Sherman: Joba not in danger of being sent to the minors

CC and the Indians team that never was
Game 99: Another rook

When the bullpen door swung open in the 8th inning last night, it wasn’t Joba Chamberlain that came in to preserve the one run lead. Rather, it was David Robertson (and later on, Boone Logan). The move was a long time coming, as Joba had allowed runs in six of his last ten appearances and at least one baserunner in 14 of his last 15 appearances. The guy is as unreliable as they come right now.

While Joba has lost exclusive rights to 8th inning work, Joel Sherman says he is in no danger of being sent to the minors to figure things out. Allow me to excerpt his explanation:

What is not possible, at least for now, is sending Chamberlain to the minors for two major reasons: 1) The Yanks feel it would be a terrible message to bust somebody from main set-up man all the way to Scranton in one move, so they will try to fix him outside the eighth inning and 2) They do not believe Chamberlain is failing because of an attitude problem. Yankee officials actually consider Chamberlain a hard worker. In other words they are not looking at this how they viewed a situation with Melky Cabrera in 2008. That season the Yanks thought Cabrera had become lazy and that was a factor in his struggles, so they did demote him in mid-August to Triple-A.

Whenever Joba starts doing his tight rope act and gives up runs (or worse, the lead), our first reaction as fans is to want him shipped to the minors. It’s our natural, knee-jerk response. We claim to see him unable to repeat his delivery, as if we’ve been trained and have sufficient experience to spot such things, and want him to go the Roy Halladay route; all the way back to A-Ball and rebuild him from the ground up. As if that’s ever worked for someone besides Halladay.

Anyway, point is that the Yankees are doing what’s best not just for the team, but what’s best for Joba. They’re trying to fix him, and will now do so in lower leverage situations. There’s unquestionably a confidence issue here, he’s human, and after getting his ass handed to him basically all season it’s only natural that Joba would start to get down on himself. Going straight to the minors would probably only exacerbate that problem. The Yanks have until August 7th to send him to the minors unconditionally, and after that Joba will have to clear waivers to be demoted. That is almost never an issue, however.

For now, the Yanks will work hard to get Joba back on track in situations less crucial to the outcome of the game, and even then he’ll be on a short leash. If that doesn’t work, then the minors are the next step. They’re just not the first step.

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CC and the Indians team that never was
Game 99: Another rook
  • Poopy Pants

    I wish they sent him to AAA in April.

  • ARX

    So we’ve gone from Joba the starter, to Joba the 8th inning guy, to Joba the sometimes 7th inning guy who will be spoonfed low leverage situations, as if this will somehow fix the problem of putting too many damn men on base? What a waste.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      next stop:

      joba the hot dog eating contestant at the annual nathan’s competition

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Joba Chestnutt

        • CNight_UP

          +68

  • Frank

    Seems like the fair and logical approach to take. We’ll just have to wait it out and see how things unfold.

  • Tom Zig

    Ok I understand it’s not the first step, but maybe I’m wrong here but I see the chances of Joba passing through waivers unclaimed at 0%.

    • radnom

      What does that have to do with anything?

      Are you implying he would have to pass through waivers in order to be sent down?

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        he would after aug 7th….

        • Pete

          that.

        • radnom

          Yeah…..but last time I checked it was still July :)

          • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

            This.

          • jsbrendog (returns)

            GET ME A CALENDAR AND A DIET COKE!

          • sangreal

            Yes but the story itself suggests he would clear waivers in August

            The Yanks have until August 7th to send him to the minors unconditionally, and after that Joba will have to clear [waivers] to be demoted. That is almost never an issue, however

            • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

              No one denied this. The thing is, it’s not August 7th. Which means the Yankees still have time to send him down.

  • Esteban

    Will this finally put to rest the ridiculous notion that Joba is not a hard worker and is fat and out of shape? I say no, no it won’t.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      nothing will convince me he isnt fat short of losing weight. because, well, you know, he is totally fat.

      but the rest of that no proof

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Meh, I doubt losing weight will help him. Bruney lost a ton of weigh and still sucked. CC Sabathia is the size of a house and still kicks ass.

