The “leader” of the fifth starter competition

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Just a week ago, Sergio Mitre apparently led the fifth starter competition. But then Al Aceves pitched well, so he was the story. Last night Phil Hughes pitched well, so Wednesday’s stories revolve around how he has stepped up in the fifth starter competition. That, and how this is Joba’s last chance — ever, according to many scribes — to audition for the rotation. The way we’ve seen this story portrayed makes the Yankees’ braintrust seem rather fickle.

I’m not really buying any of it. Maybe the team had a fifth starter picked out before they even came to camp. Maybe they’ve already made a decision based on what they’ve seen. I doubt, however, that they’re anxiously awaiting the results of exhibition games in order to determine the winner. These games are played under completely different circumstances than normal games, and I’m not sure the Yankees can make their decision based on those results.

That isn’t to say that the games are meaningless. The staff can observe the pitchers and see if they’re doing the right things — mixing pitches, throwing strikes, challenging hitters, etc. The results, though, shouldn’t much matter. As we’ve been saying all spring, there’s just too much going on.

Take Phil Hughes’s appearance last night for example. The results show that he pitched very well: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 59 pitches. Yet he faced mostly substitutes. Not only substitutes, but substitutes from the NL’s worst offense. Can the Yankees really trust the results in this case? Of course not. But they can observe other aspects of Hughes during the start and make determinations. That, I think, is what this competition is based on — if it’s really a competition at all.

Today Joba starts against Philadelphia, the NL’s best offense. If he goes his four innings, but allows five hits, two runs, and walks one, will that really be judged as worse than Hughes’s outing? The discrepancy in talent there is immense, the reserves on a terrible offense against the starters on the best offense. In fact, if Joba pitches well we should all be encouraged, since he did it against tougher competition.

This is all a rant to say that these stories in the newspaper don’t necessarily reflect the actual decision-making process. They’re stories based on the results of the game and conversations with staff. Maybe they give us a little insight into the team’s thought process, but maybe they don’t. Again, maybe the team is keeping its true intentions under wraps. We don’t know. What we do know, though, is that trusting the straight results of these spring training appearances won’t help us better guess the competition. There are just too many variables involved.

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  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    I pitched a 2 hit shutout on RBI Baseball last night, I believe I am now in the lead for the 5th spot.

    With Joba today, it’s more about stuff than results. I’m sure they have a plan, hopefully throw his full repertriore of pitches and hopefully there is an uptick in his endurance and velocity. If April 15th comes around and Joba is getting shelled while throwing 90-91, then I’ll be concerned. Until then, he, hands down, should be the 5th starter.

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

      “Until then, he, hands down, should be the 5th starter.”

      Assertion doesn’t make fact, friend.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Until then, he, hands down*, should be the 5th starter.”

        *IMHO

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        I’m not your friend, pal.

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

          Im not you’re pal, guy.

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

            (sic)

            *your

  • kunaldo

    My vent in the off-topic thread was exactly about this. I agree, the Yankees mgmt is almost definitely NOT this fickle, and it’s mainly the media either trying to create stories out of nothing or just twisting the results to fit their own agendas, or both.

    Either way, lets see a couple more starts before we make any judgements, or at least some definitive statement from a member of the Yankees brass(not anonymous either).

    Also, in the interest of fairness, won’t Joba most likely be facing subs as well? I thought Pettitte was taking on the first 4 or 5 innings. I could be mistaken though. (Granted, I’m sure the Phillies subs > the Astros subs)

    • Bo

      dont blame the fo for the press needing to write interesting stories

      just because they speculate about it doesnt mean the yankee fo does

    • Rose

      it’s mainly the media either trying to create stories out of nothing or just twisting the results to fit their own agendas, or both.

      Cmon, the media doesn’t do that…

  • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

    no love for chad gaudin?

    im not worried at all. I have faith. i hope it is not misplaced. I would see joba start as the 5th, hughes in aaa because even if they do that i would be willing to bet money they need him for a start before may

  • theyankeewarrior

    Maybe Gaudin, Mitre and Aceves never had a chance, but I can’t believe Hughes and Joba didn’t come into the spring on a level playing surface. And to date, Joba has shown nothing and Phil has shown an improved changeup to go along with his other 3 pitches. The “results” have been there and he is throwing strikes.

    I think that if Joba wants that 5th spot, he needs to have a decent showing today, and try to build from there.

  • A.D.

    The 5th starter competition is starting to get into the B-Jobber realm of debate, it’s just tiring.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      It’s mainly tiring because it’s not being discussed in a rational way by rational people, it’s being discussed by B-Jobbers themselves, who are using the guise of the 5th starter competition to reconfigure and restate their tired, discredited B-Jobber theory.

      I’d believe the NYC press corps’ statements and articles about how Aceves/Hughes are winning the fifth starter battle and that Joba is pitching his way out of contention more if they didn’t accompany their thoughts with gleeful proclamations about how Ace or Hughes winning the fifth starter role then somehow magically allows Joba to return to his designated role as an 8th inning specialist/heir to Mo, where (Oh! happy accident) he really belongs in the first place.

      Propaganda disguised as debate or journalism is tiring to read, yes.

      • Bo

        What has he done as a starter that makes this a terrible debate?

        It’s all people saying he has 4 pitches and great frontline stuff.

        It would be nice of him to actually u know go out there and do it.

        You can whine all you want about it but it is a debate.

        • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          no. it is not. he was an average/above average starter for the whole year last yea and has the upside of an ace. you, as usual, have no idea what youre talking about, as with every ignorant bjobber

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            O:S

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              Beat me to it.

            • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              you know, your posting O:S on everyone’s comments is more annoying then responding to him.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                We know. We’re trying to annoy you into submission, Brendog. We have to nip this shit in the bud.

                • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

                  well, if i want to respond to him and he is on topic and my opinion about what he is talking about is on topic. i will.

                  it’s not like i am getting into a tangential convo hijacking the thread with him, dude doesnt answer, and if he does then it’s just, whatever.

                  and in a bit of hypocrisy I don’t want to be given the O:S when i am on topic when you guys are going with this (which i do too and fine, it happens, but to throw the O:S on me when i am on topic is hypocritical)
                  http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-805035

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  Meh, we’re not saying you have no right to respond, just saying you’re wasting your breath. We all are when we respond to SBGL.

                  Look at it this way:

                  1.) We all know the shit Bo says is horrendously ignorant and invariably wrong. No need to rebut it, we all automatically rebut it in our minds and dismiss him as a buffoon.
                  2.) We all know your individual position on the matter, Brendog; you disagree with whatever Bo is saying. Because he’s wrong, and you’re right; because he’s dumb, and you’re not dumb. So, I can already write your intelligent reply that you were going to say in my mind as well.
                  3.) We all know Bo isn’t going to respond, or if he does, it’ll be well after the fact, like a day later when none of us care anymore or will respond. And that response will also be horrendously stupid. So, there’s no point in poking or prodding him to defend his inanity; he won’t.

                  So… let’s just move on. I still get the urge to fight the good fight like you do, but some people are just irredeemable morons and it’s not worth anyone’s time. Whatevs.

                • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

                  meh. it’s st pattys day. where is my mug of green george stoutbrenner?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size
              • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                WWDBD

                • BklynJT

                  Where is the damn meme dictionary when you need it???

      • Zack

        This. It’s to the point where people are almost openly want Joba to fail as a starter just so they’re right (We know who they are).
        And there’s such a double-standard when it comes to the two- Joba has better numbers as a starter, while Hughes has better numbers as a reliever, yet they all proclaim Hughes is obviously a starter and Joba is obviously a reliever.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    What we do know, though, is that trusting the straight results of these spring training appearances won’t help us better guess the competition. There are just too many variables involved.

    Repeated for emphasis.

    • Chris

      I love the fact that Kei Igawa was the team leader in strike outs during Spring Training in 2007. That fact alone is enough for me to completely ignore Spring Training stats from now on.

      • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        i wonder in 25 years when our kids and grand kids look back at statistics if they will say wow why didnt the yankees give igawa a chance?!!? look at those aaa numbers, he was a beast. and his ML numbers scream SSS. cashman was a dunce.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          If my kid ever asks me why Igawa didn’t get a chance, I’ll get the belt.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals

            i’ll just tell mine you had to see him with your own eyes to understand.

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

    Sherman has had an inside line to the NYY FO this offseason, it seems, so when he says that this is Joba’s “Waterloo”, it gives me pause more than it would if it were George King.

    • rbizzler

      Did he really have an inside line to the FO or did a higher percentage of his speculations come to fruition? If it was the latter, all of his opinions/speculations going forward are just as suspect as any other media member.

      While today’s start may not be Joba’s ‘Waterloo,’ it is clear that he needs to show progress. Whether that progress is going to be tangible in the eyes of the media/fanboy handicappers remains to be seen. It is entirely possible that Joba’s final line is not all that pretty, but the talent evaluators (Girardi/Eiland/Cash/etc) are encouraged none the less.

  • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Coach6423

    The thing that almost no one has mentioned about last night, was that Hughes threw 1st pitch strikes to 2 or 3 batters. His stuff is just better than that of AAA, and AA players. he has proven that YEARS ago. How the MSM and certain fans can not notice those things, and neglect to report them, drives me insane.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      What things? His first pitch strike count? Eh.

      And by “just”, do you mean “just barely” or “it is clearly better than”?

      • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Coach6423

        clearly better than

    • CountryClub

      Fair point. But he also threw his changeup in situations last night that he never had before…and got good results from it.

  • gc

    Has anyone figured out with any relative degree of certainty how the rotation will likely play out for the first month of the season? As in how many times the #1 guy pitches and when, how many times the #2 guy pitches and when? Etc etc. I’m curious to see just how often a 5th starter will even be necessary during April with all the off days and such. in other words, does this “competition” even need to be settled by April 1st?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      I think they’ll use all 5 starters and give guys the extra rest.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Agreed, with the late start to the offseason and the workloads, you might as well give the top 4 rest when you can. And it’s not like the 5th starter is a bad pitcher either, there’s no reason to think you can’t win those games.

    • AMS223

      April 4th @ Boston- CC

      April 6th @ Boston- AJ

      April 7th @ Boston- Andy Pettitte

      April 9th @ Tampa- Javy

      April 10th @ Tampa- CC (on 5 days rest)

      April 11th @ Tampa- AJ

      April 13th vs LA (Home Opener)- Andy

      April 14th vs LA- Javy

      April 15th vs LA (this is where you start to get options)- CC or Joba/Hughes (I lean to have Joba/Hughes here because it gets the rotation in “proper order” but then again this is LA and if I can have CC Start 3 times in 3 series against these 3 teams I do it.)

