athletics.)

    • Nady Nation says:

      Hmmm…when was that said on ESPN radio, and who said it?

    • Why was the job Hughes’ from the beginning? Why not Joba’s?

      Excellent question.

      I mean, the only possible reason why Hughes would have been the clubhouse leader over Joba all winter long (if what Sherman claims is true) is because Hughes “looked good” in the bullpen in the second half of last year, while Joba didn’t.

      Not only is that a horrible SSS misvaluation, but it’s also a horrible boversimplification. Of course Hughes looked better, he was pitching one inning at a time. His degree of difficulty is far, far, far far lower.

      I can’t imagine that the Cashman administration–an org that has demonstrated on numerous occasions it’s perspectived, level-headed reasoning and analysis skills–would commit such a shocking double failure of proper player/data evaluation. Making Hughes the preemptive favorite for the 5th starter competition based on his brief (and easy) stint as a relief pitcher is nonsensical.

  11. Hangoverologist says:

    I hope Joba goes down to AAA so he can get his innings and be ready for the stretch. If all goes right, this should be the 2011 rotation:

    Sabathia
    Lee/Beckett/Webb/other
    Burnett
    Hughes
    Joba

    • Tom Zig says:

      Lee/Beckett Vazquez/Webb/other

      You’re welcome.

      There is no place on this team for people who grow douche beards.

  12. BigBlueAL says:

    Problem is in 2010 Hughes should also be starting. Period.

    BTW this wouldnt be an issue if the Joba from the pic was still pitching for the Yankees and not the Joba from last season and ST this year. I know many dont want to hear that and totally dismiss that but if Joba looked as good last season as he did in 2008 this wouldnt even be a question but if Joba is sent to the pen that just means the Yankees dont view him as their “future Beckett” like Hank called him anymore. Whether that is right or wrong is another question but that is obvious what is going on if Joba is sent to the pen and not starting this season.

    • Mike Pop says:

      BTW this wouldnt be an issue if the Joba from the pic was still pitching for the Yankees and not the Joba from last season and ST this year

      Shame on Joba for being inconsistent.

      Problem is in 2010 Hughes should also be starting. Period.

      Agreed. He needs to work on all of his pitches, just like Joba. Sending Joba back to the pen is going to stunt development even more since he’ll probably only use 2 pitches out of the pen. One of them should be in AAA (Hughes), until the injury or reach enough innings to then come out of the pen.

    • rex manning day says:

      See, here’s the thing. Hughes right now is basically where Joba was in that pic. Young stud prospect gets put in the bullpen, blows everyone away, and everyone projects him to be a monster starter.

      But guess what? No pitcher is going to be as dominant in a starting role as they are in the bullpen, especially a kid. It’s just not possible. And judging a young kid harshly because he struggles in the transition from reliever to starter is insane.

      I mean, for crying out loud, Joba had an OPS+ of 142 in 2008. That’s 20 points higher than CC last year. Zack Greinke was insane last year, and his OPS+ was only 151. Had Joba pitched as well in 2009 as he did in 2008, he would have been a serious Cy Young contender, and expecting that much out of a kid’s first full season is simply insane.

      If Hughes does get the starter role, he will absolutely not be as good as he was last year. Just like Joba, he will struggle, and his performance will be ok for a kid but a steep decline from his insane bullpen numbers. And then next year, everyone will be complaining that he’s being considered for a starter role, because he’s obviously a better reliever than starter.

  13. Jack says:

    I’ve read the Sherman’s article a couple of times now, and I’m still not convinced.

    • rex manning day says:

      Me neither. He doesn’t offer any evidence for his claim, other than “this is what I think they’re going to do”. It’s just a retread of the standard arguments for Hughes, only instead of concluding “this is why I think Hughes is the 5th starter”, he jumps right into “this is why Hughes is the 5th starter”.

      I’m not buying it.

  14. Ben–well written post.

    That said, I have to wonder, perhaps, if maybe Joba’s shoulder in playing a role in the Yankees’ thought process?

    I know Hughes has been hurt too, but he’s never had an arm injury.

    • rbizzler says:

      It is possible, but do we have any idea how a bullpen workload would impact an injury.

      On the one hand, as a starter you are certainly pitching fewer innings. But you are also on a schedule with a set rest and throwing regimen.

      As a reliever the frequency of you appearances is not static. Plus, relievers don’t really follow much of a throwing program due to the unpredictability of their use.

    • mustang says:

      GREAT POINT!!!!!!!

      Didn’t his catcher once say something like ” little shoulder pain tells you a lot” when talking about joba being in the pen. But who is Jorge anyway just a stupid all-star catcher.

  15. I think Moshe had the best take on the logic behind Hughes as the 5th starter.

    http://www.theyankeeu.com/2010.....ghes-16163

    Basically, if the Yankees use career high as the bench mark for IP, then Joba will be uncapped, or capped at 180 or s innings, in 2011, but if Hughes doesn’t start this year, he’ll still be capped. That would make life difficult if they’re counting on Joba and Phil to replace Pettite/Vazquez in the rotation next year.

    • Nady Nation says:

      The only problem with that scenario is that it will continue the process of jerking Joba around from starter to bullpen. Could certainly mess with his mindset, or result in injury. His first 5 years will look like this:

      2007: Starter (in minors) -> Bullpen
      2008: Bullpen -> Starter
      2009: Starter -> Bullpen
      2010: Bullpen
      2011: Starter

      • I’m not sure how much I think that really matters, or even that Joba couldn’t go to AAA until August. Nor for that matter am I saying Hughes should get the spot over Joba, per se, I’m just saying I could see some logic to it.

        The bottom line is that Joba and Hughes both need to be given the chance to succeed as starters, but right now there’s only one available spot for them. There’s a downside to either one of them “losing” the spot.

        • Nady Nation says:

          Right, but with the painstaking efforts the Yanks took last year to ensure that Joba would be able to start full-time without any sort of limits this year, the decision is very curious.

        • bennyprofane says:

          I would also argue that if Joba is in the pen this year, and dominates as he almost certainly will, the Yankees, I fear, will be reluctant to move him back to the rotation. In fact, I’d argue the discussion of Joba re-entering the rotation would almost entirely cease, save for this blog and a few others. The point being that the decision to move Joba to the pen at this point is more likely to be permanent, while Hughes moving to the pen/AAA would still only be a stepping stone toward him becoming a staff mainstay. This, more than anything would be disappointing to me, since I feel Joba was never given a real chance with the gloves off. A chance to go all “Buul in a China Shop” as a starter on em’, cause contrary to popular belief that works to.

      • Mike Pop says:

        Not to mention stunting his development of his secondary pitches. Out of pen he’s only going to use fastball and slider.

  16. I’ll add, for full disclosure, that while I’m not a B-Jobber, I think Hughes is the better pitcher, especially if he hones his changeup.

    • Beamish says:

      Plenty of people will accept that Hughes is a better pitcher than Joba. But why would that mean Joba must go to the bullpen?

      If Joba really is their 6th best starter then shouldn’t he be working as a starter in AAA so he can be called up readily since we all know that no team makes it through a season with just 5 starters.

    • You know what? I also think that in the long run, Hughes will be the better starter.

      But that’s moot: they’re both SP prospects. Both of them need to start somewhere to remain SP prospects.

      If one of them has to go to the bullpen, though, it’s Hughes. And the reason it has to be Hughes is because we’ve already fucked up his innings progression (by putting him in the pen last year). Re-delaying his innings progression hurts, but not as much as delaying Joba’s innings progression hurts.

      Don’t screw both of them up just because one may have a slightly higher ceiling than the other.

    • Zack says:

      You think he is the better starter, or will be the better starter long term?

      Because to say he’s the better starter now, well really you have nothing to back that up.

      • I think he’s probably the better starter in the long term, and I think it’s very possible that he’ll be the better starter this season. Especially if Joba doesn’t rediscover his velocity and Hughes masters the changeup finally.

        • Zack says:

          So when Hughes isnt throwing 95 like he did out of the bullpen last year can I say Hughes needs to re-discover his velocity to be successful?

          • I’m not really sure why you responded to my mostly non-committal response that aggressively. I take it the implication is that pitchers throw harder in relief than as starters, which is true enough, but it was pretty well documented that 2009 Joba threw with less velocity than 2008 Joba-the-starter. And I don’t think many people would disagree with the notion that this caused him some problems with his fastball at times.

            • Zack says:

              Ok my fault, just annoyed with this whole topic.

              But Joba didnt throw as hard as the year before, but he still had success up until he reached his previous innings high. It wasn’t like all of the sudden in Aug/Sept his velocity dropped and then shit went down hill. Yet I constantly hear Joba needs to throw 95 to be successful, when that isnt said about Hughes, just think the two are treated with different standards.

              • Well, I also stipulated that Hughes masters the changeup, a fairly big assumption, and even then just said that Hughes COULD be better.

                Basically the issue here is that there’s one spot for two guys and both of them “should” get it.

                • Zack says:

                  Yeah I got that, basically if Joba makes no improvements this offseason and Hughes masters a new pitcher then Hughes should get the 5th spot. Kind of tough to argument with those events.

  17. pat says:

    I refuse to believe this until it is actually confirmed. It just makes absolutely zero sense to me to go through all that bullshit last year with 3 and 4 innings starts, getting skipped in the rotation, only to hold it against him that he didn’t succeed.
    This really shows a disturbing lack of a cohesive line of thinking, and follow through on the part of our coaching staff and front office.

  18. Thomas says:

    I have two big problems about the Sherman saying Hughes is the fifth starter.

    1. He never mentions Chamberlain as being a rotation option.
    He mentions that it will be difficult for the Yankees to tell Mitre and Aceves that they will be in the bullpen, but he doesn’t say the Yankees will tell Joba he is not starting. In fact his only mention of Joba is saying “Puts Joba Chamberlain into the eighth inning, Mitre in long relief and Aceves again in a jack-of-all-trades role.” Thus, I think Sherman is assuming Joba was always going to the pen.

