Guest Post: The Lottery Ticket

Yankees sign Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal
Of all the bad contracts…

The following is a guest post from Tyler Wilkinson, the madman behind all but one of the graphics available at The RAB Shop. He wrote about everyone’s favorite topic, Joba the Starter. If you’re uninterested in living through that discussion again, then just skip right over this post.

(AP Photo, Tony Gutierrez)

Joba Chamberlain’s ascent and decline have been well documented. He was a fire-balling 21-year-old bubble wrapped to protect him from his manager. A reliever. A starter. A reliever again. Hurt. Fat. Hurt again. And now, four and a half years after being fit for pinstripes, nearly forgotten.

We have seen the mountain top. We know what waits there. We know that in 2008, a 22-year-old Joba with all the pressures of New York on his back threw 65 innings over 12 starts for the Yankees, striking out 10 and walking 3 per game. We know that in 2009, his 31 starts didn’t go as well, with the strikeouts dropping to 7.4 and walks climbing to 4.4. He also hit 12 batters, presumably all of them Youkilis.

A pitcher who at age 23 had started 43 games with varying levels of success, striking out 9.6 batters per 9 innings. That’s more than Clemens at his age. More than Nolan Ryan, Koufax, Maddux and other arbitrary Hall of Famers that were all given more of a chance than Joba. Would Chamberlain have reached their level? Almost certainly not. Should 221.2 innings as a starting pitcher determine an inability to succeed? Almost certainly not.

As Chamberlain recovers from the Tommy John Surgery that cut his 2011 campaign short, it is easy to look back on the potential he exuded and wonder where it all went wrong. It is also easy to write his Yankees obituary. But as we embark on a 2012 season with a Yankees rotation infested by doubt and A.J. Burnett’s ghost, now is the time to exhume the corpse of Joba and give it one more try.

There’s no excuse not to. For one, Joba’s mere presence is a luxury. Relegated to the sixth inning behind David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera, Joba’s anticipated contribution to the 2012 squad is negligible. As witnessed when Joba went down last season, Joe Girardi is more than capable of filling innings with spare part relievers. Losing him to the starting rotation would have virtually no affect on the bullpen and if it becomes evident that the experiment is failing, Joba can go right back to the pen with no harm done.

The main reasons to try it are the current state of the rotation and the now omnipresent budget. Joba Chamberlain at his peak is the number 2 starter the Yankees are searching for. In an offseason where the Yankees have chosen not to throw money at big money targets like C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, or even one year deals for the likes of Hiroki Kuroda or Roy Oswalt, Chamberlain lays in the weeds as a cost-controlled option already on the books. A lottery ticket sitting in the Yankees’ wallet that doesn’t even require a trip to the store. If the 2008 version of Joba the Starter turns up, he’s an improvement over every non-Sabathia member of the current rotation. If 2009 Joba turns up, he still may be an improvement over back-end question marks like Phil Hughes, Burnett and an even older Freddy Garcia.

There is no downside. Joba will not be ready for Opening Day, so start him in AAA. He has minor league options left. Let him prepare as a starter, get reacclimated to the schedule, the pitch counts, the feeling of losing a game in which you pitched well enough to win. If he gets hurt, the Yankees are where they were in 2011; a playoff team with a shutdown bullpen and question marks in the rotation. If he pitches terrible, same deal. But, on the microscopic chance he succeeds, the Yankees have their coveted pitcher. Cheap. For the 2013 season as well, before he becomes a free agent. An answer to an offseason of questions. A cost-effective solution for the suddenly thrifty Steinbrenner boys. Joba is a lottery ticket worth scratching, now more than ever. Here’s hoping for the jackpot.

Yankees sign Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal
Of all the bad contracts…
  • Matt Imbrogno

    Preach, brother; preach.

    • CJ

      Joba is finished. Any contribution from him at this point will be a bonus. Waiting and hoping for a major contribution from joba as a starter or reliever will only lead to disappointment. This is a feeling based opinion, I’m aware there are no facts to back this up.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I think you’re missing some of the point here. I think the point is that nobody’s expecting anything anymore, so why not see if you might be holding a winning lottery ticket (it’s the title of the post) and get some value out of the kid?

        Nobody’s waiting with bated breath for some major contribution, Tyler’s just saying, what’s the downside to seeing if he might be a successful starter again?

        • T-Dubs

          Totally. There’s a 98% chance it doesn’t work out. Hell, maybe more. But it’s worth a try. Frankly, it was worth it in 2010 & 2011 as well.

        • Bruce Bruce

          what’s the downside to seeing if he might be a successful starter again?


          No one to pitch the 5th inning. Francesa needs his Joba in the pen.

  • Vinny Scafuto

    Nicely written!

  • Kyle

    Fucking Amen. Forward this to the FO now.

    • JU

      I actually have Cashman, Eppler, and Girardi’s emails (I won’t disclose how, to protect the source), but if you’re serious about it, let me know…

      • Dan

        there is no way that they haven’t already thought of this. I agree with everything that was written, but if we are arrogant enough to believe we are smarter than people like Cashman and other FO types, then we have really shorted them in the brains department. No need to email it, even if it is 100% correct and sound logic.

        • Rainbow Connection

          They signed Soriano.

  • mr.jigginz

    Well done Tyler,and I totally agree with you.

  • Chelo

    I still remenber watching him pitch in 07, Against the Angels, when he came out the Bullpen, and was facing #Vlad, Everyone in my dooroom was pumped up for this, If vlad caught up with any of #Jobas fastball it would of went a mile. Joba came out and threw the first pitch at 100mph, vlad swung right by him, next pitch 101mph, vlad fouled it back, third pitch 90mph slider in the dirt, vlad swung and missed, no shot. Everyone was pumped up, and thats the #Joba we would all like back, but It doesnt look good.

    • whozat

      …no, I don’t think that’s what’s being said here at all. We’re saying we’d like to see him get another shot at starting, which he didn’t do at all in 2007.

    • Esteban

      #unnecessary #hashtags

    • jsbrendog

      maybe you should sit the next couple plays out

  • J_Yankees

    Preaching to the choir.

  • John Cerra

    The news on Joba is that he is ahead of schedule. That seems a bit unlikely, TJ recovery times are very well documented by doctor. He should not be on any calendar that has him starting in April, May or June.

    That said, I would agree with you. In fact, I would argue that the post TJ Joba is in a better position to finish off the the job of learning how to be a starter vs the most elite hitters. If he started in AAA for July or August, you could easily bring him up for the end of the year run as a reliever. Or, even a starter if we are lucky.

    I think that Joba missed the final part in his education of being a starter. Given that, I think he may surprise a lot of people.

  • Ross in Jersey


    • Dirty Pena

      I see so has the Boo Hoo this is an intriguing idea but I’m stubborn as shit crew.

    • Jim Is Bored


      Keep typing in all caps, I bet you’ll convince everyone you’re witty.