      April 16th vs Texas- CC or AJ or Joba/Hughes (This depends who starts on the 15th, if the #5 starts then, then this will be CC again on 5 days rest. If CC starts that last game, then you can again choose between AJ on normal rest or the #5)

      April 17th vs Texas- AJ or Joba/Hughes (Aj would now be on 5 days rest and this is the latest date that the #5 should have their first start)

      April 18th vs Texas- Andy

      and then back to your regularly scheduled programming.

      Again, I think starting Joba/Hughes on the 15th does make the most sense since it gets our rotation into its proper order, but I think this is a good problem to have. A lot of people will say that Joba or Hughes has the same right to start as anybody else, but if we can skip their starts here and there, I think we need to take advantage of that.

    • Snakes on the mother effin plane

      I am too lazy to search for the source, but I do recall reading that the #5 starter would not be needed for something like the first 3 or 4 (?) weeks.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Our first 3-series, 9-day stretch of baseball with no scheduled off days is the end of April/beginning of May.

      Scheduled dates:

      S 4/04: @ BOS: #1 CC
      M 4/05: off
      T 4/06: @ BOS: #2 AJ
      W 4/07: @ BOS: #3 Andy
      T 4/08: off
      F 4/09: @ TBR: #4 Jazzy
      S 4/10: @ TBR: #1 CC – one extra day of rest
      S 4/11: @ TBR: #2 AJ – one extra day of rest
      M 4/12: off
      T 4/13: v LAA: #3 Andy – one extra day of rest
      W 4/14: v LAA: #4 Jazzy – one extra day of rest
      T 4/15: v LAA: #1 CC – on schedule
      F 4/16: v TEX: #2 AJ – on schedule
      S 4/17: v TEX: #3 Andy – on schedule
      S 4/18: v TEX: #4 Jazzy – on schedule
      M 4/19: off
      T 4/20: @ OAK: #1 CC – on schedule
      W 4/21: @ OAK: #2 AJ – on schedule
      T 4/22: @ OAK: #3 Andy – on schedule
      F 4/23: @ LAA: #4 Jazzy – on schedule
      S 4/24: @ LAA: FIFTH STARTER
      S 4/25: @ LAA: #1 CC
      M 4/26: off
      T 4/27: @ BAL: #2 AJ – one extra day of rest
      W 4/28: @ BAL: #3 Andy – one extra day of rest
      T 4/29: @ BAL: #4 Jazzy – one extra day of rest
      F 4/30: v CWS: FIFTH STARTER – one extra day of rest
      S 5/01: v CWS: #1 CC – on schedule
      S 5/02: v CWS: #2 AJ – on schedule
      M 5/03: v BAL: #3 Andy – on schedule
      T 5/04: v BAL: #4 Jazzy – on schedule
      W 5/05: v BAL: FIFTH STARTER – on schedule
      T 5/06: off

      Upcoming: 7 game roadie @ BOS, DET; 7 game homestand v MIN, BOS, TB; interleague subway series @ ShitiField (17 straight days until next scheduled off day)

      • CountryClub

        It will be interesting to see if it plays out like this. i think they’re going t want to give their starters a day off here and there when they can because of the heavy workloads last yr.

        But, if Hughes is the 5th starter they may want to skip it a time or two to start the yr because of his innings limit.

        Maybe they’ll do some sort of hybrid schedule.

        • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          the problem again with skipping them in the beginning is the risk of injury later and not mnaking the cap. just let him go and if he reaches a cap or comes close to it, send him to the pen and trot out another starter.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        OR:

        S 4/04: @ BOS: #1 CC
        M 4/05: off
        T 4/06: @ BOS: #2 AJ
        W 4/07: @ BOS: #3 Andy
        T 4/08: off
        F 4/09: @ TBR: #4 Jazzy
        S 4/10: @ TBR: #1 CC – one extra day of rest
        S 4/11: @ TBR: #2 AJ – one extra day of rest
        M 4/12: off
        T 4/13: v LAA: #3 Andy – one extra day of rest
        W 4/14: v LAA: #4 Jazzy – one extra day of rest
        T 4/15: v LAA: #1 CC FIFTH STARTER
        F 4/16: v TEX: #1 CC – one extra day of rest
        S 4/17: v TEX: #2 AJ – one extra day of rest
        S 4/18: v TEX: #3 Andy – one extra day of rest
        M 4/19: off
        T 4/20: @ OAK: #4 Jazzy – one extra day of rest
        W 4/21: @ OAK: FIFTH STARTER – one extra day of rest
        T 4/22: @ OAK: #1 CC – one extra day of rest
        F 4/23: @ LAA: #2 AJ – one extra day of rest
        S 4/24: @ LAA: #3 Andy – one extra day of rest
        S 4/25: @ LAA: #4 Jazzy – on schedule
        M 4/26: off
        T 4/27: @ BAL: FIFTH STARTER – one extra day of rest
        W 4/28: @ BAL: #1 CC – one extra day of rest
        T 4/29: @ BAL: #2 AJ – one extra day of rest
        F 4/30: v CWS: #3 Andy – one extra day of rest
        S 5/01: v CWS: #4 Jazzy – one extra day of rest
        S 5/02: v CWS: FIFTH STARTER – on schedule
        M 5/03: v BAL: #1 CC – on schedule
        T 5/04: v BAL: #2 AJ – on schedule
        W 5/05: v BAL: #3 Andy – on schedule
        T 5/06: off

        Since we a.) want to take it easy on our front 3, innings workload wise, and b.) know there will be some rainouts and we may use up some of those off days, this seems like a better plan.