    2. He come to his Hughes is the fifth conclusion by this “Brian Cashman refused to divulge the identity of the No. 5 starter before more meetings were held and all involved parties were informed of the decision. But he did say, ‘I can’t deny that 2010 and 2011 are part of the conversation. What does the team look like right now, but also what does the team look like going forward.’ That screams Hughes in the rotation.”
    How does that scream Hughes is starting? It screams that the Yankees are looking at long term and short term potential. Thus, they likely won’t consider Aceves or Mitre for the rotation, but will consider Hughes and Chamberlain, since both will be better long term than Mitre and Aceves.

    I think Sherman always assumed it be Joba in the pen. I hope that he is just speculating and that he is wrong.

    • Bo says:

      Sherman has great Yankee sources.

      Heyman too.
      Olney the same

      And they all say this.

      They wouldnt be writing this if they didnt confirm.

      • Zack says:

        “They wouldnt be writing this if they didnt confirm.”

        Yes they would. That’s the great thing about their job, their’s absolutely no accountability.

      • Thomas says:

        Here is the thing Bo.

        They haven’t confirmed. Sherman says “That screams Hughes in the rotation.”, not that the Yankees say Hughes will be starting. By writing “screams” as Sherman did, he effectively states that he inferring, based on the Cashman quote, the Yankees will start Hughes. However, their is nothing in the Cashman quote that suggests Hughes will be the starter. Therefore, either Sherman failed at coming to his conclusion or he failed in writing his article.

        • Spaceman.Spiff says:

          Who knows. Maybe Cashman actually did scream, “HUGHES IN THE ROTATION!!!!”. But I doubt that’s what Sherman meant.

    • Tank the Frank says:

      I had the exact same problem with # 2. To me, that doesn’t “scream Hughes in the rotation.” To me, it screams Joba in the rotation.

  19. “As early as 2011, the Yankees will need starters who don’t have innings limits, and these constant bullpen/rotation back-and-forths need to end. Joba’s role in 2010 shouldn’t involve rooting for an injury to another starter or waiting for Hughes to reach an inevitable innings cap. He should be starting. Period.”

    You could also say the exact same thing and reverse the names.

    The problem is that we don’t have enough slots for all the arms we have. There’s a good case for Joba to occupy the fifth, but it’s only one half of the equation.

    The Yankees may project Hughes to have better results as a fifth starter in 2010 than Joba as a fifth starter in 2010. They may like his projection for 2011 and beyond better than Joba’s for 2011 and beyond. I’m not sure its the smartest route to take, and I’m not sure that Hughes will be better than Joba at any point in the next three years, but it’s hardly the closed case that you make it out to be.

  20. thurdonpaul says:

    I will believe Phil is the 5th starter when I hear it from someone in authority on the Yankees. Until then I dont believe much of anything im reading about the 5th starter.

  21. CS Yankee says:

    “…but the move has been all but decided since February.”
    (sorry can’t bold this)

    If this is true, then it seems that we are back to FO leaks like the old days ala Tampa vs. Cashman vs. Torre saga. I thought they had ridden themselves of this BS and medicated or furloughed Hank saying anything?

    WTF?

  22. Hate to say this, but my gut tells me if you’re going to trade one of the two, Hughes is probably gonna net you more.

  23. Spaceman.Spiff says:

    My biggest fear is that with certain mediots just repeating over and over again that this is common sense, it will brainwash our normally sensible decision-makers into believing that Joba really does belong in the bullpen longterm.

  24. JM says:

    I do not agree.

  25. Ivan says:

    I have hard time believing that the Yankees made up their mind that they wanted Hughes to be their starter since february. Now look, we all know that what ever happens somebody is not gonna be happy. If Joba won the job, similar questions would of been ask and Hughes wouldn’t be a happy dude to start the season in BP or even in the minors.

    If you want to say, well the Yanks favor Hughes more over Joba a little bit more then maybe, but you got to understand that Hughes has pitch better than Joba period. It wasn’t that difficult of a decsion. Now if Joba and Hughes were both great, and the yanks still picked Hughes, then maybe the answers will be more pronounce but Joba didn’t do himself a favor by struggling.

    • Nady Nation says:

      “If you want to say, well the Yanks favor Hughes more over Joba a little bit more then maybe, but you got to understand that Hughes has pitch better than Joba period. It wasn’t that difficult of a decsion.”

      You’re going to have to back this up with some sort of facts or numbers.

      • Ivan says:

        Im talking about Spring training.

      • Exactly.

        Hughes HASN’T pitched better than Joba. That’s the thing: he just hasn’t.

        They’ve both struggled as starting pitchers. They’ve both been dominant as relievers. Joba’s struggled LESS as a starter than Hughes has. In his major league career, Joba has OUTPITCHED Phil Hughes. He’s been better.

        I can’t see what it is the Yankees would be seeing to say “Yeah, Phil’s pitched better and deserves this spot over Joba”.

        • Ivan says:

          However, this is about projection, and maybe the yankees might view Hughes as a better pitcher in the future. I can’t read their minds, who knows what they are thinking but im just saying maybe that they view Hughes as a better pitcher long term.

          • Nady Nation says:

            Which contradicts everything the Yankees did last year to groom Joba as a fulltime starter.

          • Sure, but as I said above, even if they think Hughes has the better projection and higher ceiling, both of them need to be developed as starters.

            So both of them need to be in a rotation in 2010. And if it’s not an option to have both of them in a rotation in 2010, if one of them needs to go to the bullpen, the pitcher whose development should be delayed is Hughes, because he’s already been delayed. You’re not re-delaying his development.

            We have a need for starting pitchers. We do NOT have a need for relief pitchers. We already have oodles of relief pitchers. Therefore, which young SP prospect profiles as slightly better is moot. They’re both starters. Start them.

            • Ivan says:

              But the longer the delay, the longer Hughes develops. Again, somebody’s not gonna be happy, we all know that, however, further delaying Hughes while it may not kill him, it certainly won’t help him either.

              Again at the end of the day the yanks have a plan, and we don’t know what they trying to do except well them. We thought Both Hughes will be in the rotation, they traded for Vasquez, we thought Joba chances was going the start the season in the rotation, that’s most likey not going to happen. I agree yankees need starting pitching in the future time, however, wouldn’t putting the either pitcher whether it’s Hughes or Joba in the minors to get innings as a starter than slow their innings cap in the BP.

        • BigBlueAL says:

          Hughes career ERA+ is 105 with a 1.282 WHIP. Joba is 118 with a 1.374 WHIP. Both have identical HR rates while Hughes K/BB ratio is slightly better (also is actually a little tougher to hit too).

          So really if you look at their peripherals Hughes has been just as good if not slightly better than Joba in their MLB careers so far. Granted Joba has thrown 100 more innings.

          • Nady Nation says:

            How is a 102+ ERA “as good if not slightly better” than a 118+ ERA? Joba has also started more games, accounting for the higher WHIP and K/BB ratio.

            • Nady Nation says:

              Ugh, meant ERA+*

            • BigBlueAL says:

              ERA is the only thing Joba has an edge on Hughes in and thats basically just luck because his ERA is better than his peripherals say it should be is my point. They both have been pretty much the same with the Yankees which are good, young promising pitchers that hopefully will only get better.

          • Ivan says:

            I guess you look at those numbers both ways.

            You can say, well look, Hughes has pitch 100 less IP and the numbers are not that far off or you can say well, Joba has a longer stint in career where he was been a good pitcher.

            • BigBlueAL says:

              Right Im not saying Hughes has been better obviously but everyone assumes Joba has been so much better than Hughes when in reality they have been basically the same pitcher.

    • CS Yankee says:

      ST doesn’t mean much…Joba has been far superior as a starter in the pros (to date)

      Both are soon to be great pitchers (we all feel anyways). Hughes can pitch as #5 all year without innings limit I feel as only 25 starts will come from the 5th guy.

      However, Joba has been jerked around but has established a solid innings base in 2009…Hughes was much weaker as a SP in 2009 (near fail) and ruled in the BP.

      Both will rule in the pen, but why waste EITHER in the pen (we signed Park & have other solid setups) when they can both get there 175 +/- innings in 2010 (one in AAA).

      Maybe Joba’s out-of-shape, has a bad attitude or maybe Phil’s that much better today but PLEASE don’t waste 2010 in having one of them chuck 60-70 innings.

  26. SabathiaWouldBeGoodAtTheEighthToo says:

    I’m with you, brother. Maybe Joba is a bullpen guy, but he should really be given every chance to remain a starter before relegating him to the far less consequential position of middle reliever. For all of the ink spilled over who should pitch the 8th inning, let’s keep the true value of a relief pitcher in perspective. In 2009, The Great Mariano was closer in value (2.0 WAR) to Al Aceves (1.2) than to AJ Burnett (3.1), and exactly as valuable as Brett Gardner (also 2.0).

    CC Sabathia could pitch the hell out of the 8th inning, but itwould be foolish to slot him there. Relievers just are not that important.

    • bexarama says:

      your username is pretty awesome

    • Tom Zig says:

      Carl Pavano :

      81 ERA+
      5.10 ERA
      199.1 IP
      3.7 WAR

      Mariano Rivera

      159 ERA+
      1.76 ERA
      66.1 IP
      2.0 WAR

      BOOM! Your heads just exploded.

      • Mike Pop says:

        That right there, is enough to want Joba in the rotation. That being said, if he kept putting up those types of numbers, I’d put him in the pen. The Yankees could find another starter to put up similar numbers but probably wouldn’t be as good as Joba in the pen.

        • Tom Zig says:

          That’s a fair point. I don’t think the Yankees wouldn’t allow a starter to put up an 81 ERA+ over 200 innings. But you got the point I was trying to make. Hopefully others will see this as well.

          • Yup.

            Even if both Hughes and Joba never become aces but simply turn into solid #3/#4 starters who put up annual 4.25 ERAs, if they’re giving us 200 IP of 4.25 ERAs, they’re worth more to our success than any closer, Mo or otherwise.