  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    “… Joba’s mere presence is a luxury. Relegated to the sixth inning behind David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera, Joba’s anticipated contribution to the 2012 squad is negligible. As witnessed when Joba went down last season, Joe Girardi is more than capable of filling innings with spare part relievers. Losing him to the starting rotation would have virtually no affect on the bullpen and if it becomes evident that the experiment is failing, Joba can go right back to the pen with no harm done”

    I’ve always been behind giving Joba more chances to become a starter, but this one passage is really the thing that bothers me at this point. I’d also think this is the one thing that could possibly change the minds of some of the more staunch ‘Joba is a reliever’ believers (Mr. mustang, paging Mr. mustang). We don’t have to speculate on the Yankees’ ability to replace Joba’s contributions in the ‘pen, we just saw it last season. The Yankees (and Girardi gets some credit for this, I think) have been pretty successful at building bullpens the last few years, and Joba’s presence in the ‘pen really doesn’t do much to make or break that success. Sure, a lights-out Joba out of the ‘pen is a weapon and a plus, but on the other hand, it’s not such a huge loss when he’s not in the ‘pen.

    So what are you losing by seeing if you can stretch him out in the minors and give him a shot to be a valuable piece of a starting rotation sometime down the line? I just don’t see the downside anymore. I used to get that people thought he was the vaunted 8th inning guy, or the heir apparent to Mo, but I can’t see how that’s true anymore. The guy’s just one of many relievers in the ‘pen, it’s not like he’s close to irreplaceable.

    And, as Tyler noted, if it doesn’t work out, send him right back out to the ‘pen.

    • jsbrendog

      wasn’t there this guy, reliever, became a starter…everyone wanted the yankees to sign him?

      cj something…

  • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost

    I will say that I’ve been on the fence/indifferent to the Joba Chronicles here and whether or not he should start, but this article placed me firmly in the ‘get that guy on the mound in the first inning’ camp (as a starter, obviously).

    Well written.

    • Bruce Bruce

      Converting more and more by the day.

      • John Ya Ya

        Samson fan?

  • oscar

    agreed, well said

  • Ross in Jersey

    I mean I hate to pull the appeal to authority card, but with the Yankees’ starter situation, with every reason to start Joba if he’s able, isn’t it possible that they’ve evaluated him and – perhaps rightfully – don’t think his arm can handle the starter workload?

    • Plank

      If that were the reason, it’s clear at this point making him a reliever to save his arm didn’t work.

      • Ross in Jersey

        You can’t know that. Perhaps the stint as a starter started him down the path towards needing TJS. I don’t know enough about it be sure either way.

        • Plank

          It’s possible. Do you think that’s what happened?

        • Bruce Bruce

          You can’t know that. Perhaps the stint as a starter started him down the path towards needing TJS.


          Maybe or maybe it was the constant switching back and forth for the first few yrs of his career.

      • Mike Axisa

        It might have given him an extra year, no?

        • Plank

          That’s possible.

          Going down this hypothetical road further, if the Yankees thought he was that close to TJS, why wouldn’t they try to trade him when his value was high instead of wait for the inevitable while he was in pinstripes?

        • Plank

          I’m looking for a list of all pitchers who had TJS. Do starters get the surgery more often than relievers?

          • MannyGeee

            As rep Wikipedia:

            List of notable baseball players who underwent the surgeryBrett Anderson (pitcher)
            Rick Ankiel (pitcher converted to outfielder)
            John Axford (relief pitcher)
            Bong Jung-Keun (pitcher)
            Bill Bray (pitcher)
            Clint Brown (pitcher)
            A. J. Burnett (pitcher)
            José Canseco (outfielder; injured while pitching)
            Chris Capuano (pitcher, twice)
            Chris Carpenter (pitcher)
            Joba Chamberlain (pitcher)
            Shin-Soo Choo (outfielder)
            Manny Corpas (pitcher)
            Jorge De La Rosa (pitcher)
            John Dopson (pitcher)
            Scott Feldman (pitcher)
            John Franco (relief pitcher, holder of NL record for games pitched)
            Éric Gagné (relief pitcher)
            Jaime Garcia (pitcher)
            Matt Holliday (outfielder)
            Tim Hudson (pitcher)
            Todd Hundley (catcher)
            Tommy John (pitcher)
            Josh Johnson (pitcher)
            Hong-Chih Kuo (relief pitcher; four)
            Francisco Liriano (pitcher)
            Shaun Marcum (pitcher)
            Daisuke Matsuzaka (pitcher)
            Kris Medlen (pitcher)
            Sergio Mitre (pitcher)
            Paul Molitor (infielder)
            Jamie Moyer (pitcher)
            Xavier Nady (outfielder; twice)
            Joe Nathan (relief pitcher)
            Pat Neshek (relief pitcher)
            Scott Proctor (relief pitcher)
            Jo-Jo Reyes (pitcher)
            José Rijo (pitcher)
            Kenny Rogers (pitcher)
            Deion Sanders (outfielder)
            Scott Schoeneweis (pitcher)
            John Smoltz (pitcher)
            Stephen Strasburg (pitcher)
            Dallas Trahern (pitcher)
            Edinson Volquez (pitcher)
            Billy Wagner (relief pitcher)
            Adam Wainwright (pitcher)
            Brian Wilson (relief pitcher)
            C.J. Wilson (pitcher)
            Kerry Wood (pitcher)
            Jordan Zimmermann (pitcher)
            Ryan Vogelsong (pitcher)

            • Plank

              Thanks. I saw that too, but I was looking for an exhaustive list, also that list has a lot of relievers listed as starters.

              Maybe starters do get TJS more often, I would guess without the data that the ratio is pretty even when balanced out for IP between starters and relievers.

        • Ted Nelson

          Might be saving his shoulder… not his elbow. I have no medical expertise, but this sounds about equivalent to saying that a guy’s knee brace didn’t work because he rolled his ankle.

          • Gonzo

            I couldn’t find a study to say one role vs. another will definitively save a pitcher’s shoulder.

            Do you know of one?

            • Plank

              Let the name calling commence.

              • Gonzo

                Ahh man, c’mon. I was being serious. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk.

                • Plank

                  I was talking about the other guy lashing out because his jumps in logic are being questioned.

                  • Gonzo

                    Oh, I don’t know how I missed that. I forgot about you two.

            • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

              “98 MPH Throwing Pitches Versus Field-Goal Kickers: A Longitudinal Study on that Pesky Shoulder” – My dissertation topic.

              • Gonzo

                Bingo bango!

            • Ted Nelson

              I am not saying that they are saving his shoulder or even that they think they’re saving his shoulder. Just suggesting that it’s a possibility. They may or may not have a formal study. And if they don’t they may have a working theory formed on opinions of medical and pitching experts.

              • Gonzo

                That’s fine and all, but assuming they do is kind of pointless. Don’t you think?

                Shouldn’t we deal in facts at some point?

                • Ted Nelson

                  We don’t know the facts.

                  If they have a legit reason, what’s the point in assuming they don’t just because of our own ignorance?

                  I absolutely think that people can express their opinions. I don’t like when people assume they know everything in a case where there are clearly facts and analysis they are not privy to.

                  • Gonzo

                    I guess we differ there. I remember you railing on Kevin Towers because he didn’t know to look at Trevor Cahill’s home/road splits. You never mentioned that KT might know something you don’t.

                    Assuming any FO knows something you don’t could make you make any point useless. That doesn’t mean articles like this shouldn’t be written or that people can’t dicuss their merit.