        Either way, though, the fifth starter’s first start will be mid-to-late-April (the 15th or the 24th). Meaning, perhaps we should head north with one of Joba/Phil in the bullpen and the other one in Scranton, starting on schedule, and carry only 11 pitchers on the opening day roster, buying ourselves more time to evaluate Hoffmann/Thames and more time to find a trade partner for Mitre/Gaudin.

        • AMS223

          this one works and is like the one I posted above…The 15th, 16th, or 17th we will use our 5th starter

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            All those extra off days joy me.

            I hope we don’t get too rusty, though.

        • CountryClub

          Yeah, I think this is more likely what they’d go with.

      • AMS223

        your’s doesnt work…You have pettitte starting on 3-days rest on 4/17. That series against Texas is when we will first need a #5 starter.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Ah, you’re right.

          Don’t worry, use my second projection, it’s better. It’s got him taking the hill on 4/18 instead of 4/17 (although it says he’s on an extra day of rest, when it should say normal rest).

          Thanks for the catch.

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

    I don’t think it really is going to matter until the last week of spring training. I don’t think that the Yankees are worried about it until then. The media has no stories to write about so they are making the most out of every spring training start.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      I’m on board with that statement. Then again, I think this thing isn’t really a competition at all.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      The media has no stories to write about

      Great point. Maybe A-Rod, the new team focused A-Rod, can step it up and get involved in a scandal to take some heat off the rest of the team, start dating Miley Cyrus or something.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        TIGER WOODS

      • Accent Shallow

        A-Rod does have to speak with the Feds in re: Dr. Galea. WasWatching has been harping on that for awhile now.

        Doesn’t seem to have much staying power, though.

        • rbizzler

          Waswatching is still an active blog? Who knew.

    • CountryClub

      Girardi has said that they’ll know who the 5th starter is by next Friday. And he said people will start getting cut one by one. So it’s not like they will all think they’re in the chase right up until it ends.

  • CountryClub

    Unless something has changed, Joba isnt starting today. Pettitte is starting and then Marte and then Joba.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      So if Joba blows away the other team’s scrubs towards the end of the game, what will the article in the paper tomorrow look like?

      “Joba clings to spot after dominating minor leaguers.”
      “Now do it against big time hitters, Joba.”

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        “Joba again shows he is dominanting in short spurts.”

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          Good one.

          • kunaldo

            Crap, what if he enters in the 6th, but struggles a bit there and in the 7th. And then dominates the 8th?!?!

      • CountryClub

        Sadly, probably.

      • Tom Zig

        “Yankees avoid sweep”

  • mustang

    On Chamberlain:
    “You’ve got to pick it up,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve told him that you’ve got to pitch now. We gave you those first couple of starts to get under your belt, and now you’ve got to show us. You’ve got to pitch.”

    I totally understand what you guys are saying, but it seems to me that the manager is putting a little more worth into tonight-meaningless spring training game.

    On the 5th starter:
    “Girardi has talked about using March 25 or 26 as the target date for a decision, so the pitchers who are going to be in the bullpen can get used to having to warm up more quickly. ”

    Nope no pressure there.
    LOL

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      My point is, he’s just saying that, knowing what he says will be public. It does not necessarily reflect the actual decision process.

      • mustang

        I’m sorry with all due respect how do you know?

        Why even say anything? Girardi and The Yankees don’t owe anyone any explanations at all why even bother with the statement. Especially since it adds unnecessary pressure to Mr. Chamberlain.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          I don’t know. That’s what I’ve been saying. Others purport to know and I’m saying they don’t, either.

          Why say anything? Because reporters ask him questions. It’s not like he sought out Mark Feinsand and said, “Hey Mark! I’ve got something about the fifth starter competition that I just have to get out to the public.”

          • mustang

            Again I just don’t see the need for the statement unless there is some truth to it.
            He could have easily just said ” well let see how he does tomorrow” or something with a lot less bite.
            Girardi just doesn’t seem like the type that plays to the press.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              I think after his first year on the job that he most certainly plays to the press.

      • rbizzler

        On top of that, what is the harm in Girardi injecting a little sense of urgency into the proceedings.

        I see nothing wrong with stoking the competitive fires of the kids and seeing how they respond/perform with a little added incentive/pressure.

        • mustang

          “I see nothing wrong with stoking the competitive fires of the kids and seeing how they respond/perform with a little added incentive/pressure.”

          The guy has pitched with a lot more “added incentive/pressure” ( in MLB, Playoffs, so on)
          Unless he is stupid he should know what’s at stake.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Um… Just a minor point, but he might be stupid. He’s a baseball player, not a neurosurgeon. If the management team feels the need to monitor his emotions and create motivational situations for him it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened with an athlete and it wouldn’t be unique in any way.

            Joe’s right… He’s not saying one way or the other is definitively correct, he’s just saying that we don’t know. We don’t know what Girardi hoped to accomplish by saying what he said, perhaps he was being totally honest or perhaps he had some other motive or perhaps it’s some mix of the two and/or other factors.

            • mustang

              Ok I can live with this.

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Harmony. Sigh.

          • rbizzler

            My point was that you are parsing out Girardi’s comments and attributing significance to them when he may just be doing a bit of cheer-leading (so to speak).