            How good Joba or Phil may be in the bullpen is utterly irrelevant to anything. They add more value as starters. They should remain starters until proven incapable of being starters.

            Let me say that again louder to make sure everyone heard it:

            How good Joba or Phil may be in the bullpen is utterly irrelevant to anything. They add more value as starters. They should remain starters until proven incapable of being starters.

      • JGS says:

        well, Pavano had a 4.00 FIP, and that goes into WAR, not ERA

  27. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    When should we expect an actual decision on this again?

  28. As it’s been said, I’ll lose some faith in the FO’s foresight if this is true.

  29. Sully says:

    Ben,

    Excellent post. Well thought out, and in my opinion right on cue. The 8th inning role is questionably the most overrated role in all of baseball, and can be more than adequately filled by the arms in the bullpen already. For any of us, and most importantly the Yankees, to believe that the rotation will be immune to injuries is not only naive but is irresponsible. The “loser” of the 5th starter battle should be sent to AAA, where they can prepare to fill a spot in the rotation caused by an eventually injury.

    As much as any of us who follow in-depth organizational blogs, like this one, love our team’s prospects, the simple fact is that Ivan Nova or Zach McCallister are both inferior to Joba and Phil. Likewise, both would be severely overmatched by the AL East at this point in their development. Therefore, when the injury to the rotation occurs, Joba or Phil should be in a position to seamlessly transition into the big-league rotation. And the only way that can be done is with one begining the year in the AAA rotation. Otherwise, we can all begin to get excited about Sergio Mitre taking the ball once every five days sometime during the regular season. And I’m willing to bet now, that in a majority of those starts it won’t matter who the 8th inning guy is, because there won’t be a lead to protect.

    • bexarama says:

      someone named Sully should only be posting on Red Sox sites!!!!

      (I kid. Good post.)

    • J.D. says:

      I’m a long time reader of this particular blog and just wanted to say this site is great and very insightful. I read this post regarding the “decision”. Hopefully it’s not true and just more media speculation.

      I just wanted to know if there would be that big of a drop off from having Robertson, Melancon, or park in the 8th inning, as opposed to having either Hughes or Chamberlain there? It wouldn’t make sense to have 1 of these potential starters limit themselves in the bullpen, especially if we need another spot or two in the rotation in 2011, depending on the situation with Andy and Javy.

      If one of the two is sent down to AAA for the season until needed, instead of the bullpen, wouldn’t this be a good way of insuring the Yankees have a pitcher ready to come in for 2011? Financially speaking it would make more sense for the Yankees to develop both of them, and use one of the many other bullpen options they have for the 8th.

  30. If we do trade Joba what do you think we could get for him?

  31. Ivan says:

    If the yankees are smart (and they are), they would just put Joba in the minors to be starter period. It’s the best decision.

    • Zack says:

      Why is it the best decision?

      • Ivan says:

        Because if they view Joba as a starter, why put em in the BP to rot, you might as well send em to the minros to build innings and who knows develop a tad. Besides, you mostly not going to have the same starters healthy over the course of a season, why not use Joba as a very good replacement to do so.

  32. BigBlueAL says:

    This wouldve been alot easier if Pettitte wouldve just retired after last season.

    • Hughesus Christo says:

      They’re going to make me hate Andy

    • bexarama says:

      Pettitte to the pen, we could use another lefty. (not serious.)

        • bexarama says:

          it actually kind of does. Still, I don’t want both Joba and Hughes in the rotation this year because the depth isn’t that great after them.

          • Chris says:

            Pettitte could easily move back to the rotation mid-season if the need arose. It would give his arm a rest and keep his innings down….

        • thurdonpaul says:

          Good luck getting Andy to agree.

          I wonder if Joba to the pen this year is a terrible idea ? Lets say the Yankees want both Joba & Phil starting next year. If Phil builds up his innings as the #5 starter then he has no innings limit next year. Can Jobas innings from last year be used to say that he has no, or very little limitations in 2011 ?

          • Dirty Pena says:

            Can Jobas innings from last year be used to say that he has no, or very little limitations in 2011 ?

            No, they cannot. Therein lies the problem.

            • Chris says:

              Yes, they can. The Yankees have already said they look at career high innings limits so a career high in 2009 would increase what he could throw in 2011.

              • Dirty Pena says:

                But if he’s in the bullpen all year, what he can throw in 2011 is significantly less than what he would be able to throw in 2010. I wouldn’t say his theoretical innings limit would be “little to none.”

  33. Tank the Frank says:

    Having either one of them start in the rotation next season is not strange.

    What is strange is if the Yankees really already made this decision in February and it was Phil’s to lose. Based on logic all of us already know and have written about, that makes zero, no sense. Any. Way. You. Slice. It.

  34. CountryClub says:

    I, like many others on this site, want to see them both be starters. But there’s only one spot open this yr. And if Sherman, and every other beat reporter is correct, it appears they think Hughes is the better option between the two.

    I think it’s silly to stretch him out and then not use him when he’s ready to roll. But if they really believe Hughes is the better pitcher, shouldnt he be the starter this yr?

    Or maybe, they have medical reports that show his shoulder will hold up better out of the pen. Or maybe, like we hear rumors from a lot of other teams, they just think he’s better as a reliever.

    If Hughes wins the job in 2010, we wont really know what the Yanks think about Joba until 2011. If he’s still in the pen (or on another team), we’ll have our answer.

  35. Andrew what? says:

    I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again; if what Sherman and the rest of the beatwriters are saying is true that the loser between Joba and Hughes goes into the bullpen as the 8th inning guy, it makes no sense and is a sign of FO dysfunction in my opinion. Cashman has emphasized repeatedly on radio and with quotes given to the papers that Joba no longer has any inning restrictions and it is time to see what he can do. He’s even said that finding quality starters is harder and more expensive than finding quality relievers and that you have to develop your own most of the time. He’s also been quoted as saying if Chamberlain ends up in the bullpen for the year, then that’s his career destination. Now after 3 years of toying with the kid and getting to the season where he can 190-200 innings they’re abandoning it? What’s up with that? Not a positive development if this is true and does not bode well for the player development side for the yankee organization. I wonder what the yankees would’ve done if they had a Roy Halladay situation where he puts up a 10.64 era. Would they let him try to make adjustments and get through it as a starter or would they banish him to the pen (or perhaps trade him)?

    • He’s also been quoted as saying if Chamberlain ends up in the bullpen for the year, then that’s his career destination.

      He said that? Linkage?

      • Andrew what? says:

        I heard on Brandon Tienary’s show once I believe I actually. Sorry I should not have said it is quoted.

    • Andrew what? says:

      Maybe the Halladay explain is a bad one. But look at Bucholz. In 2008 he puts a 6.75 era then last year he made some adjustments and matured and put up a solid year and is probably going to be a solid mainstay in their rotation for years to come. Pitchers who instantly dominant like Lincumcum are so rare.

  36. bexarama says:

    holy crap this has 100+ comments in less than 45 minutes… will this topic ever get old?

  37. KyleLitke says:

    If Joba gets the starting role, how does that say anything different about the Yankees bringing up starters? If he were to get it, then Hughes would be the guy set back, having to miss his innings cap yet again and being stuck, yet again, at 150 innings.

    They have two guys for one starters spot now. While I agree they should both be starters and I agree that Joba should go to AAA and start (maybe he can figure out what happened to him there…I don’t think these Joba to the bullpen people even watched the playoffs last year, he wasn’t nearly as good as people think, and he hasn’t been since that shoulder injury), I’m not sure why picking Joba over Hughes would make any more sense in terms of “bringing up pitchers”. Either way, if one starts and one goes to the bullpen, the bullpen guy is either stuck there for good or will be “set back” in 2011. Whether it’s Hughes or Joba doesn’t change that.

    • It makes more sense because Chamberlain is farther along in his development than Hughes. Putting Chamberlain in the bullpen after his first full season as a starter would be absolutely nonsensical.

  38. jsbrendog says:

    faith in yankee FO = gone.

  39. Mike HC says:

    I see this move as the team picking the guy they like better for the long term. Something about Joba’s makeup scares the Yanks just enough I think. Joba has the talent, but he seems to be frustrating the front office over these past couple of years with his conditioning, attitude and even DUI. With Hughes as maybe his equal in talent, the Yanks chose the guy they trust more. (all speculation, just trying to figure out their rationale.

    • What attitude has Chamberlain given?

      • Mike HC says:

        I have nothing specific. Hughes just seems to be a more consistent, predictable guy. Joba seems more impulsive and unpredictable. (insert MSM media joke here). That does not mean Hughes will be a better starter. I just think the Yanks are more comfortable betting on the guy who they can predict more easily. And this is completely out of my ass with no strong supporting evidence. We don’t have enough information to know exactly why they made their decision, so speculation is all I have.

        I personally prefer Joba, but I’m not the one making the decisions.

        • Zack says:

          “Hughes just seems to be a more consistent, predictable guy.”

          So Phil’s mentality = Mo’s mentality. So Hughes = bullpen

          :)

          • Mike HC says:

            I’m not saying one mentality belongs in one role or the other. I think different types of guys can excel in each role. Mo is calm and a great reliever. David Wells was unpredictable and a great starter.

            I’m just saying they might be picking the guy based on their make ups. I think the Yanks have a better idea of what they are going to get with Hughes, than with Joba. Once again, all speculation.

          • Spaceman.Spiff says:

            Phil’s mentality = Mo’s mentality.
            Joba’s mentality = Roger Clemens’ mentality.

            /mindblown’d

  40. Tampa Yankee says:

    I don’t what else to say to this but…
    http://theanteheroes.com/Humor/MassFacepalm.jpg (sfw)

    • Thomas says:

      Things I like about that pic:
      1. One facepalmer is a baby
      2. One facepalmer is a statue of Jesus
      3. The Colbert word of the day is “I need a drink”
      4. One of the facepalmers is from the awful Zelda CDI games

  41. mko says:

    It’s the same the other way around. Why should Joba be starting and Phil have to be in the pen? They’re both gonna be great starters, hopefully.