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          yeah i didnt say his weight had anything to do with the other things. i wasj ust aying that this wont make me stop calling him fat and i dont call him the other things cause how the hel do i know, i dont know him personally

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Yeah, he can be a fat hard worker, which he probably is.

        • Tom Zig

          fact: You don’t make it to this level without working hard.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            And it’s not like Joba has a $100 million guaranteed contract and can now stop working hard (which I think rarely happens anyway).

      • Esteban

        Hahaha, fine just the lazy part then. Though, maybe http://www.force18.co.uk/image.....#038;page=

  • Januz

    It is not out of the realm of possibility that after the season he could get traded to a team like Kansas City. I might actually be good for him, cause he is close to home (Lincoln, NE), and in a much less intense environment than The Bronx.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      So Joba had success in NY in 2007, 2008 and 2009, but now can’t handle the intensity? I just don’t get that. He’s struggling, and as a releiver with low innings totals, his struggles are magnified in stats like ERA. He’ll be fine.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Your parentheticals always make me laugh.

      I was about to ask “How close to home is Kansas City, I need a geographical frame of reference?!?!??!”, but just like that, BAM, you told me exactly what city you meant when you said home.

  • Brad Toughy

    I agree with the Yankees plan. Would it be easy to ship him off to Scranton or elsewhere and leave him there for an extended period of time?

    Sure, but I imagine the only way for a young pitcher to learn how to consistently get major league hitters out is at the major league level.

    If he’s become an 8th inning liability, then by all means, give that job to someone else for awhile so Joba can go through his rough patch in lower leverage situations.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Sure, but I imagine the only way for a young pitcher to learn how to consistently get major league hitters out is at the major league level.

      I disagree with that.

      Joba already knows how to get major league hitters out. The way to learn how to get them out “consistently” is not necessarily at the major leagues, because the thing that’s hampering his consistency could be several factors not at all related to the caliber of opponent he’s facing.

      His inconsistency could come from poor mechanics, or poor focus, or nerves, or injury issues and compensation therein, or not being a proper fit for the role he’s in, or just insufficient practice and repetition… there’s lots of things that aren’t “how good is the opposing batter” that would create the lack of consistency.

      Most of those things can be corrected with coaching at any level, big leagues or A-ball. The advantage of the coaching not occuring at the big league level is it allows you to experimentally drill down on those things without the pressure of results.

      The idea that Player X can’t possibly benefit from the minor leagues is just wrong, IMO. Practice sessions without consequences are pretty much never a bad idea.

    • whozat

      “Sure, but I imagine the only way for a young pitcher to learn how to consistently get major league hitters out is at the major league level.”

      But regaining a feel for secondary pitches, building stamina, and developing and reinforcing strategies that will help get big leaguers out can (and should) happen in the minors.

      The question is whether Joba still needs to do a lot of that.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        The question is whether Joba still needs to do a lot of that.

        I’d say the answer is a pretty resounding “yes, he does”.

  • ConcernedFan

    i dont want to send him down because i dont think the yanks can fix him i just want him sent to AAA to be given the chance to start where he is of more value, he has shown flashes of being a number 1 number 2 starter, all he needs is the proper guidance, regain confidence and improve location

    • MirrorOnTheCeiling

      That’s my opinion as well.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    I’m glad he’s not going down. I think the only reason to send him down would be to break him down and build him back up as a starter, but I think we’re too deep into 2010 to consider that. I also think he’ll be fine and be a big part of the pen in September and October.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I’m glad he’s not going down. I think the only reason to send him down would be to break him down and build him back up as a starter…

      I disagree with that also. I, like you, still want Joba to start, but demoting him to work on mechanics/consistency in a pressure-free environment would likely help him considerably whether the goal is to have him be a big league starter OR a big league reliever.

    • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

      I wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of sending Joba down to fix him up and stretch him into a starter again, heck he could even learn a new pitch, does he have a change-up? I know he has fastball, slider, curve, but what about change? Maybe a cutter if not. Heck, even if he doesn’t learn a new pitch, he could go down, get stretched out, iron out his kinks and come back up as a starter late in the year or even next season. I’d be willing to sacrifice some time (and prospects to get another reliever) and have Joba come back up in spring training and become that dominant starter that he’s shown he can be.

  • Simon B.

    Fans have really turned on Joba. If you read some other comments and messageboards, fans are just going nuts, calling him lazy and fat and arrogant and delusional. I haven’t really seen much evidence to suggest any of those things.

    Still, I wish they would send him down — not to punish him or anything — just because he’s been lousy and he could use some work that isn’t affecting the pennant race right now, and also so they don’t waste his option(s).

    Plus, even if he was doing good right now, I just don’t have much respect for relieving. They could’ve gotten any reliever in baseball plus much more two years ago, so if that’s all the Yankees think of him now (which it seems more and more the case), then he’s a waste and the Yankees have already missed their boat. The sooner he goes back to starting, the better.

    • ConcernedFan

      i agree , he should be in AAA starting and getting back to form, Joba has enjoye success all his career until hes reached the majors so its common to see someone struggling while trying to adjust, many good starters had a rouch time adjusting were sent down and now are respectable starters like cliff lee, roy halladay, fausto and liriano

      I love joba but i rather have him in AAA developing as a starter long term

    • Evan3457

      The silliest thing you read in threads about the Yanks or Joba is that he’s an “overhyped never-was” because “all he had was a couple of good weeks in 2007″.

      As if he didn’t pitch well all of 2008 before he got hurt.

      As if he didn’t pitch OK right up to the end of July last year.

      People remember what they want to remember.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Does Sherman have sources that said Melky was lazy, or did he throw that in there thinking that?

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Well, he has sources that says he’s Dominican, so ipso facto, it’s reasonable for him to conclude that he’s lazy.

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

    If that doesn’t work, then the minors are the next step. They’re just not the first step.

    On August 7, he’ll have accrued three full years of playing time, making it much more difficult to send him down. I think the Yanks would either do it now or not at all. Whether one thinks Joba will still be on the Yanks on August 7 is a different question entirely.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      That.

      Having the option >>>>>>>>>>>>> not having the option

    • Evan3457

      Ditto on the send him to the minors, and about the Yanks might trade him.

    • whozat

      That’s why I wish they’d pulled the trigger on this earlier. Demoted him to the 7th a month ago, and then by now they’d know if they needed to kick him down to AAA.

  • MirrorOnTheCeiling

    In my opinion Joba should go down and start over as a SP. I mean even if they fix him up here if he is just going to be a reliever that means he probaly has more trade value for the Yankees then actual value on the field.

    We have talked before how non Mariano relief pitchers are generally unreliable so if the Yankees feel he will never start for them again he probaly should be sent to another team that views him as a SP and will be patient with him and let him develop.

  • Poopy Pants

    2011 Rotation:
    CC
    Lee
    AJ
    Hughes
    Joba

    Sadly for me, it probably won’t happen. Pettitte would be nice, too, but he might retire.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Maybe we’ll trade Joba for Joakim Soria… then move Soria to the back into the rotation.

      You see that? I just changed the game, that’s what I did.

      • Poopy Pants

        haha.
        Or Mo could start and CC could close.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    The more I think about this, the less I like it.

    I think giving Joba lower leverage major league innings is actually far LESS likely to solve his problems than giving Joba controlled and targeted instruction in the minor leagues somewhere.

    Just like last year, we’re picking the half-assed “everything at once” (trying to fix/develop/train Joba in a structured, regimented way while keeping him in the majors to contribute to the big club immediately and thus eliminating the potential for the structure and regimen). Sometimes you need to bite the bullet and admit that certain types of development can only effectively happen in the minors. I don’t know why we’re so averse to that option with Joba.