                    I also understand your role in the discussion too. However, we can’t always assume that the FO is always in the right either.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I don’t think I ever railed on Kevin Towers once. I said that I don’t think Cahill is good, to the point that I would rather have Parker because Cahill gets expensive quickly. Towers obviously disagrees to an some extent because he traded Parker for Cahill. He gave the old “our window is now” rationale… which didn’t make me believe in the value of the trade any

                      I am not assuming that the FO is in the right. I am assuming that they have reasons that they believe Joba is more valuable as a reliever than starter. I did not say that they are right. I specifically said I disagree and based on what I know would start him.

                      What I have said is that they have a reason to believe Joba is more valuable as a reliever than a starter, or he’d be starting. I do not buy the simplistic “stuff plays up” line. Perhaps that summarizes their position, but there’s a lot of analysis behind that.

                    • Gonzo

                      Ok, let’s chalk the “railed” issue up to miscommunication/semantics, but you did say this in reference to KT.

                      What MLB GM doesn’t know enough to look at home/road splits for a guy pitching in a pitchers haven?

                      That’s a little harsher than what you just said about wanting Parker over Cahill. You can check for context if you want.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Exactly. Pretty much worse case scenario happened. To me, that lends credence to just going for broke with the starter plan, but what do I know.

        • Ted Nelson

          TJS is not at all the worst case, though. The recovery rates are extremely high. It’s commonplace these days. Tearing apart his shoulder to the point where he can’t pitch anymore or needs several years to fully recover would be a worse case than missing one season with TJS and hopefully coming back ~12 months later.

          • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

            Yes, but still high up on the list of what the franchise did not want to see.

    • whozat

      I understand what you’re saying, but he _did_ just have one of his ligaments replaced and is going through a structured conditioning program to recover from the surgery. These are nontrivial differences from Joba of 2007-2011.

      • Dirty Pena

        Not to mention the rotation was in (seemingly) much better shape when they last switched him.

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t think that’s an appeal to authority at all. You’re not saying that they are right… you’re saying that there’s a chance they are right. There definitely is a chance.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    making him a starter again would likely be the smartest thing but imo the Yankees know something about Joba we don’t know.

    • noseeum

      I agree with Bavarian Yankee, and I agree with everything in this post.

      Combined, my conclusion is if they don’t give him a chance to start this year, than they have concerns about his shoulder or something different.

      Cashman knows just as well as us that he doesn’t need Joba in the bullpen and that he needs starters. But the goal is always to maximize a player’s contribution. One way to do that is to make sure he can play, so injury concern is the only reason I can see that the Yankees would not give Joba another shot to start.

      • Bruce Bruce

        You might be right but if that’s the case why didn’t they trade him when they had the chance. I know ppl will say what happens if it popped up during his physical. It might have but still why keep him.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      He’s recovering from surgery now. I don’t think there’s anyone who knows more than anyone at this point.

      • Ted Nelson

        The surgery was on his elbow… not shoulder.

        And if you haven’t seen him throw a pitch during his recovery, looked at his medicals with a specialist, or had a conversation about pitching with the dude… I don’t see how you can pretend to know as much as people who have.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Yes, you’re 100% right. I was more referring to the unknown related to what recovery will look like and what he will look like once he takes a mound.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    If Sandy Koufax had started with the Yankees he may not have made it to the big leagues as us the fans and the FO would have jettisoned him into oblivion. That said, Joba deserves another chance to be a starter. It may not be possible in 2012 as he will be recuperating from his surgery, but in 2013. I for one would like to see that done. What kind of shoulder injury could he have suffered that he could not have recuperated from? At least that is the reason Cashman has been giving for Joba not being a starter.

    • Jose M. Vazquez..

      Meant to say Koufax may not have made it in the big leagues.

      • nsalem

        Jose meant to get back to you on Koufax comments this morning. Koufax being a bonus baby in 1955 meant that he had to be in the big leagues and he could not be sent to the minors. This and the fact that his manager had no faith in him and used his him in an incredibly sporadic fashion may have been the key element in his slow growth. Check out his game log from his first few years and you will see what I mean

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      If Ron Guidry, Andy Pettitte, and Whitey Ford were to have started with the Yankees…..oh, wait….

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        Koufax took almost six years before he could throw constant strikes. Guidry,Pettitte and Whitey did not take too long to throw strikes.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Now I get what you were trying to say.

        • Kosmo

          it took Guidry to the age of 26 to learn how to throw a slider otherwise he would have been sent packing.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    The other aspect to this is that Joba is starting to get not-so-cheap. As a sixth inning guy, his impact is not only minimal, he is likely overpaid for it, or at least not better than fairly paid. As even a league average starter however, his price becomes not only very reasonable but in fact a total bargain. He doesn’t have to be a #2 to cash this lottery ticket in in a good way, you know?

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      And btw I know we have a penchant for overpaying for bullpen arms (the list is vomitously long) but that doesn’t invalidate my cost argument.

      • Ted Nelson

        If he’s not a “6th inning guy,” though, he might be a bargain in the pen. If the Yankees feel he is a top reliever or a back-end starter… he might be more valuable as a reliever.

        • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

          Thing is, they already have DRob and Soriano in the 7th and 8th. It’s tough to see him being better than DRob and they won’t demote their $36M reliever lower than the 7th inning. He will be a 6th inning guy because he isn’t any better than DRob and Soriano isn’t going anywhere.

          • Ted Nelson

            That’s your analysis. You’re welcome to believe it, but that doesn’t make it fact.

            Soriano AND Mo might be gone after 2012. So beyond arguing about whether Joba can surpass Soriano and DRob, it’s not a one year analysis but a two year plus possibly re-signing him for the long-term.

            As far as inning… I have little use for inning labels. If you come in the 6th inning two men on no outs and get out of the jam… that can be a lot more valuable than coming into a clean 8th or 9th and getting through it. Leverage. Are there enough high leverage innings to need 4 top relievers? I don’t know. Maybe, though. Especially once you get to the playoffs. If you use assigned innings (as Girardi basically does) can a 6th inning guy coming in mid-inning when the starter is tired be as valuable as a late inning guy? I don’t know.

            Do I think he can surpass DRob and Soriano? Absolutely. DRob had one great season. That’s the first time he surpassed 1 fWAR. I hope he remains a dominant reliever for a decade… but there’s also a chance that’s as good as it gets and he regresses to a normal HR and BABIP rate. If Soriano is ineffective enough for a sustained period, I don’t think his salary will matter.

            • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

              That’s your analysis. You’re welcome to believe it, but that doesn’t make it fact.

              It doesn’t make yours a fact either.

              Soriano AND Mo might be gone after 2012.

              While Mo is irreplaceable, Soriano is easily replicable (for a lot less money, too)

              Are there enough high leverage innings to need 4 top relievers?
              The Yankees, or any other playoff team, can easily pick up a reliever at any time that would be (or be expected to be) the fourth best reliever in their pen, and not have to waste someone who has dominant starter potential in that role.

              If Soriano is ineffective enough for a sustained period, I don’t think his salary will matter.

              See: AJ Burnett

              • Ted Nelson

                That he would be move valuable in a more valuable role is my theory…

                I think you’re underselling how good Soriano has been on his career and how common top relievers are in general.

                They can pick up a reliever… sure. There will be a cost, though, and having a better reliever is preferable to a worse reliever.