    So I agree with some of the other folks – let the “loser” start in AAA and bring him up in September to come out of the pen.

    • If the team said that the loser of the fifth starter competition would go to AAA, then I would have absolutely zero qualms with Phil getting the 5th starter spot.

      None.

      If one’s going to the bullpen, though, it should be Hughes.

      • Chris says:

        If one’s going to the bullpen, though, it should be Hughes.

        I was agreeing with you for a while, but I think I’ve changed my mind. If Hughes goes to the pen for the full season, then he’d still have an innings cap as a starter in 2011. If Joba goes to the pen, then both Hughes and Joba could be starters without innings limits in 2011.

        Either way, I would prefer that the loser start the season in AAA and then come up midseason to fill a hole in the rotation or go to the pen.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          There’s no way Joba goes from 70 to 200 innings in 2011, regardless of how many he threw last year. There’s just no way.

  42. Joe D. says:

    How sad this has become.

    If this is true, it will be the most pissed I have been about a Yankee decision since the Holy Trinity Signings of the 04-05 offseason (Pavano, Wright, Womack).

    “What a mess. It’s possible that no pitcher in the history of baseball has suffered through as many team-inflicted head games as Chamberlain has.”
    “The rules are supposed to be out the window for 2010, but the acquisition of Javier Vazquez is likely to push Chamberlain back to the pen and perhaps to a tacit admission that in their eagerness to spare him injury, the Yankees killed a potentially great starter with kindness.”
    — Baseball Prospectus 2010

  43. BigBlueAL says:

    I posted this above to TSJC comment that Joba has been a better pitcher than Hughes in their MLB careers:

    Hughes career ERA+ is 105 with a 1.282 WHIP. Joba is 118 with a 1.374 WHIP. Both have identical HR rates while Hughes K/BB ratio is slightly better (also is actually a little tougher to hit too).

    So really if you look at their peripherals Hughes has been just as good if not slightly better than Joba in their MLB careers so far. Granted Joba has thrown 100 more innings.

    • Nady Nation says:

      And I posted this reply above:

      How is a 102 ERA+ “as good if not slightly better” than a 118 ERA+? Joba has also started more games, accounting for the higher WHIP and K/BB ratio.

      • BigBlueAL says:

        Yeah I saw that now my bad. Still sorry ERA is the only number where Joba is actually better than Hughes which is not exactly a ringing endorsement for the Joba is better than Hughes argument is my point.

        • Nady Nation says:

          This never was a “Joba is better than Hughes” argument. I want both of them to be starters in 2011. This is strictly a “who should be the 5th starter in 2010″ argument, and based on the events and circumstances of the past year and change, I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be Joba.

    • As starters:

      Hughes: 28 starts, 141.1 IP, 5.22 ERA, 1.436 WHIP, .265/.341/.436 against, 1.90 K/BB
      Joba: 43 starts, 221.2 IP, 4.18 ERA, 1.480 WHIP, .266/.351/.407 against, 2.04 K/BB

      What they did in the bullpen isn’t very relevant to the 5th starter competition. They’re both different pitchers doing different things as relievers.

      • Tampa Yankee says:

        This

      • BigBlueAL says:

        My thing is everyone here just assumes and believes Joba has been a much better pitcher than Hughes with the Yankees and the reality is they have basically been the same pitcher.

        I obviously realize the differences in both their numbers between starting and relieving but however you want to break their numbers down in the end their career numbers with the Yankees are basically identical with Hughes actually having slightly better peripherals.

        Im not trying to say Hughes is better or not just that they are alot closer to each other than many Joba worshipers believe.

        • Zack says:

          “in the end their career numbers with the Yankees are basically identical”

          What do career numbers that are affected by bullpen stats have to do with who have been a better starting pitcher?

        • Tampa Yankee says:

          I obviously realize the differences in both their numbers between starting and relieving
          Obviously you don’t since your next words were…
          but however you want to break their numbers down in the end their career numbers with the Yankees are basically identical with Hughes actually having slightly better peripherals.

          Repeated for extra emphasis since you didn’t get it the first time… What they did in the bullpen isn’t very relevant to the 5th starter competition. They’re both different pitchers doing different things as relievers.

      • Ivan says:

        Meh, other than ERA, the rest of the numbers are quite similar.

        I just don’t like the argument that well Joba has pitch better than Hughes and should be given the job and etc because those are small sample sizes. Joba’s small in sample and Hughes is really small in sample. Who knows if Hughes pitch an extra 80 innings what those #’s look like. Maybe worse or maybe better.

        • Zack says:

          “Who knows if Hughes pitch an extra 80 innings what those #’s look like. Maybe worse or maybe better”

          My bet is that his numbers would look worse if he actually pitched 30+ innings over his career high; over the years Hughes’ innings havent been rising (146, 115, 82, 106), Joba’s have, so Phil has never felt fatigue and had to push himself against Major League hitters. And Hughes has never been in starts purposely for 3-4 innings, so 1 had inning can ruin your shit and you have no time to recover to pitch 2-3 shut down innings to even it out.

    • Joe D. says:

      If the Yankees aren’t going to make the right decision, I’m gonna have to make it for them.

      Does anyone have Jeff Gillooly’s phone number handy?

  44. bexarama says:

    didn’t Eiland say something at the beginning of ST like “we expect to have five starters who can give us over 200 innings?” That wouldn’t be Hughes. So… hope?

  45. Mike Pop says:

    This is so frustrating.

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. /Mugatu’d

  46. mustang says:

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

    Guess not. I guess those guys with the “agendas” had a little more information then we did they should they cover the team.

    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.

    • A little different take on this how about if the Yankees, like I said yesterday, are looking for Mo replacements.

      If the Yankees are really looking for Mo replacements, that’s fine.

      Looking at either Joba or Phil as a Mo replacement is fucking idiotic, though. Vulgarity added for emphasis.

      • Riddering says:

        Yeah. Why the holy light of the 8th-to-become-the-9th can’t shine down on Robertson or Melancon or any of countless pitchers to come in the Yankee system is beyond me.

        • Especially since Mo has already indicated a willingness to resign for a new contract this winter and he’s still pitching well, and we have Aceves, Robertson, and Marte under contract next year also…

          while we have only CC and Burnett as rotation guarantees after this year.

          SP holes to fill >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> back end of the bullpen holes to fill

          Need to find a 3rd, 4th, and 5th starter for 2011 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> need to find an “Heir to Mo”

      • Ivan says:

        Especially when both those pitchers potentially could be alot more valuable as starters than Mo is as a reliever.

      • CS Yankee says:

        Agreed

        Old school trade talk….”I would rather have my sister work in a whore house than have my brother-in-law be a plumber”

        Applying it today, I almost feel…”I would rather them trade Joba for Heyward (or somebody similar) than have him waste in the pen for 60 innings”

        Sad day for having faith in the FO.

      • mustang says:

        Again you guys are missing the point how do they replace God when he is forty plus and wants another 3 years at whatever. Joba gives them a great way out on the field with the media and the fans.

        • Again you guys are missing the point how do they replace God when he is forty plus and wants another 3 years at whatever.

          Option A: Give God the 3 years. He’s still worth it.
          Option B: Give the job to Robertson, Aceves, Marte, Melancon, or whomever. Yes, it will be a step back, but Joba and Phil both will contribute more as good starters. They’re off limits here.
          Option C: Sign someone this winter. See Option B.

          Joba gives them a great way out on the field with the media and the fans.

          Fuck the media and fuck the fans. They’re idiots. Vulgarity added for emphasis. We don’t let the inmates run the asylum.

          • mustang says:

            Option A: how many times have you guys pounded about the Statistical Decline of players and what they should be getting paid? Regardless of what we think he really isn’t God.

            Option B: None of those guys play out like Joba does with the fans and Media.

            Option C: see above.

            “Fuck the media and fuck the fans.”
            You can say that you’re not the Yankees. The fans pay the rent and the media controls a lot what the fans think.

        • The Yankees as an organization cannot be beholden to what the fans or the media want, they have to do what is best for the team.

          Obstructing the progress of a young pitcher to gain an out for an event that hasn’t happened yet and may not happen would be worse than signing Tony Womack tomorrow to play 2B.

    • Drew says:

      Once again. There is no replacement for Mariano Rivera. No one will fill Mariano Rivera’s shoes.

      This madness has got to stop.

  47. Don Spivey says:

    Joba should start the season in Scranton-Wilkes Barre as a starter. He is extremely immature, and the organization rushed him to the majors prematurely out of need for “live arms”. Now that the organization has starting pitching depth and an adequate bullpen, I say let Joba gain experience and maturity in AAA so that he’ll be ready when AJ or Andy (or, heaven forbid, CC) gets hurt this season.

    Joba is notorious for starting games poorly and giving up 2-3 runs in the 1st inning. That is a sign of immaturity and poor mental game preparation. He can fix that at SWB.

    • JGS says:

      Joba is notorious for starting games poorly and giving up 2-3 runs in the 1st inning

      Joba gave up 2+ runs six times in 2009. Three of those six were his final starts of the year, when he was generally terrible. The other three all came in May, two of them back-to-back (one of them against Boston), leading to the misconception that he has trouble with the first inning. It wasn’t true

    • pat says:

      Joba is notorious for starting games poorly and giving up 2-3 runs in the 1st inning. That is a sign of immaturity and poor mental game preparation. He can fix that at SWB.

      WTF? Since when? Wouldn’t an immature pitcher completely shit the bed after giving up early runs?

  48. Reggie C. says:

    Trust in Cashman…
    If Joba can’t crack the ML rotation, let him be the ace of the AAA staff. Give Joba the chance to start 20 games or so & be undoubtedly ready for 2011.

    • Mike Pop says:

      I’d be okay with him going to AAA if he’s really not making the rotation. Let him work on all those pitches, get through another season without injury.