    • Jose the Satirist

      Joba will now be effective for the rest of the year. Pitch to the tune of let’s say a 3.35 ERA for the rest of the year. I really can see it happening.

      • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

        This is isn’t a fact. It would be nice, but being optimistic or pessimistic doesn’t change anything right now.

    • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

      To be fair, there is still a chance Joba gets sent down sometime before August 7th, if he continues to struggle in low leverage situations until that date arrives.

      Although I do think it’s a bit late to be doing this. The Yankees should have done a while ago, instead of just handing him the 8th inning role this year (even though Girardi said he wouldn’t be handed the role at the beginning of the year.)

  • Poopy Pants

    Because of innings amounts, is it pretty much impossible that Joba starts next year? Has that ship sailed forever?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      You’re putting the cart before the horse, but yeah.

      Before we worry about how many innings Joba could throw, we need to get him to a.) pitch well and b.) actually get a real shot from the organization to be a starter again.

      • Poopy Pants

        I keep reading (RAB) that Joba is actually pitching well and it’s just bad luck, according to advanced stats. Not trying to be sarcastic, but you know…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Not exactly. You keep reading that Joba’s peripherals indicate that he should be much more successful than he’s been. That’s not the same as people saying he’s “pitching well”.

          • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

            This.

            He shouldn’t be pitching to a 1.85 ERA with tons of Ks and few BBs, but he should be pitching with better stats than he is right now, but not by that much.

            As for whether or not he will be able to start next year could very well depend on if he goes down to AAA to stretch out and get fixed. If he gets close to the same innings he got last year he could start next year.

  • ZZ

    I understand some people’s concerns that the Yankees may not have handled Joba’s development properly, but I really can’t grasp the narrative still being put out there that the Yankees ruined Joba by yanking him around.

    He has known his role since that last couple weeks of ST. It was specifically stated he would remain in the BP the entire season and not be considered for spot starting.

    There has been no yanking around or uncertainty this year at all.

    How do you blame his terrible pitching this year on the Yankees now?

    • rbizzler

      I agree. At some point the onus is off of the organization and on the player to perform. While many of us agree that Joba’s development has not been handled well, he still needs to pitch better.

      I have no problem with the Yankees taking a few days to tinker with his mechanics and letting him ease back into a prominent late inning role by using low leverage situations as confidence builders.

      • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

        I can agree with this, but I don’t think that’s what ZZ was saying.

    • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

      Nobody said the Yankees had been yanking him around THIS year. It has more to do with the different steps in his developement, that have people saying “the Yankees have been yanking him around.”

      Is he a reliever or a starter? That question still seems unclear, although I don’t think he will start for the Yankees unless he drastically improves.

      Cashman stated that the Yankees still view Joba as a starter at the beginning of the year, when Hughes won the 5th starter role.

      The Yankees have certainly messed with his developement a lot over the past few years.

      • ZZ

        Ok they may have messed with his development, but what does that really mean?

        Fans seem think that there are set ways to develop a pitcher and if you do it the right way they come out of this process ready and able to go.

        If you deviate from this “plan” then it is the organization’s fault for ruining the pitcher.

        Every player develops at a different pace and in different ways.

        If there was a “right” way to develop a pitcher there would a A LOT more great major league starting pitchers.

        At the end of the day, it is up to the player to perform if the talent is there to do so.

        The Yankees have done nothing abnormal with him this year and he has pitched terribly.

        Are people saying that bouncing him around in lets say 2008 has affected his ability to pitch as a reliever in 2010?

        Does not seem like a very strong theory to me.

        • Jose the Satirist

          I blame his development on a low pitching IQ.