                AJ proves my point… Nova was given the #2 spot in the playoff rotation over him because Nova was better despite Burnett’s salary. I am not saying the Yankees will cut Soriano. I am saying that if Joba is obviously better I believe they’ll give Joba the more valuable role. Whether that’s a later inning or a fireman role in high leverage situations.

  • MannyGeee

    yeah, all of this.

  • James


  • Ted Nelson

    I tend to agree with the overall argument and conclusion to try Joba starting again. However, I disagree that stats alone are the way to decide whether a guy is a starting pitcher. The Yankees know the stats just like we do. I feel pretty confident that they have a reason (or line of reasoning) for not starting Joba. Maybe if we knew the reason, we would still disagree. Without knowing the exact reasoning behind it, though, we’re pretty necessarily strawmaning the organization by assuming they don’t know what they’re doing.

    I also disagree that Joba’s value is limited to the team as a reliever. There’s a very good chance that the Yankees will exist beyond 2012 and beyond 2013. In the meantime… Mo might retire. Soriano might leave after either of the next two years. And while Joba could be the 4th reliever… he’s also a good performance and/or a couple of injuries from being the closer or 2nd reliever. There’s an argument that he can just transition back to the bullpen if needed, but if the Yankees don’t think he can start for a physical or psychological reason… there’s also a chance you physically or psychologically ruin a valuable long-term piece.

    So, I tend to agree that they should start him but also am open to the possibility that they have legitimate reasons for not starting him and that those reasons might actually be right. Not saying that they are right, just that there’s a chance they are a lot of fans seem to ignore or downplay.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher


      I’d love to see Joba become the pitcher I envisioned him to be, and that was a front-of-the-rotation, huge personality pitcher for the Yankees. More importantly, though, I want him to have a successful MLB career, no matter where on the roster it occurs. Second to that, I’d love for that to be in pinstripes. Other than that, yes, I think this is as good a time as ever to just go for it with him as a starter, but I don’t think he’s “forgotten”, or has no value, if he sticks in the bullpen upon his return.

    • David, Jr.

      “there’s also a chance you physically or psychologically ruin a valuable long-term piece”.

      I believe that you may be onto something here. To me, it is very possible that the Yankees view him as the logical successor to Mo. He was an extremely dominant reliever, and they may think that it wouldn’t take that much to get him back to that. If that were the case, they certainly wouldn’t want to stretch him out as a starter and then return him to being a reliever.

      It is hard to digest, but there is likely a 98% chance that Mo will retire after this year, and they need to plan for that.

    • Bruce Bruce

      There’s an argument that he can just transition back to the bullpen if needed, but if the Yankees don’t think he can start for a physical or psychological reason… there’s also a chance you physically or psychologically ruin a valuable long-term piece.


      But you’re only ruining the 4th arm in the pen. The team isn’t going to sink or swim if he’s not on the bullpen. He got injured and ppl were upset but it wasn’t doom gloom.

      • Ted Nelson

        Again… he’s not the 4th arm in the pen. He’s one of four arms… maybe #4, but maybe #1-3. Next season it could be Robertson who needs TJS or struggles. Could be Mo who flames out. Then in 2013 Mo and/or Soriano might be gone.

        • Kevin Winters

          He’ll be the 4th arm when he comes back. They aren’t going to throw him in the deep end of the pool especially coming of TJS.

  • Mark

    Couldn’t agree more…Cashman should trade him once he is healthy if he wastes his talent as the 6th or 7th inning set-up man.

    • Bruce Bruce

      I agree might as well move him and get something back.

  • Gonzo

    He has options left? How does that work when he’s coming off injury on big boy roster? Do they take him off the 60 day and option him day 1?

    *assuming they want to do that

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Given SoRoMo’s effectiveness, I don’t see why they wouldn’t start Joba when he returns from TJS. In Girardi’s 4 years, the bullpen has been the one constant, even over the offense. Joba as the 6th inning guy may make the game shorter, but it wastes his abilities. Obviously, they may have inside info on his ability to hold up being a starter.

    The rotation for the Yanks is such a fluid and interesting place right now. You’ve got CC, an AJ whom we are always waiting for it to click and hope it happens for us instead of paying 11 mil per of his salary for it to happen elsewhere, a Nova who we hope can continue to build, a Hughes who a year ago was where Nova is now, Sweaty Freddy, and Noesi and Warren and those types. Maybe Joba can be a strong alternative for the second half of the season. Stretching him out as a starter is the best thing in my opinion.

    As an aside, the Yanks should sign Bartolo, but don’t have him come to camp until June. Keep him fresh for when the games have more meaning.

  • Guns of Navarone

    The problem now is that I don’t think we can expect anything at all from Joba The “Hypothetical” Starter this season. I think he would be far too rusty to be an effective starter at the major league level. It would probably be best that he spend the entire season in Triple-A. I don’t think we can expect the command/control to be there. And when was the last time Joba threw a changeup? Or a curveball?

    I think if you have him make any starts at the major league level you’re setting him up for big time failure. I don’t think the upside we’re talking about would be there until next season, if at all. I personally am not convinced the Yankees know what they’re doing when it comes to developing pitching. I think they made a firm decision once and for all to stick with Joba as a reliever, and sadly they’re going to continue down that path and hope for the best no matter what situation pops up.

    • Bruce Bruce

      I personally am not convinced the Yankees know what they’re doing when it comes to developing pitching.


      Hey that’s not fair they have done a great job. *starts to think of names*

  • duzzi23

    The only reason Joba came up as a reliever during the 07 season was because the Yankees were incapable of getting anyone to get outs between the starter and Mariano. That was another shit job by Cashman. Right after the season was over he should of been groomed to start either in the minors or the majors instead of that genius plan of coming out of the pen in June that may of messed up his arm. I agree with this post 100000% on making him a starter at this point considering our bullpen is stacked and there is much more to gain if he can prove to be an MLB starting pitcher. However genius Cashman already said he will be a reliever and rehab as such so really this is all a giant pipe dream.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      The only reason Joba came up as a reliever during the 07 season was because the Yankees were incapable of getting anyone to get outs between the starter and Mariano. That was another shit job by Cashman.

      Yeah, Boy Genius Theo totally played Cashman by getting Gagne.

      • Mike Axisa

        It certainly didn’t help that Torre ran everyone in the ground in the first half, as usual.

        • Plank

          Man, he was so frustrating with his reliever usage.

          • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

            You’re telling me….OW!

            Scott Proctor

            • Plank

              I’ll always think of Steve Karsay first when thinking of abused Torre relievers. He ruined that guys career.

              • Rainbow Connection

                He ruined a lot of careers.

      • duzzi23

        Did I mention anything about the Red Sox bullpen that year? I missed the part where Kyle Farnsworth, Ron Villone, an abused Luis Vizcaino and Scott Proctor plus the likes of Jose Veras Jeff Karstens and Edwar Ramirez were shut down relievers. Plus your point is stupid considering the Sox won the world series that year.

        • Bruce Bruce

          lol it never fails throw a stone at Cashman and the reply is every GM makes mistakes.