  49. Andrew what? says:

    How many people want to bet on that if Hughes struggles early, the mediots like Sherman, etc.. are all going to exclaim, “Put Hughes back in the pen and put Mitre in the rotation!”

    • Mike Pop says:

      Many fans are saying now to do that. Hughes to 7th, Joba to 8th, and Mo in the 9th.

      • Riddering says:

        So I’m not the only one who has seen that? Yeah, let’s put Aceves in the rotation, Phil and Joba in the bullpen, and I’m sure our pitching depth both now and in the future will just figure itself out!

        • bexarama says:

          I saw someone saying this because apparently Hughes and Joba are ruined forever. I just… I don’t get it.

  50. Kyle says:

    I have been saying AAA for the loser all along. I agree 100%. There is good probability that someone in our rotation will go down this season. Have Joba work with that moment in mind. Don’t put him in the pen!

  51. Riddering says:

    That post by Sherman has been eating at me all day. I think it deserves a lot of skepticism but there’s no denying what he writes now that it’s out there–especially as Heyman and Olney, among others, have been putting out articles with similar info on Hughes as the favorite.

    Let’s say the Yankees are tired of Joba’s struggles after one up-and-down season and are now focused on only developing Hughes. Well, boo friggin’ hoo. Let me break out a violin for them and serenade their suffering. Oh, how difficult it must have been to see him put up bad numbers for a couple months last year after he did well in the first half of the season, in the time he started in 2008, in his relief stints in ’07 and ’08 as well as in the short time he pitched in the minors.

    He’s not the first young pitcher to struggle as a major league starting pitcher. But he has been asked to do more than your average young gun set up on the mound. With less than 100 minor league innings due to the impatience of the Yankees’ organization Joba’s had to 1) build up his strength to pitch enough innings 2) learn to get major league hitters out and 3) adjust between the bullpen and the rotation in the bigs. If they are giving up after one average season, I don’t think they can do better working with Hughes.

    To me this isn’t about Joba being immature and not having the “stuff” to be a starting pitcher or Hughes being so much more reliable in temperament and talent. (As some fans believe.) It’s about the Yankees screwing up and not learning to improve in the future.

    If, that is, any of this is true and the worst choices are made for Hughes and Chamberlain in 2010.

    /RANT

    (Not that I’m all het up over this or anything.)

    • bexarama says:

      a. this rant is really good.
      b. did Heyman actually write an article or just use his Twitter? And if he just used Twitter, I can’t take it seriously. Really, the Yankees would rather have Sergio Mitre than Joba start?

      • Mike Pop says:

        Really, the Yankees would rather have Sergio Mitre than Joba start?

        Yeah I know, cause this makes so much freaking sense! Insane.

      • Riddering says:

        To be fair, Heyman didn’t make the topic the focus of an article. However in a piece he wrote up for SI.com this tidbit was included:

        “Phil Hughes is leading the race to be the Yankees’ No. 5 starter, with long shot Sergio Mitre appearing to be the only (small) competition left. Joba Chanberlain appears ticketed for the bullpen.”

        To me, that is more significant than a tweet but what do I know about sports journalism online. In a month or two that might be edited out.

        • bexarama says:

          Probably. Heyman was still saying Damon would go to the Yankees after they got Winn. I dunno how much I trust him when it comes to conjecture.

          Hey at least we’re not still talking about Johnny Damon, right?

          • Riddering says:

            Considering that pretty much all I want to do is discuss and ponder baseball, sometimes I get real burned out by what we Yankee fans focus on due to the media and idiotic fans.

            • bexarama says:

              pretty much. I’m almost tired of this topic entirely, except people here are at least generally intelligent and make good points as opposed to some other sites.

    • Ivan says:

      As much as I want to say the yankees don’t know what the fuck they are doing, like the old saying goes, if it quakes like a duck, walks like a duck, then….

      And It just seems to me the yankees really never had a definitive plan here.

    • Reggie C. says:

      The win-championships-now mode isn’t exactly an ideal maturing ground when that contending team has multiple talented pitching prospects.

      • JGS says:

        They won the World Series last year with Joba in the rotation for the entire season!

        True, he wasn’t in the rotation for the playoffs, but he also wasn’t that good out of the pen

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      With less than 100 minor league innings due to the impatience of the Yankees’ organization

      This is always fun little FYI to bring out when people start discussing Joba’s role:

      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-598894 (sfw)

  52. ARX says:

    I just don’t understand why the Yankees acquired Vazquez and brought back Andy, knowing that both Joba and Phil needed major league starter innings. Did they really think having Joba and Phil in the rotation at the same time was too great a risk?

    On the one hand, if true this will give Hughes a ton of experience against major league hitters, and open the possibility of an uncapped 2011. But all things considered, the Yanks would be better off putting him in AAA and giving Joba the job (I don’t think I was on the Scranton til the Stretch bandwagon until just now…)

    • bexarama says:

      Did they really think having Joba and Phil in the rotation at the same time was too great a risk?
      I kinda think so, especially considering how many innings, between the regular season and the playoffs, CC, AJ, and Pettitte pitched last year. CC has pitched a million trillion innings in the past three years, approximately; AJ was an injury risk until recently; and Pettitte’s an old dude.

      I think Joba and Hughes can both be decent starters this year, but the depth drops off kind of precipitously after that. I wouldn’t want them both in the rotation at the same time this year.

    • Andrew what? says:

      Acquiring both Javy and Andy is was not a bad idea at all. After all, the yankees did use three starters deep into the season and they made starts on short rest. Having a pitcher like Javy Vazquez makes all the sense in the world for depth and injury insurance purposes.

    • Drew says:

      If you have an opportunity to get a great pitcher for Melky, Dunn and a pitcher 5 years away from Major League service, you pull the trigger. I think it has less to do with Huba and more to do with an opportunity that Cash & Co couldn’t resist.

  53. Mike Pop says:

    The biggest worry I have is that if this happens, Joba won’t be working on all his pitches. Then he will be a two pitch pitcher, and he may never succeed the way we all think he can. Then in 2011, he could struggle again in the rotation because of this. The Yankees could be losing valuable development years if they do this. Plus, another whole season without injury would go a long way.

  54. Chris says:

    This makes no sense, but I’ve gotten the feeling over the course of the spring that it was their plan to make Hughes the #5 starter.

    As Ben points out, it makes absolutely no sense to not hand the spot to Joba after all they’ve gone through to protect his arm and development. I also agree with Ben that they should look into trades if they plan to just stick him in the pen. He would probably have more value in what he could return in a trade then what he could do in the 8th inning.

    I hope Sherman is incorrect on this one, but it seems he’s been pretty solid on his Yankee rumors this off season and spring.

    • BigBlueAL says:

      Im not exactly sure trading Joba now would be maximizing his trade value.

      Regardless who is the 5th starter neither one should be traded anytime soon.

  55. Yankeefan91 Arod fan says:

    I think the yanks are going to take the same approach the tigers did with porcello and i think is a great idea.

  56. Drew says:

    When Phil Hughes has a 2009-Joba type year, will we have to hear the same bullshit entering 2011?

    • That.

      I think Phil Hughes is a dynamite young pitching prospect. If he’s the 2010 5th starter, however, I fully expect him to pitch well some, struggle some, hit a wall and suck a little, and generally tantalize and disappoint all at once.

      Leaving us right where we were before.

      That’s the biggest reason to give Joba the 5th starter job this year: he’s closer to getting it. He’s closer to his finish line of being a completed, developed, starting pitcher.

      He stands a better chance of being a “Yeah, we can count on this guy as a reliable starter going forward” after this season is over.

  57. Ivan says:

    Forget about who was going to the Job, whether it’s Joba or Hughes, the main thing was, how were they gonna handle the “loser” of the 5th starter spot when the season began and etc. I think thats where the yanks might of fucked up on.

  58. BigBlueAL says:

    You know what, regardless of who is the 5th starter or not Im looking forward to the 2010 Yankees repeating and not worry about the “catastrophic” decision the “stupid” Yankees might be making by putting Joba in the pen for this season.

    My God you would think a team who won the WS last year and are the odds on favorite to do so again this year would be given the benefit of the doubt on this “monumental, history-making” 5th starter decision for this season.

    • Riddering says:

      Being good at winning the World Series and being good at developing pitchers don’t necessarily have to share much space at all in a Venn diagram.

      • BigBlueAL says:

        Sorry but winning the WS is a better skill to have than developing pitchers.

        My point is not people disagreeing with whatever decision is made because Im all for that. But for people to say that they would lose all faith in the Yankee Front Office and call them idiots and stuff is ridiculous. People like that sound like freakin Mets fans who actually have a reason to have no faith in their Front Office and call them idiots.

        • But developing pitchers is PART of winning the WS. Our plan to win the World Series involves making Joba and Phil starting pitchers.

        • Riddering says:

          I was being too blithe in my comment. What I really meant is that just because the Yankees won the World Series last year doesn’t mean that I will assume they can make the right decisions regarding their young pitchers in order to develop from within and remain competitive without jacking the payroll sky high.

          In no way would I lose all faith in Yankee management if they make a decision I disagree with concerning Joba and Hughes. But my confidence level for the future of this team would take a hit. It’d seem that they aren’t learning any lessons but their own mistakes or looking around at the climate of teams around them. The Rays are popping out pitchers and other talent like delicious hot cakes. Protecting the 8th isn’t going to give the Yankees an edge in their division for the future.

  59. Drew says:

    Re-reading Sherman’s article. It seems that he has no evidence. This jumped out at me:

    Brian Cashman refused to divulge the identity of the No. 5 starter before more meetings were held and all involved parties were informed of the decision. But he did say, “I can’t deny that 2010 and 2011 are part of the conversation. What does the team look like right now, but also what does the team look like going forward.”

    That screams Hughes in the rotation.

    How does that scream Hughes? If he is using that as his evidence, I don’t know how much credence I give to this rumor.