        • Mike HC

          He pitched about 88 minor league innings, for one year in 2007, before the Yanks brought him up as a reliever in that very same year. In 2008, they started him for 12 games, and he appeared in 30 as a reliever. In 2009, he had an up and down first year as a starter in the toughest division in baseball. Then they turned him into a reliever for this season.

          At what point in this process did the Yanks “develop” Joba Chamberlain at all. It seems like they saw his immense talent rip through the minors, scrapped their initial plan hoping he was a once in a generation, “that good” talent, who didn’t need much development. The Yanks were wrong.

          And what you are left with, is a ridiculously talented pitcher who was never properly developed and taught how to pitch not only in the Majors, but in the toughest division in baseball. It think he is so good that he should be able to figure out without the help of the Yanks, which is basically what he has had to do anyway.

          • Mike HC

            In English, the last sentence should read, “I think he is so good that he will eventually figure it even without the help of the Yanks, which is basically what he has done so far in his career.

            • Mike HC

              figure it “out”

              I’m just going to stop now. See ya in the game thread.

        • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

          So you’re saying there is no possible way that the steps the Yankees have taken with developing Joba as a pitcher, have no way harmed his developement?

          I’m not saying that Joba shouldn’t get any blame, but it’s completely possible that the Yankees have harmed his developement by moving him back and forth from the starter’s role to the bullpen. Is it guaranteed that Joba would be a good/great starter right now if the Yankees stuck with him as a reliever or starter? No, not at all. He could still be terrible, but because of the unorthodox handling of Joba, people have reason to believe that the Yankees have screwed with Joba too much that it’s affected his overall developement as a pitcher.

          We aren’t just talking about just 2008. It’s 2008, 2009, and 2010.

          Once again I’m not saying I think he would be a great pitcher right now, but you can’t blame people for thinking that the Yankees have messed with Joba’s developement to the point where it’s stunted his developement.

        • TheLastClown

          Here’s what I’m saying.

          Joba was lights-out, decimating the minors in his first professional season in ’07. He was being developed as a starter, and he knew it. He had a ton of confidence from his meteoric rise through the system.

          All of his mechanics & mentality were geared around this, and *I assume* he used the exact same pitching ‘formula’ to put up those stellar numbers out of the pen. How much of this was natural, and how much was a regimented routine of development bequeathed from the Yankees is very unclear.

          *Aside…he also developed in college, whereas someone like Hughes went from raw HS through the player development ringer, for an appropriate period of years*

          Now the plan for him to be a starter was called into question, and he began ’08 in the pen. He performed quite well in both roles in ’08, and then got injured.

          We know that players have a certain amount of difficulty coming back from injury. That is, the natural ‘stuff’ that they’d relied on up to that point can no longer be counted on to deliver the results to which said pitcher has grown accustomed.

          It makes sense to infer, at this point, that as a pitcher makes his way back from injury, he has more to think about. As he cannot just throw the way he used to, because he’s at risk of re-injuring himself, he must now rely on his coaches to guide him through the process. He has to learn his mechanics, if not totally anew, then at least from a different perspective. He needs to have the foundation that can only come from proper development in a metered regimen, one that is not built on haste.

          Joba did not get this. Period. Therefore, the acumen for overcoming adversity is just not there. It is unfair, both to Joba and the team as a whole, to build this at the major league level, where player performance is tied to meaningful team performance.

          Honestly, I feel like they came close last year. They gave him a full year of starts, where he performed well up until he was in uncharted innings territory. I *& many of you* expected him to struggle, and I expected the team to guide him through it, teaching him some of the things he should have already learned in the minors.

          Instead, they shipped him back into a role in which he excelled before he went through all this adversity. They expected him to make like the previous years had never happened, and just rediscover his bullpen excellence without rediscovering his mechanical soundness & confidence.

          To think that was possible…does not sound like a very strong theory to me.

          • TheLastClown

            /Joba rant #62,626,262’d

  • Pete

    Here’s the thing that I don’t get – what does sending him to the minors have to do with him being lazy? I get why idiot fans might think that that’s what it’s all about, but if you ask me, the minors are there for one thing: development.