            If we are to believe Girardi/Hughes/Joba that the early appearances by the two main 5th starter candidates were primarily tune-ups where they were given specific things to work on and the results would not be essential, then a natural progression would dictate that subsequent starts would be used to implement those things and show a proper progression/evolution.

            I file Girardi’s comments in the ‘nothing to see here, move along people’ category, but if you want to get all fired up about them have at it.

            • mustang

              I’m not getting “all fired up about them” I just don’t think it’s as meaningless as some of you are making them out to be.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Nice post, Joe. It’s especially important to remember this stuff today… A lot of us love Hughes, but we have to be sure not to get too crazy about a good spring training appearance by him the same way we don’t get too crazy when some lesser-talent puts up good numbers in March.

    Let the Yanks evaluate their progress and how they look on the field, forget the results (at least until the last week or so, and even then it’s still a bit dicey). There’s no daily horse-race, at the end of camp the Yanks will evaluate everything they’ve seen and what their options are (considering context – age, performance, need, innings limits, contracts, etc.). Until then… Just enjoy the exhibition games and hope everyone stays healthy.

  • Harry G

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    I was flabbergasted that everybody in the media was declaring Hughes the leader in the “race” without anyone acknowledging that he has such an advantage here, by facing Astros’ scrubs, while Joba will start against the Phillies.
    I really hope what you’re saying is true, that the Yankees aren’t basing their decison based on two or three of these starts, because it would be insane to not only decide the roles for this season – and quite possibly the careers – of two young pitchers, based on a couple of spring training starts, espectially when the level of competition they’re facing is not even remotely close.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    At the end of the day, this is a great problem to have. Most teams don’t have 3 good starters, and we have 3 guys who are legitimately capable of being the 5th starter, maybe even 4 if Gaudin’s adjustments last year really will help him long term against LHP.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      At the end of the day, this is a great problem to have. Most teams don’t have 3 good starters…

      http://newyork.mets.mlb.com

    • Bo

      Or basically 3 set up men at this point.

  • Rose

    I don’t think either Joba nor Phil should be in the bullpen and never have. But if one of them were to go to the bullpen, I’d probably throw Joba in there.

    While his innings limit may be gone and Phil’s may still stand…Joba just doesn’t seem to be improving.

    At a time where there is strong competition for a rotation spot and players usually step up give 110%, Joba’s results show the exact opposite thus far. Phil’s on the other hand show significant improvement and how can you reward bad results and zero improvement (thus far) and essentially punish good results and much better improvement? Do the Yankees think they’re the United States of America now or something? lol.

    But really, I’m not saying this is the way it should be or anything…but if spring training were to end today I would give the job to Phil and probably put Joba in AAA so he can continue to work on his mechanics, velocity, whatever else needs to be worked on.

    BUT again, spring training DOESN’T end today…so we can continue to talk about it over and over but it isn’t exactly fair until we analyze it after a full fair competitive spring training pre-season. But if things continue the way they have been, I would give it to Phil.

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      last yr was hsi first full season of starting. this is spring training. how has he been given a chance to imporve?

      should he not be given ML games to show whether he has or has not?

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Bingo.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        All kinds of this.

      • Rose

        Then what was the point of not just coming out and saying “Joba is the 5th starter regardless of what happens in Spring Training”. It would have certainly avoided most of the media nonsense regarding it…and it would make sense if what everyone is saying is true.

        Why make up stories and pretend that you have auditions going on and such when all it’s doing is stirring the pot of controversy. You know?

        I don’t understand why they wouldn’t just say it…if, in fact, it makes so much sense to have Joba as the 5th starter anyway.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Then what was the point of not just coming out and saying “Joba is the 5th starter regardless of what happens in Spring Training”. It would have certainly avoided most of the media nonsense regarding it…

          No, it wouldn’t have. The media would then have bitched and endless shitfit about how Joba’s being handed rewards that he didn’t deserve or earn through open competition and that he’s an over-entitled baby.

          If we’ve learned anything, it’s that the NYC media will find ways to spin any story or non-story into something they can bitch about.

          • Rose

            Yeah but what’s the difference between what you’re saying they’re trying to avoid…and then just doing it anyway regardless of his bad spring training outings and saying otherwise?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      … Joba just doesn’t seem to be improving.

      At a time where there is strong competition for a rotation spot and players usually step up give 110%, Joba’s results show the exact opposite thus far. Phil’s on the other hand show significant improvement and how can you reward bad results and zero improvement (thus far) and essentially punish good results and much better improvement?

      Total ST innings pitched:
      Hughes: 8.2 IP
      Joba: 3.2 IP

      Value of those combined 12.1 IP in making a decision of who should be the 2010 5th starter: zero

      Value of the combined 474.1 IP Joba and Phil have thrown in the past three big league regular seasons in making a decision of who should be the 2010 5th starter: a whole shitload

  • Josh

    Did anyone also think that George King’s article in the Post this am on the 5th starter race was exactly the same as the one he wrote yesterday just worded differently? He even had almost the same quote word for word that if Hughes/Joba both ended up in the bullpen it would be the “strongest bridge to Mo since Stanton/Mendoza”. Really I don’t know why I bother reading the local media, but it’s like a car accident – you can’t look away.

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      the fact that they want 50 cents for that tabloid dreck keeps me away

  • DB

    I think Girardi said a lot yesterday when he said Joba has to go out there and pitch today. He has been underwhelming by far. His velocity is crap, his stuff is crap, and he’d of gotten knocked around by the lineup Highes faced yesterday if he came there with the stuff he had last outing.