  60. Thomas A. Anderson says:

    How anyone could decisively conclude that a player can’t hack it as a starter when said player hasn’t even thrown 300 IP is a bit of a mystery to me.

    Is Joba Chamberlain a better reliever than a starter? In the unbelievebly small sample size we have, yes he is. Then again, if you stick Josh Beckett in a relief role, he may also put up a sub 1.00 WHIP in 75+ IP.

    Relief pitching is not, never has been, and never will be more valuable than starting pitching. If you have someone with Joba’s talent, wouldn’t it make sense to give him every opportunity to fail as a starter before making him a reliever for good?

    I mean, if people were this stubborn and impaitent with a young player’s development, then guys like Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Roy Halladay would never have become what they are.

    Is either Phil or Joba going to be as good as they are? Probably not. But a team would never know that unless they are willing to live with growing pains.

    It’s hilarious. Yankee fans and the media at large cried out for NY to develop their own great, young starting pitching for the better part of the last decade. When the team actually has two guys with front-end ability/potential, they want to cut them out at the knees to put them in roles that are less useful to the team’s chances at winning.

    Tim Lincecum and Felix Hernandez are exceptions, not the rule. It actually takes a little patience and effort to groom good – great starters.

    I can only hope the Yankees know that and are willing to give both Joba and Phil a fair chance. And by fair chance, I mean log 600+ innings as starting pitchers before even thinking of condemmning them to being relievers.

    As

    • Relief pitching is not, never has been, and never will be more valuable than starting pitching. If you have someone with Joba’s talent, wouldn’t it make sense to give him every opportunity to fail as a starter before making him a reliever for good?

      I mean, if people were this stubborn and impaitent with a young player’s development, then guys like Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Roy Halladay would never have become what they are.

      Repeated for emphasis.

      CHUUUUUUUUUUCH!

    • It’s hilarious. Yankee fans and the media at large cried out for NY to develop their own great, young starting pitching for the better part of the last decade. When the team actually has two guys with front-end ability/potential, they want to cut them out at the knees to put them in roles that are less useful to the team’s chances at winning.

      Gotta love irony, right?

    • bexarama says:

      ugh this is such a beautiful comment, let’s go get married right now

  61. Ivan says:

    Gee this would be all be moot if the yankees let Hughes continue to start in 09, but no, they elected to pitch Wang one more time and guess what Wang is not on the team and slowed the development of Hughes AND to certain extent Joba…

  62. JGS says:

    Yankee fans and the media at large cried out for NY to develop their own great, young starting pitching for the better part of the last decade. When the team actually has two guys with front-end ability/potential, they want to cut them out at the knees to put them in roles that are less useful to the team’s chances at winning.

    Repeated for emphasis. You can’t bash the Yankees for their spending while simultaneously insisting that they not try to maximize their cheap talent, forcing them to spend more.

    For what it’s worth, Felix had a 4.52 ERA/98+ in his first full season, he just did that at 20.

  63. EvoLuTioN says:

    i saw this coming when we resigned Andy…..i love the guy but we need the youth movement. We payed a pretty penny for Andy

    Both Hughes and Joba should have been in the rotation, no questions asked. i still HOPE that joba ends up in AAA in the starting rotation. putting either of these pitchers in the bullpen is nonsense.

    • bexarama says:

      Both Hughes and Joba should have been in the rotation, no questions asked.
      Why? They’re both still very young and the SP depth after them falls off. IIRC, they resigned Andy before they traded for Javy, so maybe they didn’t think they could get a pitcher that would fit their needs as well as Javy does (innings etc.) via trade. Maybe if they’d gotten Javy before Andy, they would have had to think about it… but at the time they signed Andy, if they hadn’t signed him, the rotation would have been like, CC, AJ, Joba, Hughes, some unknown pitcher. I would not have been too thrilled with that.

  64. Will says:

    I have to find all of these reactions a little funny. I remember a few weeks ago Mike said during a chat that the “competition” was just for show and the job was Joba’s to begin with. A lot of people here echoed that belief which is fine. All along I was skeptical of that rationale because it just didn’t seem fair. Everyone here comments how the media and the press aren’t true baseball people and can’t see the grand plan. They don’t share they same vision that the Yankees have and all that.

    Anyone that quetioned this was shunned and made fun of. I understand that making fun of B-Jobbers is funny and calling people in the media “meidots” is ironic, but it got old.

    I dont want to say “I Told You So” because I didnt say anything. I’ve always believed that both Joba and Hughes should be given the chance to start, but I’ve always felt Hughes was a higher prospect and had a higher ceiling. Clearly that hasnt always been the sentiment now. If Hughes were to go to the pen this year and Joba start I’d be fine with that, as long as Hughes was given a rotations hot in the future.

    Its just funny to me how dead set everyone was about Joba being the 5th starter. Everyone was convinced he would start, the chat polls suggested that, the post comments said that. Well, if Sherman is right, then everyone has been wrong. So wrong too because Sherman believes it was Hughes to win, as did the Yankees brass. So many people here believed the complete opposite. It makes me question how so many people got it so different.

    • Zack says:

      “It makes me question how so many people got it so different.”

      Because one group made their decision based on results, and actions from the FO.
      While the other group made it on mentality bull shit.

    • Drew says:

      Well, it depended on who you asked. Many of us here honestly thought it was Joba’s job to lose. Many of the beatwriters thought it was Hughes to lose.

      If this is in fact true, and Joba goes to the pen rather than AAA, it appears the beatwriters were right, and I still don’t understand why the Yanks went this way. I guess it’s impatience by the FO.

    • It makes me question how so many people got it so different.

      Because we believed in the wisdom of the front office to look at the big picture and ignore the media overreaction (which they’ve done several times in the past), and that wisdom now seems oddly lacking.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      If Hughes were to go to the pen this year and Joba start I’d be fine with that, as long as Hughes was given a rotations hot in the future.

      But not vice versa?

  65. Steve S says:

    I said this two years ago. Cashman was not prepared to stick with this development of young pitching. And its obvious they never had a real plan and they still don’t. They’ll never really try and develop a starter. Hughes will struggle at some point this year and theyll overreact and make the same kind of mistakes with him. The reality is that Joba is essentially stuck in the pen now because it is more than likely that hell succeed/excel in that role. We’ll never know but they may have flushed a good to dominant starter down the toilet because he was inconsistent at age 23.

    http://riveraveblues.com/2008/.....york-3266/

    • Will says:

      Youre getting way too far ahead of yourself here. No one knows what will happen to Joba down the road, dont assume it yet.

      • Steve S says:

        That is just not being realistic. The fact is that if he spends the year in the bullpen then you have two issues:
        (1) The impact on his arm if they try and transition him back into the rotation; and
        (2) He continues to dominate out of the bullpen. And they decide that this whole ridiculous rhetoric on the 8th inning and the heir to Mo is true.

        I just dont see a realistic scenario where he comes back to the rotation. Even assuming Hughes struggles, I would bet they would turn to Aceves or Mitre and then the trade market to fill the rotation.

        Same thing- what happens if they have an injury in the rotation? Then we’ll hear the nonsense that they don’t want to weaken the bullpen when Joba isnt consistent in the rotation.

        This is a bad decision and its been coming since February. All that specualtion by the media that we mocked because it made no sense, well guess what, the FO seems to be the source of this insanely stupid rumor/fact.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Amen. There was no plan. There were good intentions, but no plan. They just played it by ear.

    • chriskeo says:

      Nice piece Steve, good points, but I think I found an answer to this question:

      The Red Sox had a third place finish; what would happen in New York if the Yankees crumbled in late August and finished in third place?

      Ladies and Gentlemen your 2009 World Champions: The New York Yankees

      • Steve S says:

        The 2009 World Championship was a result of spending hundreds of millions of dollars for the best free agents in the last five to ten years. The decision we are discussing is exactly what I was concerned about. The landscape of baseball is changing- CC and Tex wont be available most winters to supplement. They need Hughes and Joba to develop into quality starters. And not even for the next ten years but in reality for the next two. You could have two open spots next year and you could lose or be renegotiating with CC the following year. And there is no more blaming Steinbrenner. This is a shortsighted and bad decision.

        • Lanny says:

          And you fill that spot with Lee and use your resources to trade for an ace. That is why you have a top notch farm system.

          • Steve S says:

            So the solution is to sign a 33 year old free agent who will wants five to seven years and $100M, to front a rotation of a $18M 35 year AJ, and who?. Thats an awful business model and probably will become a disaster That is exactly the type of maneuvers that created problems five years ago. And trading for aces always happens. Find me the “ace” that will be available over the next five years- (i) Josh Johnson? Nope (ii) Grienke? Never coming to NY and signed to an affordable deal (iii) Felix? that dream ended.

            The Yankees have the ability to be dominant if they commit to using their resources the right way, not the easiest way.

  66. CS Yankee says:

    Now thought to be extinct….

    Tasmanian Wolf
    Babal Hartebeest
    Bipartisan Politician
    Joba Chamberlain Starting Pitcher

    Say it isn’t so???

  67. Tank the Frank says:

    In the words of the great Mooj: This is the bullshit of all BULLSHIT!

  68. bexarama says:

    Posted above in a reply fail:
    http://twitter.com/Ledger_Yank.....0998351564
    Girardi says they didn’t decide the fifth starter yet.

  69. Steve H says:

    Is maybe Sherman trying to draw the Yankees out a few days early? And maybe if he’s right, he can say he broke the story?

    And hell, if he’s wrong, it’s nothing new.

  70. Steve H says:

    Brian Cashman refused to divulge the identity of the No. 5 starter before more meetings were held and all involved parties were informed of the decision. But he did say, “I can’t deny that 2010 and 2011 are part of the conversation. What does the team look like right now, but also what does the team look like going forward.”

    That screams Hughes in the rotation.

    Hmmm. Not at all what I get from that.

  71. Steve H says:

    Another gem:

    Yankees officials know it will be uneasy to inform Aceves and Mitre that despite excelling in their rotation bids that they are going to the pen.