    If we agree upon this reasoning, then two simplistic arguments could reasonably follow: either Joba isn’t done developing and needs to go to the minors to continue developing, or Joba can only continue his development from here on out at the major league level because the competition in the minors is not good enough (presumably) for him, and he’d plow through it (hopefully).

    As is so often true with simplistic arguments, however, both sides are incorrect. Joba is at a point where he can develop at the major league level. He is not in way over his head, he can get major league hitters out to some degree. If he continues to pitch, he will continue to develop.

    On the other hand, I don’t believe that the lower level of competition in the minor leagues would prevent him from developing there either. While he’d undoubtedly see better results, he’d be able to pitch (presumably) as a starter, throw all his pitches, gain stamina and arm strength, and throw more pitches (i.e. more reps) per outing. Once again, if he continues to pitch, he will continue to develop.

    This brings us to a two-fold question: a) which would be the more efficient path for Joba, and b) which would be the more efficient path for the Yankees?

    So again we’d need to return to the two present options. Firstly, pitching at the MLB level out of the bullpen. Going into the season, and still now (albeit much less so) considering his peripherals, it’s easy to see where the MLB club could benefit from Joba being in the pen. A quality reliever holds value to a club, a starter in Scranton only holds value if somebody gets injured (ahem). There are also, though, benefits for Joba.

    I probably sound like a broken record, having commented about this here about a million times and once in a very long argument on M&A, but pitching out of the bullpen can, in my opinion, speed up part of a pitcher’s development process greatly. Throwing out of the bullpen releases a pitcher from the constraints of pitch counts and forces him to execute every single pitch to its maximum effectiveness. While the pitcher likely won’t always succeed in this (as Joba hasn’t this year), it stands to reason that trying to throw 12=15 fastballs to the same two or three spots every other night would improve one’s ability to throw fastballs to those spots (and the same logic would apply to his slider, perhaps even more so; in the pen he can throw every slider to the same exact spot and be successful because it is offset by a quality FB, and doing this would make him much better at throwing it to that spot (presumably its optimal location) and getting the right break on it). In other words, throwing out of the bullpen could theoretically lead to improved command on a pitcher’s primary pitches, which is extremely important for a pitcher, for obvious reasons.

    While I don’t have any empirical evidence to support this theory, I do have two examples of anecdotal evidence. The first is Joba himself, back in ’08. After rising through the first two levels of the minors and basically jumping straight into the ML bullpen in ’07, Joba started the ’08 season as the setup man. When his time came as a starter, he pitched to the tune of a sparkly 2.65 ERA despite an impressive but unspectacular WHIP. The difference was that Joba was escaping jams like a maniac in 2008, with a 79% strand rate. It seemed like every start he’d be in at least one bases loaded no outs or one out jam and get out of it with no damage done (other than to his pitch count).

    The reason? Strikeouts. He’d typically start innings by throwing a whole bunch of fastball strikes (or, somewhat ironically, walking guys) without particularly good location, and then when he found himself in a jam he’d “buckle down” and strike out two, sometimes three guys in a row, spotting fastballs on the black and throwing sliders in the dirt that hitters knew were coming and still swung at.

    I remember being surprised by this at the time. He was not known really as a control guy in the minors, yet seemed to have impeccable command when he needed it most. Thus, my hypothesis – that reps in the bullpen lead to better execution of key pitches – was born.

    It continued (my other anecdotal example, this time much shorter) to grow last year, as we saw Hughes gain command and (apparently) confidence with his fastball out of the bullpen.

    That being said, however, there are other aspects of pitcher development unaddressed by bullpen stints, which can be addressed by starting in Scranton. The two most obvious are stamina and repertoire. As a starter in the minors, Joba could pitch up to his innings limits and then be shut down, which, I think most would agree, is the most effective employment of innings limits where their purpose is concerned.