  • Jonathan

    The only thing that makes a shred of sense is that the FO didn’t think his shoulder could handle starting and it was probably bothering him at the end of 2009. I saw him start in KC in early April as it was opening day for the “new” Kauffman Stadium and he looked great. His motion was very fluid. His results were very good but against the 2009 Royals that doesn’t take a lot. But his velocity was sitting at 95 on a rainy cold day and the slider was biting. He didn’t hardly need them but the few curves he threw were effective as were a few change ups. If the FO and doctors (the same crew that thought it was a good idea to pitch Joba again in a lost 2008 after his first injury and get rid of Aceves) didn’t think his shoulder could handle starting anymore it would make sense to at least get some value out of him in the pen since he was under control for several more years and the pen was a major weakness.

    Now that he’s basically 1.5 years from free agency and the pen is strong there is nothing to worry about. You don’t have to worry about his shoulder going down and passing up 4 years of a great reliever for nothing. If his arm can’t handle it you’re missing 1.5 years of your 6th inning guy, although it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see him outperform any non MO reliever in the 2nd half next year. If his shoulder starts to act up you can always put him back in the pen since he’s proven that even with a tender shoulder he’s a very capable reliever. I wonder if they thought about doing a shoulder cleanup while he was out. Depending on the severity of the damage he’d be healed way before his TMJ was. I’ve had about every shoulder surgery you can have and the cleanup is no big deal and made a big difference. If you want to get to $189MM the best chance to do that is having some cheap home grown starters since we’re pretty much set with most of the offense. I know Hughes and Joba would be FA before 2014 but if they pitch pretty well in ’12/’13 maybe we could extend them semi cheaply. CC/Hamels and 3 kids out of Nova/Noesi/Warren/Mitchell/Phelps/ManBan/Betances etc etc etc. Maybe if we’re lucky it’ll be CC/Hamels and Hughes and Joba as well. A man can dream can’t he? Or fuck it CC/Hamels/Cain/Greinke/Nova works for me as well. Maybe they really meant $289 and $189 was a typo.

  • mustang

    Tell me who didn’t see this thread coming? Slow news wise in Yankee land and their need for a starter you knew that the ball was going to be handed to old faithful “Joba the starter” post.
    Please can anyone find any other news outlet that even brings this up anymore I would love to see it. Well at least it’s still good for about 50 to 100 comments or so.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Many people are interested in this discussion, but you are not, therefore it should not be had.

      • mustang

        No. A few people here are interested in this discussion and they are more then welcome to have it, but does it really need to be discussed?

        In order to have a “Lottery Ticket” or win the lottery you have to actually buy one. The Yankees last spring went to the Dominican Republic and brought a Colon lottery ticket that I think announce that they have no interested in the “Joba the Starter” scratch off.

        • Jim Is Bored

          “A few people here are interested in this discussion and they are more then welcome to have it”

          You answered your own question.

    • Stratman9652

      I don’t see you suggesting a better idea for a post. You said it yourself, there is almost no news in Yankee land and most topics have already been beaten to death. So what do you suggest? Leave the blog empty? Make up news?

      Is there some topic that RAB hasn’t explored that you find more worthy of page space? If so, do tell. We’ll wait.

      • mustang

        Your right and so is The Honorable Congressman Mondesi and I didn’t read the small print on top of the posting so my fault. So discuss on I will wait for postings on things that might actually happen.

      • mustang

        “most topics have already been beaten to death.”


        Saying this here is too much.


        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          You know what else has been beaten to death? Your constant pointless bitching about the topics you, the almighty mustang, approve of, and the topics you don’t want people to discuss.

          You don’t like it? Move on to the next post and STFU. It’s not like this is one time where you’re adding some constructive criticism, this has been your M.O. for years around here. Clearly nobody gives a fuck that you don’t want to discuss certain topics, since they keep writing about them despite your sobbing.

          You’re adding NOTHING to the conversation. That being the case, why bother?

          • mustang

            My dear The Honorable Congressman Mondesi you use the word “fuck” that’s not very honorable.

            Like you said they will keep writing and I will comment that’s the way this place works. Really dude if I annoy that much just don’t reply don’t bother.
            BTW Happy Holidays and a Joyful New Year to you.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              “Really dude if I annoy that much just don’t reply don’t bother.”

              See, that’s where the difference between the pointlessness of your comments, and the point of my comment, comes into play. Your comments serve no purpose, while mine serves the purpose of trying to get you to stop being a whiny annoying bitch.

              I won’t belabor the point any further. Choose to continue posting annoying and completely pointless comments if you so choose, I just wanted to try and help improve the threads a bit. It’s the Lord’s work.

              • mustang

                “I just wanted to try and help improve the threads a bit. It’s the Lord’s work.”

                And on this note I walk away slowly and make sure all sharp objects are off the table.

                Have a nice day.

              • mustang

                ” Choose to continue posting annoying and completely pointless comments ”

                I will thank you.

          • mustang

            “the almighty mustang,”

            And stop with the compliments I’m taken.

  • Gonzo

    Read a lot about his shoulder on this board and saving it from turning into hamburger meat.

    My question is, with Joba set to hit FA after 2013 (if he doesn’t use an option), what are you saving it for?

    • Plank

      Good point. Above people were saying converting him to a reliever could have added the amount of time before he needed TJS, but if he’s a FA soon anyway, why go that route? I would have rather had him as a SP until he had TJS instead of a reliever until he had TJS even if he had surgery sooner as a starter. I don’t even know if that’s the case, anyway.

      I’m fairly certain he can’t be sent down at this point, too.

    • thenamestsam

      In theory you’re correct, but the Yankees aren’t running a fantasy team. That’s the problem with the lottery ticket analogy in my mind. From our perspective there’s no downside to trying him as a starter. If he blows out his shoulder, or it ruins him mentally, who cares because he basically had no value as a middle reliever with 2 years to go to free agency getting paid a couple million dollars a year.

      But the Yankees can’t possibly make decisions that way. If it ruins Joba’s career it is going to cost him millions and millions of dollars. Maybe tens of millions if he becomes a closer some day. On top of that there is the physical and emotional pain of injuries and rehab. As his employer the Yankees have a moral obligation to treat him as something more than a cog in their world series winning machine. Maybe he’s willing to take that risk, but if they think something is likely going to result in him getting hurt they’re not going to force it on him. They try to protect him because Joba Chamberlain is a real person to them, not just an asset to be utilized in its most productive capacity.

      • Ana

        Round of applause for this one

      • Plank

        You can look at the flip side of that. If the Yankees establish him as a good starter for the next two years, Joba will probably make 40MM or more than he would have if he stays a reliever.

        • thenamestsam

          Absolutely, and I agree that if they’ve been 100% honest with him about whatever risks there might be for him in trying to be a starter and he wants to do it, then that’s fantastic because it would definitely be best for the Yankees, and maybe he’s willing to take those risks (whatever they may be).

          But for Tyler to write that there’s no downside just because there is no downside to the Yankees implies to me that he thinks the Yankees should make a decision solely based on their potential outcomes, ignoring what Joba might think about it. I don’t think that’s a very realistic view of a decision making process in this type of situation.

          • Spiff

            what up, jensen

            • thenamestsam

              quien eres?

          • Gonzo

            You are right about having Joba’s input. His imput shouldn’t be the end all and be all, but it should carry some weight.

            He has been silent on the matter. Paps was very vocal about wanting to pitch in the bullpen after he was given the option of being a starter. Why not allow Joba the same choice Paps had?