    Really? That’s going to be tough? That will be about as tough as telling them they aren’t going to be the starter on Opening Day. They never had a chance.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Seriously. Boo fucking hoo. I’ll volunteer to tell Aceves and Mitre as long as they keep Joba in the rotation.

      • Steve H says:

        Girardi: Derek, you’re not going to be batting cleanup this year.
        Jeter: No $hit.

        That seems about the same conversation as telling Sergio friggin Mitre that he will not be in the rotation for the New York Yankees in 2010. Maybe, maybe, it would be a tiny bit tougher for Aceves, but if either Mitre or Aceves ever thought they had a legitimate chance to “win” the spot based on a 10 innings in ST, they are on drugs. Hallucinogenic drugs.

    • Spaceman.Spiff says:

      In other news, Yankee sources reported that it was very uneasy to inform Brett Gardner that despite excelling in his CF bid that he was going to start in LF for the season. So uneasy, that Cashman’s ears reddened and Girardi whipped out the awkward turtle.

      /Irresponsible journalism’d

      • bexarama says:

        OMG awkward turtle!!!

        (some of the comments here have made me mega depressed so it’s either laugh about the awkward turtle or eat chocolate or something. I’ll laugh about the awkward turtle.)

    • radnom says:

      It wouldn’t have been tough, if the Yankees didn’t go out of their way to claim they had a chance based on ST results. Too bad they did.
      There was one quote where Girardi literally promised on his children’s lives that it was a true 5 person competition. I don’t understand why they went through such lengths if the reports that there was a clear favorite all along are true. Imagine if Aceves replaced one of his bad ST starts with a good one, it would be really awkward to say ‘oh hey yeah we were just kidding, we just wanted to make you think you had a chance to keep morale up’.

      • bexarama says:

        I think Aceves, Mitre, Gaudin, whoever, would have also understood that there were things *beyond Spring Training* that were factoring into the fifth starter decision.

        Also, you know… professionals.

        • radnom says:

          I assume they understand that as well (as did the media/fans).
          Still doesn’t make it strange that the Yankees would go so far out of their way to contradict that all spring. If anything makes that awkward, this owuld be it.

          • bexarama says:

            maybe it really was a Joba/Hughes competition (whether you think it should be or not) and they didn’t want to outwardly say that? I don’t know.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      (cut to Girardi’s office)

      Girardi: (near tears) Ramiro, have a seat
      Pena: What is it, skip?
      Girardi: Ramiro, in all my years in baseball, this is the toughest thing I’ve had to do.
      Pena: (getting nervous) You’re sending me to the minors?
      Girardi: No…
      Pena: You’re cutting me?
      Girardi: (crying) You aren’t starting at SS this year.
      Pena: NOOOOOO!!!! I have 2 steals in 12 games this spring how could you do this?
      Girardi: I- I’m sorry.

  72. Drew says:

    Until Chad Jenning’s posts “Girardi says Hughes will break camp as fifth starter,” I’m holding out hope that this is bullshit.

  73. A.D. says:

    It really just doesn’t make any sense to go this route, given innings limits and what they did last year.

  74. pete says:

    I read this this morning, did some research, and came out with the following: In all of Joba’s untampered starts (that is to say, excluding his two abbreviated stretch-out starts in June of ’08, and excluding his truncated starts at the end of last year), which amount to 184.1 innings. Joba has a 3.62 ERA, at ages 23 and 24, in the AL East. 3.62. AL East. Age 23 and 24.

    Phil Hughes has never, ever, ever had that kind of success over that large a sample. Not to say that he won’t ever, but Joba isn’t leading the 5th starter competition because of innings. Nor because he is the incumbent. Not even because of his demonstrably better stuff right now (Joba’s been 93-95, had great break on his slider, thrown a solid curve and change, Hughes has been 89-91, great break on his curve, solid change, solid cutter). Joba is better because at this point in his career, he is WAY better at starting than Hughes is. The other stuff just pushes it further in his favor.

  75. Geek says:

    Alfredo Aceves should be the 5th starter. Hughes and Joba should be in the bull pen and I don’t see the bull pen as any less important than the starting pitcher. We now like in an era of pitch counts and the DH where pitchers do not often have complete games.

    • CS Yankee says:

      O:S

      • Tom Zig says:

        I don’t know if he qualifies just yet. Give him a chance to be educated.

        • bexarama says:

          he does have the username “geek”

          • Exhibit B:
            He doesn’t know that “bullpen” is one word.

            Exhibit C:
            He can’t tell the difference between the word “live” and the word “like”.

            Exhibit D:
            He doesn’t use commas or semicolons.

            Exhibit E:
            He’s a B-Jobber (“I don’t see the bull pen as any less important than the starting pitcher”).

            It’s not looking good so far…

        • CS Yankee says:

          OK

          So….

          Aceves
          1) Is a 3 inning wonder…we need more than that for a starter.
          2) Least likely to provider long term value due to his age & makeup (lacks a heater).
          3) Unlikely to go the 150-175 innings needed as a 5th guy.

          Bullpen
          1) In general is 1/2 the value as a SP whereas the SP goes 6 or so & the pen finishes the game. Therefore if you can, you take your better players and have them play more.
          2) Therefore (after reading #1) you should not take two elite rated SP prospects and sacriface their impact on the team by putting them as RP
          3) Yankees have resisted trading these two to other teams to utilize them as SP. They are cheap, young, under control and talented SP prospects which means that almost every other team would love to place them in their rotation today.

          Pitch counts, DH, & no SP closes today
          1) What does this have to do with the price of coffee?
          1)

    • Steve H says:

      I don’t see the bull pen as any less important than the starting pitcher.

      Don’t you agree that 200 innings are more important than 60 innings?

      That’s like saying a HR isn’t more important than a single, they’re both hits after all.

      • Lanny says:

        What about 60 high quality innings from Rivera compared to 200 avg innings from a low quality starter?

        Give me the elite reliever.

        • JGS says:

          Good starters and bad relievers >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> bad starters and good relievers. The Phillies made it to the Series with a terrible pen (the Angels succeeded with a lousy one too), and the Royals have probably the most underrated closer in the game toiling in anonymity because their non-Greinke staff is just that bad

        • Dirty Pena says:

          To put it simply, you’re wrong.

        • CS Yankee says:

          Choices:

          A) 60 innings @ 2.50 ERA is a elite RP
          versus
          B) 60 innings @ 3.50 ERA as a solid RP

          Now you must choose a 5th starter

          A) 175 innings @ 6.00 ERA as low quality starter
          versus
          B) 175 innings @ 4.75 ERA as grooming a #3 SP

          If your choice isn’t B….well you won less games kiddo.

          This is having Park (or someone like him) giving up maybe 6 more runs than Joba/Hughes as a RP but developing them compared to a low quality starter will cost you another 25 runs.

          It’s worse if you use your 200 IP example.

  76. Accent Shallow says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rotation featuring both Hughes and Joba by the All-Star break, either due to injury or Pettitte falling off a cliff.

    • Lanny says:

      You really think they’d mess with the pen for that?

      They’d go out and trade for a starter.

      • Accent Shallow says:

        Not that anyone’s going to read this, but yes. Joba/Hughes would be good in the pen, but they have the horses to have a great pen even if they’re both hit by a bus tomorrow.

        Not to mention there’s not going to be a cheaply available starter near either of their talent.

  77. Poopy Pants says:

    I think the most important thing to remember:

    Joba starting = More opportunities for Joba to *throw at Youk

    * Throwing at Youk = pitching on the inside half of the plate, but Youk hangs his head over the plate like a douche.

  78. Accent Shallow says:

    Also, if this thread is this bad, what will be the tone of the thread when they actually announce the fifth starter? Yikes.

  79. Tom Zig says:

    So I guess by tomorrow or Friday, we all can expect an answer to the 5th starter question?

    • mustang says:

      I think the answer is probably already upon us, but yes reality will smack people in the face tomorrow or Friday.

  80. I’ve always been against the Andy Pettitte signing, and now it’s coming back to bite the Yankees in the ass. Both Hughes and Joba can give the Yankees Andy’s production and, in the case of the latter, his innings for a fraction of the price. As was mentioned before, letting Wang pitch was a poor move as well, which was made worse by the decision not to put Hughes back in the rotation.

    There’s also the matter of psychology. In the comments, it has been disregarded by most (save for a few posters). When you come out of the bullpen, you are ready for pitching the X amount of innings and their importance your role generally dictates. The same applies for when you start (and, by extension, Hughes and Chamberlain). Anyone who denies the impact of role simply hasn’t played the game or experienced differently from the way most have.

    • Drew says:

      I’ve always been against the Andy Pettitte signing, and now it’s coming back to bite the Yankees in the ass.

      Completely disagree.

      Anything can and will happen during the season. Having a stalwart like Pettitte only increases our chances of repeating. That’s the ultimate goal of 2010. The loser of the 5th starter battle could easily go to Scranton and be ready to fill in this year, or pitch 200 innings in the Majors next year.

      • Having a stalwart like Pettitte only increases our chances of repeating.

        Pettitte is done after this year. If the Yankees can’t get Hughes and Chamberlain to the rotation in 2011 because of their respective seasons in 2010 and are unwilling to shell out the big bucks for a starter in 2011, they won’t repeat tehn. The goal is to win as often as possible, and sacrificing one or even two years in the future for one now isn’t terribly wise, IMO.

        • Drew says:

          I don’t understand.

          The goal is to win as often as possible, and sacrificing one or even two years in the future for one now isn’t terribly wise, IMO.

          What exactly are we sacrificing by having Andy Pettitte?

          • CS Yankee says:

            Agreed

            Don’t write off a mainstay. Others have melted like cheap butter but Pettitte have found a way to get it done (mostly) when it matters (postseason) the most.

            If this is due to luck, well I rather be lucky than good.

    • Lanny says:

      How can you be against the Andy signing?