    The dude needs to pitch or he is going to find himself in AAA real fast. If he keeps this up over there, they’ll pull the plug on him and convert him back to a reliever….then it’s all we’ll hear on fatscesa.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Again:

      Joba’s thrown 3.2 innings this spring.

      Three-point-two. Total.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Three-point-two. Total.

        Technically it’s 3 2/3, so it’s really 3.6667.

        SSS issue now averted. He needs to get it going.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Fractions are so passe. All the cool kids use the new decimal jargon shorthand.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            All the cool kids use the new decimal jargon shorthand.

            Get off my lawn!

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Please make this comment in response to every anti-Joba comment in this thread. Just say “3.2 IP” or something like that.

      • Bo

        3.2 inn of crap.

        • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          joba’s innings::bo’s posting

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Um, I laughed when I read this… Not sure if my interpretation was what you were going for, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

  • steve s

    You can vent all you want about the media but there were some heavy quotes (which I seriously doubt were misquotes) that came from both Eiland and Girardi that pretty much gives a lot of weight to today’s performance by Joba regarding his status as being the 5th starter. Girardi’s quote: “We told him [Joba] you’ve got to pitch now. We gave you those first couple of starts to get under your belt. Now you’ve got to show us. You’ve got to pitch.” Eiland’s quote: “When you compete for the fifth starter’s spot with the Yankees it’s put up or shut up. I expect him to pitch good (today)… but its time to put it all together” The anti-media tone of Joe P’s rant and many of the comments are misguided in this instance IMO.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      The fact remains, though, even if they did give Joba the mandate “You’ve had your warmumps, now you have to start pitching well or else”, the “or else” still has to be judged against the optimal roster construction permutation decisionmaking process.

      Say Joba has three more spring outings and just pitches kinda “meh”. And Hughes is lights out. Does that mean that Hughes should win the job over Joba, because he had a better spring? No, it’s more complex than that. Joba still may deserve the spot more than Phil because of his incumbency, his good work as a big league starter the past two seasons (before he hit a wall last August, at least), the lack of innings limits, and the interruption of his development track he’d face if he goes to the 2010 bullpen.

      Winning the spring competition give Phil a leg up over Joba, but Joba already holds all the other tiebreakers in the decisionmaking process. He’s winning the competition by default; Phil winning the spring might not be enough to win him the entire job. The spring does not (or at least should not) outweigh all the other evidence, because ST samples are both small and not effectively representative of ML talent.

      • gc

        Harumph!!!

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          It’s true, I am the leading asshole in this state.

          • Tom Zig

            You are 64 runs above replacement on that aspect

            (just screwing around)

        • Jimmy

          I didn’t get a harumph from that guy over there!

      • Reggie C.

        I agree the end result should favor joba as the 5th starter , but that renders the whole Yankees-led talk of an open 5th spot completely dishonest. At worst, the decisionmakers should’ve said that the spot was Joba’s to lose.

        • mustang

          “the decisionmakers should’ve said that the spot was Joba’s to lose.”

          They would of said that.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            They would of have said that.

            • mustang

              When?
              Cashman,Eiland and Girardi all said “OPEN COMPETITION for the 5th spot”

              Stop listening to the ghost they are starting to mess with your ridiculosus upside.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                No, you said “would of”. It’s “would have”. That’s all I was saying.

                http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/couldof.html

                • mustang

                  My bag.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                  Heh.

                  No prob.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          I agree the end result should favor joba as the 5th starter, but that renders the whole Yankees-led talk of an open 5th spot completely dishonest

          I agree. I don’t think Girardi and Cashman give a single shit about lying to the NYC press corps, though. Tell ‘em whatever the hell you feel like telling them at that particular moment. Whatevs.

          • Tom Zig

            Joel Sherman: So Joe, what do you think of Joba’s performance today?

            Girardi: I like turtles

        • rbizzler

          What if they feel that they need the appearance of a competition to motivate him?

          What if they didn’t like the way he handled himself when he was in the rotation last year?

          Maybe they feel he has accountability issues?

          Maybe they felt it was disrespectful to Phil Hughes, et al that they wouldn’t be considered for the spot no matter how they performed?

          This is all pure speculation on my part, but I have no problem with the Yanks using the media to motivate people.

      • mustang

        Hold on a minute I read from many people who have A LOT more insight into the Yankees that we do that its Hughes job to lose.
        And from all accounts this is a “COMPETITION” nothing that anyone has said even remotely hints at what you’re trying to imply.
        Read your statement above on the B-Jobber you might want to apply the spirit of it to yourself.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          Hold on a minute I read from many people who have A LOT more insight into the Yankees that we do that its Hughes job to lose.

          Almost every single one of those people with more insight also have agendas that they’ve been pushing, agendas that would be discredited if Joba remains a starter going forward.

          Those people have painted themselves into a corner.

          • mustang

            “also have agendas that they’ve been pushing, ”

            Dude I could say the same thing about you in a few of your comments here. I think the Joba bullpen debate has people seeing ghost. LOL

            I don’t even want to see what will happen if Hughes wins the 5th spot and Joba goes to the pen.

            PS- I don’t care either way. The Yankees win, the Yankees win.

          • mustang

            “Those people have painted themselves into a corner.”

            And you guys haven’t?

            What then my friend will be your answer if Joba ends up in the bullpen and eventually takes over for God?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              If he ends up in the bullpen and takes over for God in 3-4 years, after he’s had sufficient attempts to try and fail to be a starting pitcher, I’ll be fine with that.