            • thenamestsam

              Yankees FO is better at keeping stuff internal than the Sox. Maybe he has been vocal internally.

              • Gonzo

                Why would they supress an opinion that concurs or justifies their actions.

                Cash was very honest this year about Joba and a lot of other things, and he never once mentioned that Joba said those things.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Eh, there could be a million reasons for keeping that info private. Maybe it preserves some market-value because other teams don’t know he doesn’t want to start, maybe it’s out of respect for Joba not wanting it to be public, etc. Really, the list could go on and on. It’s entirely possible he’s indicated, privately, that he wants to be in the ‘pen.

                  • Gonzo

                    Entirely possible, but I wouldn’t say it’s probable based on what we know.

                    It’s also entirely probable that Joba wants to start. It cuts both ways.

                    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                      “It’s also entirely probable possible that Joba wants to start. It cuts both ways.”

                      True, of course.

                    • Gonzo

                      Yeah, meant possible.

            • Rainbow Connection

              You’re privy to all conversations between Joba and the FO?? Wow.

      • Gonzo

        Well, I don’t know of a definitive study regarding the benefits of relieving vs. starting on the shoulder. Can anyone find one?

        I don’t know how the Yankees have a moral obligation for something that is unknown territory.

        • Gonzo

          On the other side of things, there are pitchers who have done both that say relieving is tougher on the shoulder than the starting.

          Who’s to say that the Yankees aren’t doing the morally egregious act by having him in the bullpen?

          • thenamestsam

            Obviously we’re dealing in hypotheticals here because we have almost no information. And I tried to stay away from making definitive statements for that reason. I’m not saying it’s certain that it’s worse for his shoulder to start, just that it’s possible (a premise you seemed to be following in your opening comment) and disagreeing with the logic you invoked that says: “Even if it is worse, who cares? He’s a FA in two years anyway?”.

            If the Yankees know (or even suspect) that it’s worse for him to start they have a moral obligation not to force starting on him. That’s my point. It’s entirely possible the Yankees don’t think that at all. From my perspective it seems like the most likely reason he hasn’t been used as a starter, but that’s entirely besides the point.

            • Gonzo

              I guess the moral argument is very hard for me to swallow.

            • Gonzo

              Even if the suspect? I mean Joaqin Benoit came back from rotator cuff surgery fine and went on to sign a decent contract to boot.

              • thenamestsam

                Sure, he might be fine even after rotator cuff surgery and he might become an awesome starter, but if they think that it makes it more likely that he’ll have to have a fairly extreme surgery I think they have an obligation (whether you call it moral or not is up to you) to include him in that decision making process.

                • Gonzo

                  Sure, but that’s based on what? Were they using the same morality when the term Proctor’d was coined?

                  • thenamestsam

                    No they certainly weren’t and for all the jokes we make about it that was a pretty bad thing. If I was Scott Proctor I’d be pretty upset about the way Torre handled me and I’d probably wonder every day how my career would have turned out if I hadn’t been thrown out there every other day.

                    It’s also a slightly different situation because even though it was pretty obvious Proctor was getting way overworked, I doubt a doctor was ever involved or said “Hey, this guy shouldn’t be pitching 5 times a week. His shoulder is going to fall off”. With Joba, if a doctor at some point has said “This guy is more likely to get hurt if he starts”, that’s pretty different from my perspective.

                    • Gonzo

                      Ok, if a Dr. said that fine. To me, at least, that’s a far cry from “suspecting” it may cause injury.

                      I just believe that too many people have “suspicions” based on nothing more than their preconcieved notions. My response to them was “so what.”

      • Rich in NJ

        There is one thing you are overlooking. That is, if Joba is determined to be a starter (and the Yankees won’t give him that opportunity), he could very well walk as a FA in two years and sign with a team who will give him that chance. So the cost to the Yankees may be far less than you seem to think.

        • thenamestsam

          See my response to Plank above.

          If Joba wants to start then I’m 100% behind it assuming he understands any risks there might be. I just don’t think we can say there is 0 downside just because there is 0 downside for the team.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I’ve been thinking about this since I wrote my comments earlier. I totally hear this argument, but I still wonder what the Yanks’ responsibility should be when considering this sort of issue. You state it as an assertion, but do they “have a moral obligation to treat him as something more than a cog in their world series winning machine?” I’d like to think they have some sort of moral obligation to the guy, but I’m not sure that obligation trumps doing what’s in the best interest of the organization.

        This question reminds me of the movie version of Moneyball, when they portray Beane not wanting to have any personal relationship with the players because he needs to treat them solely as assets and he needs to keep personal/moral implications out of his head.

        I’m not coming down on either side of this one, I’m just not sure what the right answer is.

        • thenamestsam

          Would you feel the same way if the organization we’re talking about is your employer, and the employee we’re talking about is you?

          Beane’s point was about valuing players and acquiring them and trading them. Those things may be tough on a player, and harder to impose on them if you think about them as people, but they’re all commonplace in all types of business environments. Employees everywhere get paid what they’re worth with very little stock put in “loyalty”, and if someone else can do the job better they get replaced. They’re forced to change cities because of work. To me, risking a guys livelihood and his health goes well beyond that.

          Also if we want to deal purely in what’s in the best interests of the organization I think you can make a compelling argument that treating your players well is a part of that. What if Joba blew out his shoulder and then came out in the press and said “Hey, my doctor said I shouldn’t be starting but the Yankees didn’t give me any choice because they felt it was worth the risk for them”. Wouldn’t that hurt the Yankees ability to sign pitching after that?

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “Would you feel the same way if the organization we’re talking about is your employer, and the employee we’re talking about is you?”

            Honestly, yes. I may not like it, but yeah, I think most of the time the organization’s interests trump those of its employees. People get fired, laid-off, treated badly, go unappreciated, and all manner of other things all the time. I mean, I wish companies felt more of a moral obligation to their employees, but when it comes down to it, that’s not the way it usually works. Again, I’m not saying that’s wonderful, just pointing it out.

            “…if we want to deal purely in what’s in the best interests of the organization I think you can make a compelling argument that treating your players well is a part of that.”

            This I agree with, and I think it’s a good thing that the Yanks seem to have a good reputation around baseball for how they treat their players, since I think it makes them a more attractive landing spot for players who might be choosing where they want to play.

            Look… I’m not saying I think it’s best for the Yanks to think only about their own selfish interests with blinders on and not consider what’s best for their players. For one thing, I said that a couple of times in the comment that you’re responding to (for example: “I’m not coming down on either side of this one, I’m just not sure what the right answer is”). For another, I think sometimes the concepts aren’t mutually exclusive.

            But, as I think about this more, I do think you’re going a little too far to one extreme, but I don’t disagree with you wholly nor would I argue for the other extreme. I think the answer to this one is somewhere in the middle, in the gray area.

            • thenamestsam

              I completely respect your point of view. I wasn’t trying to come across combatively. I think you’re one of the better commenters on these boards because of your willingness to consider others’ points of view (a rare attribute).

              I guess I just think that something that might compromise his livelihood and give him a serious shoulder issue requiring invasive surgery and a year long rehab goes beyond “People get fired, laid-off …” and that the organization should care about his opinion on that. You may be right that I’ve gone too far in calling it a moral imperative.