      I guess some people didnt watch him pitch last yr and forget how great Hughes and Kennedy were in ’08 in the rotation.

      What is the problem with depth in the pitching dept? Also they obv dont think that Joba is a starter long term or they wouldnt have traded for Vazquez.

    • I disagree. There was nothing wrong with signing Andy or trading for Vazquez. Pitching depth is important. Signing Andy and trading for Javy allows us to take one of our two young starters and leave him in Scranton as the 6th starter.

      The error is when we don’t make that loser of the 5th starter competition the 6th starter but make him a situational reliever in the bullpen instead. The marginal upgrade from DRob/Aceves/Marte/Park to Joba or Hughes in the 8th inning is smaller than the marginal upgrade from Aceves/Mitre/Gaudin/Hirsh/Nova to Joba or Hughes as the 6th starter in Scranton.

      Signing Andy was smart. It’s moving Joba or Phil to the bullpen that’s dumb. The 6th starter should be starting in Scranton, not relieving in New York.

      • Drew says:

        Anything can and will happen during the season. Having a stalwart like Pettitte only increases our chances of repeating. That’s the ultimate goal of 2010. The loser of the 5th starter battle could easily go to Scranton and be ready to fill in this year, or pitch 200 innings in the Majors next year.

        Amen brother.

      • I can definitely see your argument, and, too be clear, I agree with the Javy trade. But I just think it’s more efficient, from the standpoints of financial and production, to have had both in 2009 than Andy + one

  81. Hey ZZ says:

    If this news is indeed true it comes down to one thing. The Yankees believe Phil Hughes will be a better SP than Joba Chamberlain in 2010. That is all it is ever about with the Yankees. Do what is best for the team today and figure out the rest later. They have demonstrated this time and time again in Joba’s and Phil’s short career.

    They could very well be right about Phil being better than Joba in 2010. I have seen many people quote Joba’s career statistics and Phil’s career statistics. The problem is that both these guys are very different pitchers than they were 2-3 years ago. In 2008, Joba during his time as a SP was one of the best starters in the game. He had great command and movement on his pitches, he was maintaining his fastball velocity late into the game, was keeping hitters off balance, etc. His mechanics were sound and he literally had an arm that made you drool over his potential.

    Last year, Joba was nothing like that guy. We all know about his velocity, movement, and command. He was uncomfortable on the mound, rarely pitched in a rhythm, constantly shook of his catcher, was incredibly predictable with his slider, and simply was very lucky to maintain his below 4 ERA for as long as he did. Most importantly though, his mechanics were all over the place inning to inning and game to game. He was not a guy who you look at his mechanics and think he can sustain success as a SP. The numbers were ok to good for a while, but that arm we saw in 2008 was not there.

    Hughes on the other hand has always been the guy with great command and great mechanics. He was held back as a starter in previous years based on injury and his inability to develop a 3rd and/or 4th pitch. He was unable to get comfortable with a specified grip with his changeup and feel confident throwing it. His career ERA+ and other numbers as a starter reflect that. Now, it seems he has finally found a grip that works for him and has seemingly developed an effective cutter and change up. He also apparently is more confident from his time in the bullpen last year (not sure I buy that but whatever.)

    Therefore, if the decision is really just about who is better in 2010 past numbers should really not play a prominent role. Based on who these guys are today, the Yankees have a number of reasons to believe Hughes will be better as a starter in 2010.

    Either way Joba or Hughes in the bullpen, this decision is a manifestation of poor choices on the part of the Yankees. There is no right answer and they are completely at fault for being in this position. Joba should never have been bounced around from BP to SP. Phil should never have gone to the BP last year. He could have made 25+ starts last year. He would be in a much better position innings wise and the Yankees would have much better information as to how Phil is as a starting pitcher in 2010 and going forward. The Yankees may not have had to trade prospects for Vazquez if Phil was great last year in 25+ starts. They may have to hand out another 80+ million dollar contract next year for a SP. There are just so many implications of really their incompetence with these 2 kids.

    • Hey ZZ says:

      wow that post is really long. sorry about that.

      • No problem.

        That is all it is ever about with the Yankees. Do what is best for the team today and figure out the rest later.

        You may be right. If you are, that’s a problem, because that strategy is not a sound long-term strategy.

        • Hey ZZ says:

          Of course it is not. The Yankees are very lucky they got Sabathia in general and got him when they did. Young SP getting locked up long term this is becoming the norm, not the exception.

          The only thing I can think they remotely rationalizes this belief is that the Yankees want to go all out on a yearly basis as Jeter, Mo, Posada, Andy, A-Rod, etc. age and very possibly decline. And there is no telling when these guys are in fact going to decline.

    • bexarama says:

      pete’d

  82. bart says:

    As far as I can tell, since Javier Vazquez was signed, there was only room for one more starter. Absolutely no one complained when they heard that there would be a competition for the 5th spot in the rotation. Yet now that rumors, RUMORS are circulating that Hughes will be the 5th starter, everyone’s up in arms about Joba filling ANY role other than that of a starter. I would love to see them both start this year but it would simply make the team weaker. If Joba will help us more out of the bullpen, that’s for the Yankees coaches to determine. I agree that sticking him in the pen would make those damn rules pretty ridiculous but this is a team trying to do their best to win #28. Furthermore, I havent heard a single thing about the loser of the 5th starter job NOT going to AAA to get stretched out. That’s the part everyone leaves out.

  83. Dave says:

    Just hope whoever actually ends up in the 5th spot doesn’t struggle because the temptation to reverse the situation early in the year in a knee jerk reaction would be tempting and potentially disastrous.

  84. dmitri says:

    I think someone high up in the Yankee organization knew Joba would never have durability to be a front of the rotation starter. When he was drafted outta Nebraska, Chamberlain already had arm problems and I believe these “Joba Rules” were in place to keep his recurring shoulder problems at bay (Remember when a certain Marlins manager overused one of their promising you starters into Tommy John). I’ve been a proponent of keeping Joba in the pen since Day 1. Even as a back of the roto guy, this guy doesn’t eat innings. His stuff is simply too good and his demeanor is too RAH RAH for him to get outs over 7 innings. Hughes, on the other hand, is exactly the even-keel guy the Yanks need in the rotation. Hopefully his changeup continues to improve and he solidifies his spot in the Yanks roto for years to come.

  85. James says:

    Huuuuuuuuuuughes!

  86. AndrewYF says:

    Man, Hughes is going to become a lot of people’s least favorite player when he consistently puts up those 5-inning, 3 R starts that’s been typical of his career and leaves the bullpen exhausted.

  87. Hawkins44 says:

    One of them will be tangling in the wind…… let it go…

  88. Andrew what? says:

    If you listen Buster Olney on the Michael Kay show, he states that the yankees have had discussions about Chamberlain, even before spring training and believe that he has a hard time repeating his delivery over the course of a game and concluded that perhaps the pen is probably the best spot for him. I guess we can take it for what its worth and speculate if Olney is right. I still think the FO is acting too prematurely and not giving Joba a chance; but, we all have to remember that we’re not scouts and we don’t kknow the mechanics behind pitching and whose suited for throwing 100 ptiches a game or not

  89. KevinP says:

    Why can’t Hughes pitch in the bullpen and be the long man or at least not relegated to 1 inning stints?

    This way he will pitch more than 70 innings and you could get to him around 120?

    Things rarely go as planned, so start the year with Jobs as your 5th, Hughes in the pen and see how things shake out.

    If everyone else in the pen is lights out and the starting rotation holds up, send Hughes down to get his innings/starts and then bring him back to the pen as needed.

    Joba is 1 year older than Hughes and pitched longer as a starter with more success. Unless the FO spotted something or know about something they ain’t releasing about Joba there is no logic involved in this.

  90. RollingWave says:

    Pitcher A:

    as a starter : 5.22 ERA .778 OPS against
    as a reliever: 1.40 ERA .456 OPS against

    Pitcher B:

    as a starter : 4.18 ERA .759 OPS against
    as a reliever: 1.50 ERA .512 OPS against

    guess which one is Phil and Which one is Joba.

    I will also point out that last year pitcher A in games he started has his four-seamer average barely over 90mph, while pitcher B started the year averaging around 94 and ended averaging 92.

    • Mac says:

      Your analysis needs more detail. First, both guys using gross #’s are pretty similar as relievers.

      Second, Joba in 07 was simply ridiculous – 24 ip 34 K’s .38 era – then he got hurt and it seems he lost a few mph on his fb.

      Hughes was great last year in the pen, post season, for whatever reason he lost something. Regardless, either guy is probably the best reliever save for Mo in the pen.

      Yanks are probably putting winning this year over the development of both guys, but they probably have alot more info and insight into both guys as what their potential is (or they think they do).

      Other long shot, maybe they dont want to pay Mo 30 mil for 2 after this year?

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        “Second, Joba in 07 was simply ridiculous – 24 ip 34 K’s .38 era – then he got hurt and it seems he lost a few mph on his fb.”

        He got hurt in 2008 and his 2007 was a product of the original joba rules. The kid couldn’t fail under those rules

  91. SabathiaWouldBeGoodAtTheEighthToo says:

    Trade AJ. Problem solved.

    Seriously though, remember the ‘crisis’ last year about Swisher and Nady? That lasted what, all of 1 game?

    I say, Hughes = innings limit in 2010, Joba = no innings limit in 2010. If one has to start in the pen, let that the the means by which they limit Hughes innings, try to get him relief outings of 3 or 4 innings (AJ or Joba frequently can’t make it out of the 5th or 6th so that shouldn’t be tough) so he’ll stay stretched out enough to be a starter when the need arises. This way they won’t need to mess with his late-season schedule like they did with Joba last season.

    If Joba has the OK to thorw 200 innings this year, let him do it and we’ll really be able to see what he can do as a starter. If he really can’t hack it, maybe move him to the pen (though I would be inclined top give him at least one more season to see if he could make it work in the rotation).

  92. Hey Yo says:

    B-Jobbers- 1
    The Rest- 0

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