              If they prematurely abandon the project to make him a starter, I’ll be upset.

              • mustang

                How come I don’t believe its going to go down that quietly.
                LOL

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          I’m of the mindset that they only said this was a competition because they got burned in 2008 when they guaranteed spots to IPK/Phranchise. This spot should, and likely is, Joba’s to lose.

      • steve s

        Your analysis makes sense but once you go public with the kind of comments Girardi and Eiland did yesterday it becomes a different ballgame and impacts the decision making process. A bad Joba outing today is going to prime the optimal roster construction permutation decisionmaking process (or, alternatively, they will be saying that process has resulted in Joba not being the 5th starter). Also consider the crap Girardi would have to take from the media if Joba continues to pitch poorly, others pitch better, but Joba wins the 5th starting job (absent injury) rendering his public statements as not credible. Girardi is too media savvy to expose himself to that especially considering his sometimes rocky relationship with the media in 2008.

      • Bo

        Eric will have to jump off a building if they put Joba back in the pen where he belongs. Relax there bud

  • Nady Nation

    I have confidence in Cash and co., but I really hope they don’t put Joba in the bullpen to start the season off. If this happened, it would be the first time in a long time that my overall confidence in the organization would take a hit. This would basically render last year a total waste for not just Joba, but Hughes too. Hughes could’ve been the one starting and building his innings up in ’09 if they wanted him in the rotation for the long haul, while wanting Joba to relieve.

    • Bo

      has he done anything to show he deserves being rewarded?

      besides having potential and having as they say “4 pitches”??

  • Reggie C.

    I’m guessing joba will have a 50 pitch outing. I can live with a top gun reading of 92 as long as the slider is working. The man’s best pitch has to show up today. That’s what Eiland & Joe G. want to see today , imo.

  • Mark

    I find it depressing that I can’t even remember Joba’s last good start – the kid has fallen so far so fast since his gem at Fenway in 2008.

    • rbizzler

      Curious how you can ‘remember back’ to the the 2008 season, but can’t remember Joba’s string of good outings post 2009 All-Star break.

    • gc

      I also find it depressing that YOU can’t remember Joba’s last good start.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      http://www.baseball-reference......9250.shtml

      His last start of the ’09 season.

      6 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 SO

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Against a playoff team.

      • Accent Shallow

        I loved watching Lester totally suck in that game.

        Too bad he got hurt, but luckily that doesn’t seem to have affected him.

    • Nady Nation

      Pretty sure he threw 8 innings of 1 run ball at Tampa in ’09.

  • Hawkins44

    Guys – to suggest that JOBA is the fifth best starter on this team is silly. If you take his results in the last 3-4 months of last year and in spring training it confirms what we know (9.6/9 innings, 4.3BB/9….1.2 HR/9) he’s not the 5th best pitcher on this team. Based upon that assertion, the real debate is bullpen or AAA.

    I would imagine that Non- BJobbers would say AAA, right? Because of his SP value and relievers are useless and the 8th inning is a non issue..

    I think it’s hard to be comprehend that he’s a marginal starter prospect… because of his brand. Put if it looks like SH*T, Smells like Sh*t… it might be….

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      If you take his results in the last 3-4 months of last year and in spring training it confirms

      SSS.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      And what have Hughes/Aceves/Gaudin/Mitre shown as starters in that same time frame that says they are better?

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      So because he didn’t click instantly as a full time starter (by the way he was pretty much fine before hitting his previous innings high), he’s shit all of a sudden? Please. What about Hughes’ last few months as a starter? Hughes was exactly like Chamberlain when starting: inconsistent with flashes of brilliance and flashes of awfulness.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        As a 23 year old, in his first full season as a starter, in the AL East, he had an era of 3.58 thru July. Jon Lester, at a similar point in his career had an ERA north of 4.50.

        I just wish the Sox had sent him to the minors, the pen, or another team.

    • Tom Zig

      Because of his SP value and relievers are useless and the 8th inning is a non issue..

      No one has ever said that relievers are “useless” nor has any one said the 8th inning is a non-issue.

      Relievers are for the most part failed starters who have only 1 or 2 pitches. Joba has 4 pitches and has not failed as a starter. You can’t just fail someone on a small body of work.

      Oh and:

      http://twitter.com/TheYankeeU/status/10624351628

  • Tom Zig

    All I want is for people to give Joba a chance. Is that too much to ask for? So many people have given up on him already. I eagerly await the days when Joba proves them wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      So many people have given up on him already.

      (unwraps burrito, wipes down microwave)

    • Bo

      when has he not had a chance??

      his stuff isnt the same starting. its as clear as day.

      whys it so hard to admit he might be a better pitcher coming out of the pen?

      • Tom Zig

        when has he not had a chance??

        He has had only 1 full year of starting. That hardly qualifies as a chance.

        his stuff isnt the same starting. its as clear as day.

        Yeah no kidding, he isn’t going to be hitting triple digits with regularity as a starter. He can definitely be around the 91-95 MPH range, which is enough to get the job done.

        whys it so hard to admit he might be a better pitcher coming out of the pen?

        Because just about every pitcher is a “better” pitcher coming out of the pen.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          O:S

          • Tom Zig

            This is becoming like the show boiling points. Bo is intentionally setting up annoying situations and we lose if we react.

            I guess I didn’t win that $100.

            Darn.

  • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

    Good stuff, Joe. It’s pretty annoying to see the newspaper beats, cough, Feinsand, cough, place so much importance on one spring training game. If he gets bombed today, it might not mean anything.

    As Joe said, who knows how the Yankees are really going to choose the fifth starter. One thing we do know is that Girardi isn’t basing it all on the numbers.

    If Joba finishes the spring with two great starts, I’d predict his prior starts would be forgotten.

    • Bo

      you do realize these writers need something interesting to write about on a daily basis right? and in a market with 5+ beat writers they have to go above and beyond.

  • Bo

    I kind of want him to go to the pen right now just to see the heads explode of everyone here.

    That said I just dont see why they would go thru last yr just to have him back in the pen. Unless they truly believe his stuff is much better out of the pen. Which it is. And they dont think he can be a starter.

    Side not what happens to this ‘b-jobber’ thing if a reliever long term?? will you fellas take a step back and realize you might have been wrong about shouting down anyone who thought his future lied in relieving???

    • Jack

      Will you admit you were wrong when he ends up being a starter long term?

      • Tom Zig

        live via webcam

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Important point of clarification:

        The reason that the term B-Jobber was coined was not to complain about people who thought that Joba should be in the bullpen.

        B-Jobber was coined to address the failure of critical thinking that said that Joba should be in the bullpen because having a great closer is more important than having a great starter, and that Joba’s starting pitching future should be sacrificed for the immediate upgrade of his bullpen performance.

        B-Jobber’s aren’t stupid because they think Joba “profiles” as a closer; there are people who think that Joba will end up in the bullpen because they don’t think he has the pitch quality or stamina to be a successful starter. Those people aren’t B-Jobbers or idiots.

        The B-Jobbers who are idiots are the people who think that it’s pointless to even TRY AND SEE if Joba can be a solid starting pitcher, because they think that 60-70 innings of a dynamite relief pitcher is worth more than 200 average innings of a #3-#4 starter. That’s what makes them idiots, that’s what makes them B-Jobbers. They value the emotionally impressive over the rationally sound. They value the visceral narrative over the empirically proven.

        B-Jobbers aren’t people who think that Joba will ultimately fail as a starter and thus should be a reliever; B-Jobbers are people who think we shouldn’t bother trying to see if he can be a starter because they think he adds more value as a reliever.

        Let me say that again for emphasis:

        B-Jobbers aren’t people who think that Joba will ultimately fail as a starter and thus should be a reliever; B-Jobbers are people who think we shouldn’t bother trying to see if he can be a starter because they think he adds more value as a reliever.

        Which is, in a word, moronic.

  • mustang

    So is anyone going to be watching tonight’s meaningless spring training game?
    Smile on my face.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Will we watch it? Yes.

      Because we love baseball, not because we think this game is the all important game of everything that matters for the competition.

      • DB

        I for one, love the competition for the last starter spot and the 25th man. It keeps me interested all spring in anticipation for Opening Day.

      • mustang

        Oh, come on!
        I can see the smile on your face as you wrote that.
        Say it enough to yourself you might actually believe it.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

          I shit you not.

  • DB

    If Joba is meh for the next 2 outings, he isn’t going to be the 5th starter. They will send him to AAA, imho. The question is how long do they give him in AAA to get his velocity back and pitch like he has a pair.

    • DB

      …before the NYC media has a field day with getting him back to pitch the 8th

  • mryankee

    Kudos to Joe Girardi for putting a little public pressure on Chamberlain. I hope Chamberlain performs today to what we all know he can do. Honestly at 95-96 he can be an ace at 91-92 he is of little value.

    • Tom Zig

      He can be a legit #2 at 91-92, he can even be an ace if his fastball has movement and he can paint corners with it.

      Remember, velocity isn’t everything.

      • mryankee

        Look at the toppitchers in baseball as of now in no particular order. Greinke, Hernandez, Lincecum, Verlander, Lester, CC. With the exception of Lincecum the others fastballs are all in the 94-100 range. Remember Lincecum pitches in the nl west I am not sure how his stuff would play in the al. It would be adviseable if Joba wants to be an ace and that is what is expected of him to start throwing with more velocity.

        • gc

          #5 starter. Just sayin’.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size
          • DB

            I read the article and what I got out of it is that the author thought there would be more of a correlation but “velocity is about 1/4 of what you need to account for. That makes it likely to be the biggest factor, but it’s not so dominating as to exclude the other things besides throwing”

            Hardley proves your point and actually makes mryankees’ point more valid.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      Honestly at 95-96 he can be an ace at 91-92 he is of little value.

      Yeah… no.

      C > M > V

      • DB

        yeah, the problem with that is control while it’s the most important component, has the smallest margin for error.

        Joba is not a finesse pitcher. We all see what happens when he misses his spots.

  • thurdonpaul

    my guess is that unless Joba is completely horrible for the remainder of the spring he is our 5th starter. Phil will start the season at AAA to stay extended. if after 4 to 6 starts Joba isnt getting it done they switch places, providing Phil is doing what they expect of him. i also think either Mitre or Gaudin gets traded before the season starts.

  • dkidd

    despite knowing that joba makes (slightly) more sense as this year’s #5, i find myself rooting for phil because i enjoy watching him pitch more than joba

  • Captain Bawls

    4 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 1 walk….spot on, Joe

    • Captain Bawls

      If we were talking about Andy Pettitte, that is

  • king of fruitless hypotheticals

    heh.

    we should have just done this:

    5th Starter–O:S and been done with it!