              A more measured statement that I think preserves the main point: There may be very real downsides to Joba being a starting pitcher beyond the downsides to the Yankees (which are essentially nil). As a fan, and person who has employers, I’d be glad to know that they consider the well-being of their players important, even if it reduces their chances of winning #28 marginally. And I would consider that a very valid reason not to start him.

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                No worries, you weren’t being combative or anything. I just wanted to make sure I clarified what I was saying, it’s easy for people to talk past each other in forums like this.

                The more we hash this out, the more I think the idea I’m starting to believe in is that the team’s and player’s best interests are so closely aligned that I’m not sure a realistic situation even exists where you’d have a team choose to do something that was morally reprehensible with regard to the player and/or his health. What I mean by that is… Yes, it would be morally reprehensible for the Yankees to force Joba to start if they knew it would put him at very high risk for crippling (sports-wise) injury, but when would it ever ben in the Yankees’ best interests to do that? In almost all circumstances it’d be in both the team’s and the player’s best interests to do the right thing in that situation.

                When you get into the less extreme situations, that’s when I think you have a serious conundrum on your hands. Does stretching Joba out to start increases his injury risk a bit? Maybe, maybe not. Assuming it does, does that increased risk outweight the potential increased benefit to the team (and possibly to Joba’s career, but that’s a different issue altogether) of having him start instead of putting him in the ‘pen? That’s where the argument occurs. I think you might be on the side of putting him in the ‘pen, and I think I’m on the side of rolling the dice and seeing if he can start, in that situation. I think (or at least I think that I think) that the Yanks should be interested in taking on that risk, in the interest of possibly having that investment pay some greater dividends, at the risk of putting Joba at greater risk for injury, because I think the alternative (Joba in the ‘pen) doesn’t really provide such a great benefit.

                But I don’t know… Like I said from the beginning, I really just don’t know. When you get into these moral gray areas, sometimes it’s tough to settle on an opinion quickly, if ever.

                (I have to leave the convo for a while, so I’ll leave it there.)

            • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

              I had a reply written to this overall thread, but decided to stay away. I thought the whole “moral” argument was a slippery slope.

              At no point have I thought that the Yankees haven’t acted in what they felt was the best interest of BOTH the franchise AND Joba Chamberlain. The possibility that mistakes in judgment were made is a very different thing.

  • Jd

    We are just guessing. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that the shoulder issues are always described as “something that happened in Texas” without any diagnosis? It is hard to believe that the medical staff does not know what is wrong with the shoulder or what happened that night. I can only assume that the Yankees know something that the rest of us do not. Frankly, I have been reading this blog for a few years. Its good but always amazing that we don’t ask the obvious. What is wrong with his shoulder? Is the rotator cuff partially torn? What is it? How is it possible that we simply accept that he was a good starter and now doesn’t start based upon “something happened in Texas”. Wake up folks. The guy has an undisclosed injury that caused the Yankees to change the way that they use him. Of course, there is the other possibility that the Yankees know less than all of you geniuses. Merry Christmas.

    • Bruce Bruce

      Wake up folks. The guy has an undisclosed injury that caused the Yankees to change the way that they use him.


      The injury was so bad they brought him back months later to pitch in a season that end in what August.

  • Tags

    I just go back to seeing him in Trenton blowing guys away. He seemed to have the mindset for starting then. His stuff didn’t fade late into the game either. For me it’s a no brainer to stretch him out and see how it goes. you know by the end of June AJ will be going down in flames.

  • Alibaba

    Unless there are some shoulder issues that we don’t know about, they need to revisit Joba the Starter topic. They should try to find out, once and for all, whether the pitcher who beat Beckett 1-0 is real. A CC, Nova, Hughes, Joba, followed by a #5 could be a lethal rotation.

    But, you have to try it to know.

  • nsalem

    I don’t think any spot in the bullpen is negligible and every strong arm counts. RP’s get hurt and have bad years and as Girardi doesn’t abuse his relievers (as opposed to some other 21st century Yankee managers named Joe.) so everybody’s not available every day. I have been a defender of the Yankee starting rotation and in the minority in not believing we have an overwhelming need for that elusive number 2 starter. The caveat though is that if we start the season as is we do need a lights out bullpen. I still don’t get it when people look upon the 6th inning as “not important”. I just don’t understand how the 8th is more important. This team as presently constructed will have the need for quality 6th inning performances from its bullpen and the more quality arms the better. Does Joba deserve another shot? Definitely. One of his last starts in 09 vs Tampa was one of his best ones. Then the rules kicked in and all of a sudden he had a bad shoulder. I found ithe explanation a little suspect. I hope he gets another shot and hopefully it will be here.

    • Jonathan

      This is very simple. The 8th inning is more important for 2 reasons.

      1. There is less time to regain a lead blown in the 8th vs 6th

      and the most important reason

      2. A starter pitches into or through the 6th MUCH MUCH MUCH more often than he does the 8th.

      All of that is if you use your bullpen the way Girardi does with a set pecking order.

      • nsalem

        I see your point. However 8th innings are often pre determined slots and a certain pitcher is going to be used in a close game to start the inning. 6th inning relievers come in when the starter has not done his job effectively. A 6th inning reliever often comes in when there are men on base in a close game and one bad pitch can turn a close game into a blow out.
        There is no room for error. Many games are lost by poor pitching in the 6th inning which keeps your 8th inning set up and closer out of play. i don’t agree with those who call this role negligible and insinuate that it is a role that anyone can fill.

  • RetroRob

    “Joba Chamberlain at his peak is the number 2 starter the Yankees are searching for.”

    The problem with this statement is the belief that Joba-the-starter from 2008 still exists. He doesn’t. He died that year on a hot August day in Texas.

    Joba is just another one of the many back-end starter arms the Yankees have. While a back-end starter can deliver more value than a 6th/7th inning arm, it’s also nothing to get all that worked up about considering the Yankees other back-end options.

    Move on.

    • Kevin Winters

      You can say the same thing about Hughes he seems to be a back end starter yet they keep wheeling him out there.

  • TLVP

    the 6th inning reliever is less relevant because if your starter is doing his job, he is the 6th inning guy rather than a reliever

    • nsalem

      I agree but starters often don’t do their jobs. 4 of our potential starters (or everyone but CC) for 2012 have not had great success in the last several years in the 3rd time around the line uo. Often when a pitcher is removed by the six inning it means the starter has given up 3 or 4 runs already. Wouldn’t that increase the importance of the production from the 6th inning pitcher.

  • WayneD

    This article makes so much sense that it means (unfortunately) there’s little chance of this happening.

    The Yankees seem stuck on the idea that Joba can’t handle be a starter in terms of his durability or health, which makes no sense at all to me in a baseball historical sense.

    Dozens, if not hundreds, of quality pitchers throughout baseball history have had injuries in the early part of their career and gone on to be workhorses, such as Cole Hamels.

    Phillie fans wondered and complained (as is their wont) for years that Hamels would never achieve his potential or be a viable starter because he could manage to stay in the rotation for any length of time.

    In his second and third minor-league seasons, Hamels failed to pitch more than 35 innings, including 16 (!) in 2004, before attaining the lofty total of 35 in 2005.