    He could also focus on specific pitches during starts without consequence. If he were to get lit up because he was throwing half changeups and half fastballs, there wouldn’t be mass hysteria about it. And while his out-pitch development would be less rapid than out of the bullpen, his command on pitches to contact – also an important skill for starters – would be much better developed.

    This is why I think he should go to the minors; he lacks command of any of his pitches within the zone, his curveball is, when thrown, all over the place, and I can’t remember him throwing a changeup this year. Going back to the minors would enable him to work on each of those pitches, which would be good because each one needs work. People don’t seem to realize this. Not one of his pitches is where it was before the injury. I get that throwing out of the pen could improve his development of two of those pitches (and only to certain parts of the zone), but ALL of them need a lot of work, so ALL of them should get a lot of work.

    At some point all pitchers must start pitching at the big league level if they possess the ability to get big league hitters out. While it cannot be facilitated as easily nor as efficiently as it can at the minor league level (in my opinion), development does still occur in the bigs. But do we (or, rather, the Yankees) really believe Joba is at that point? If you ask me, there’s simply too much more for him to gain from the minors to allow him to continue in the majors. I realize that people always say that he has nothing more to gain from facing minor league hitters, but hitters aren’t the only factor to consider. Obviously there’d be little to glean from his stats at the minor league level, but as a pitcher, there’s quite a bit more for him to gain, if you ask me.

    All of this being said, however, I fully understand the Yankees’ decision to put him in the bullpen and keep him there. They believed (and were probably right to believe) that Joba could contribute a fair amount of value to the big league club pitching out of the bullpen, and they probably believed that it would help him retrieve his old strikeout weapons. But my problem with this is the fact that Joba can’t be demoted after August 7th. And while he wouldn’t regain that strikeout stuff as quickly pitching in the minors, he basically can’t regain his curve or changeup at all while pitching out of the bullpen, unless it is in something of a mopup role. What’s more, it’s a wasted year in terms of stretching his innings limit. If Joba starts in 2011, he’ll probably have to stop some time around September.

    I still consider Joba Chamberlain to be a starter. But now, if the Yankees are to pursue that option, they’ll have to do it at the major league level. And because of the way they have (in my opinion) mishandled his development, he will likely suck for a while, which will probably cause uproar in the media and probably in parts of the front office, which could, in turn, cause further developmental damage.

    Oh, 2007 bullpen ineptitude. How royally you’ve fucked us.

    • TheLastClown

      And I thought I spelled out a diatribe.

      You’re a good egg, Pete m’boy.

  • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

    “As if that’s ever worked for someone besides Halladay.”

    Didn’t Cliff Lee have a very similar story?

    As for Joba, I don’t think he should go all the way down to A ball, but I do think he could really benefit from going down to AAA for a short while. He could get ironed out/worked on without interfering with the big league club, and also rebuild some of his confidence in getting hitters out, which to me seems to be the problem, he always wants to nibble the corners instead of trusting his catcher and his stuff.

    /$0.02

  • Jerome S

    I don’t think that Joba needs the trip to AAA. It sounds old, but he obviously has Major league stuff RIGHT NOW, considering his lights out performance in ’07 followed by an OK ’08. But he’s obviously lost something (in my opinion it’s the movement on his fastball; but what do I know). If he got sent to AAA he would probably have an 0.75 ERA and an 0.67 WHIP, which is why there is no use in sending him down because he wouldn’t develop any more. Which leads me to surmise this: What if ’07 and ’08 were a fluke? What if Joba is eternally doomed to the limbo that faces so many other players who dominate AAA but struggle in the big leagues? The other option to me is this: Perhaps the changing of roles, among other factors, has led to just two bad years? Even the greatest have had abnormally bad seasons (albeit, not quite this bad). My point is, and I’m being optimistic, that maybe Joba will go into spring training next year, get lots of time with Dave Eiland, and come out in April and go on to become the greatest [insert pitching role here] of all time.

    Or maybe not.