    Then Hamels pitched 49 innings in 2006 before being called up to the majors, where he pitched an additional 132.1 innings. Since his rookie year, he’s average around 200 innings or more and gone on to become one of the better pitchers in the NL.

    So, does anyone out there in Yankee-hierarchy land think Phillie regrets not giving up on Hamels and converting him into a 6th-inning pitcher?

    For Christ’s sake already, it’s time to throw the Joba-baby into the bathtub and let him sink or swim.

    As Tyler correctly points out, we have nothing to loose at this point in doing so . . . other than finally resolving that insipidly recurring question: Can Joba be a successful starter?

  • infernoscurse

    what i find funny is how the FO continues to give Hughes second chances yet Joba is practically forgatten

    • Kevin Winters

      That is interesting now of course everything that has happened to them is not the sane but Hughes came into camp out of shape, he has battled injuries, his velocity decreased, etc yet year after year gets another shot no matter what happens. If he has a so so watch it will happen again and Cashman will say “We believe Hughes is a starter he’s only *enter whatever age he will be at that time here*

  • Mike HC

    Fucking nailed it. Nicely written.

  • John

    that was damn good

  • Joe

    There’s always been this unspoken thought in the Yankee-verse that the front office didn’t like Joba’s personality as a starter. That they liked dangling a carrot in front of his and did not think handing him a rotation spot would keep him motivated. He lost his aggressiveness as a starter and seemed to be more placid. He looked and sounded like a different pitcher at times who was just trying to get through the season hitting his innings limits as a starter in order to set up his position as starter for the following year. You got the sense he was okay with being an okay starter as long as it led to arbitration dollars starters got over relievers. Cashman has alluded to injury concerns being why they made him a reliever but you always get the sense there was something going on behind the scenes personality wise that the Yankees were punishing Joba for.

    Still, that’s conjecture. The fact is, they have 2 years left of team control. What’s more valuable? A starting pitcher or a 6th inning man?

    The Yankees need to give Joba a shot to work with Rothschild and see if their chosen pitching coach can turn this guy into a starter one last time.

    If they get him healthy, stash him in the pen and then he walks as a free agent and goes and starts for the Rangers and lives up to his potential it’s a fireable offense for Cashman in my opinion.

    Cashman talks down to people who ask this question. It’s a sore spot. That tells me there’s a lot more emotion involved behind the scenes than pure baseball sense. If the Yankees are mad at Joba or punishing him for acting like an entitled jerk or something they need to get over it. They need to see, once and for all, if they can turn that right arm into a rotation piece.

    They refused to deal him for Haren when he was asked for. I just can’t believe they passed up Haren to keep a late game relief option. If that is the case then Cashman really should have been fired. For them to pull Joba from the Haren talks meant they felt there was something great there. Making him pitch the 6th inning isn’t going to ever let that happen.

    Let him start and build his way back up. If it fails, it fails. You’re not losing anything at this point.

  • MannyGeee

    I still blame the goddam midges

  • A.Garcia

    This topic, I mean, Joba the started should be used for publicity or something like that.

    Look how many comments about this.

  • WayneD

    Numerous readers, including myself, I have alluded to the injury issue being a possible reason for the Yankees refusing to start Joba. I think this issue can be fully addressed as best as any human being can in a few short sentences:

    1) NO ONE on the planet can know for sure if Joba can stand up physically to the rigors of being a starter, including the Yankees’ FO and doctors (see point 2).

    2) If injury concerns are the reason the Yankees are reluctant to use Joba as a starter, let’s not forget that this is the same brilliant brain trust that thought Aceves was too big of a risk to resign.

    Let’s see, 10 Wins, 2 Losses, a 2.61 ERA, a 164 ERA+, 114 IP, a 1.105 WIP, a 1.9 WPA and an 8.3 WPA+ . . .

    And for Just $11 Million more we got the following for Soriano: 2 Wins, 3 Losses, a 4.12 ERA, a 108 ERA+, 39.1 IP, a 1.297 WHIP, a 0.9 WPA and a 5.0 WPA+.

    Thank god our genius doctors and FO personnel got that one right and didn’t resign Aceves! Boy, it would have really sucked having that on the Yankees, instead of the hated Soxs. Keep up the great diagnostic work guys!

    What the above backs up is what I noted in point #1: NO ONE on the planet can know for sure whether a given pitcher is going to hold up over the course of a season.

    Yes, certain guys may be more historically prone toward injuries, but only time and opportunity to pitch will ultimately answer that question in each and every case . . .

    So, again, why not give Joba a start (pun intended) in a AAA rehab? And let’s see what he does. If he does well, give him a start in the bigs and see how he does. Worse case, he ends up back in the 6th (where he was before) or the DL (where he also was before).

    This is all contingent, of course, on Joba wanting to be a starter. If he doesn’t, for whatever reason, fine; he should have a say in the matter.

    But if he wants to start and the Yankees’ brass or doctors don’t want him to start, please refer back to point #2, above, you brilliant all-knowing seers.

  • WayneD

    Just read on mlbtraderumors that the Soxs got Andrew Bailey for Josh Reddick. Straight up, no less, if the post is accurate.

    That seems like a hell of a steal for the Soxs if the story is accurate, given what other teams have given up for pitchers this off season.

    A pox on Beane-head if that’s all he pried out of the Soxs for a good closer at an extremely favorable salary!

    • Rainbow Connection


  • coolerking101

    Terrific article. Nice job Tyler.

  • Rainbow Connection

    Great article.
    Is Joba really (mostly likely) doomed for failure as the article (and comments) indicate?
    I thought people got stronger after TJS???
    I’ve been fairly optimistic about Joba. I’m bummed after reading this.

  • David K.

    As a starter, he throws barely 90 mph. He throws 100 pitches in three and a third innings. When are you going to get over this ridiculous idea that Joba is a starter? Joba is a middle reliever if I ever saw one.

    • Kevin Winters

      Lol before he got injured he threw very hard as starter. Smh at least be accurate.

  • John Cerra

    I can’t claim medical knowledge of Joba’s shoulder condition, but I have had rotator cuff surgery for three massive tears. It strikes me has being strange that Joba could hit 96-97 last year with a tear. Further, if he did have a tear, why not go in and clear it up when you have TJ? Dr. Andrews is tops at both. The recovery time is about the same.

    I think the FO doesn’t think he is a starter. Maybe Larry Rothschild can get him thinking differently.

  • Aaron S.

    Nice post Tyler. Like a number of you fellow RAB readers, I have long been a fan of both Joba and Hughes – hoping for the pair to develop into rotation anchors that will help this team remain competitive (and under a reasonable budget) for years to come. But both Joba and Hughes have been wildly inconsistent throughout their careers – one year they’re All Star worthy, the next we question why they aren’t back in the minors. It’s nauseating. But, I still find a way to hold onto that hope (and it’s not just so that the autographed photos of the two pitchers that hang on my walls go up in value).

    I’m a believer that both Joba and Hughes can still develop into quality starters. Hughes seems closer, if only because of opportunity. But you make a valid argument on Joba. Realistically, anything the Yankees get from him in 2012 can be considered a bonus. He does have options left. I see no reason not to try him as a starter one more time. If he can’t cut it, the bullpen is always an option. But there is nothing to lose by trying and it would seem illogical not to – and it would be a sure sign that the organization has lost faith in his abilities.