Joba and his non-future with the Yankees

(AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)

(AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)

I thought we were beyond this. The whole “should Joba Chamberlain be a starter or reliever?” debate died a slow and ugly death a few years back, after the Yankees took matters into their own hands and officially declared the young right-hander a full-time reliever. There would be no more bouncing back and forth, no more Joba Rules, no more pitch counts, nothing. He will be a reliever and that’s what he’s done since.

Yesterday, despite not being asked any questions about the topic, Joba told reporters he still believes he has what it takes to be a starter in this league. Here is his full quote, courtesy of Mark Feinsand

“This is probably going to spark a bunch of stuff and (PR director Jason Zillo) is going to be mad at me, but it’s one of those things where it’s like, do you think you have the capability to start? Yes. Do I have four pitches that I can throw for a strike? Yes. Do I have two plus pitches in the bullpen that I can throw at any time? Yes.

“I guess I’m trying to have my cake and eat it, too. I feel like I’m good enough to do both. I’ve proven that I can do both. Whatever it is, if I close, I want to be one or the other. I’ve been in the role of in the bullpen for a while, but am I confident that if I got the chance to start again somewhere – wherever that’s at – I could do it? Without a doubt. I just have to focus on this year and what I can do to improve to help this team win, continue to try to win ballgames for them.”

There are two things going on here, the first of which is pretty simple: of course Joba thinks he can start. Pretty much every reliever thinks he can start, especially relievers who are still a few years away from their 30th birthday. He’s confident in his talent and believes he can handle a more important role, which is perfectly normal. It would be a little disappointing if Joba came out and said he’s content as a reliever and doesn’t think he’s capable of pitching in someone’s rotation. You always want your players striving for more, to be better.

Secondly, free agency is looming and starters make an awful lot more money than their bullpen brethren. It’s not close either. The biggest free agent reliever contract in baseball history (Jonathan Papelbon) is nearly identical to the third largest free agent starter contract given out this past winter (Edwin Jackson), nevermind in baseball history. Being a starter pays much more because they’re simply more important. You know this, I know this, Joba and his agent knows this.

With the obvious caveat that there is still eight months worth of baseball to be played between now and free agency, it seems very unlikely Chamberlain will be re-signing with New York after the season. That makes me sad. He’s made it very obvious we wants to start and the Yankees won’t give him that opportunity. That last part is very clear. Ivan Nova and his 4.41 ERA in 62 career starts is in camp competing for a rotation spot this spring while Joba and his 4.18 ERA in 43 career starts is not. Think about that. Nova has gotten 19 more starts (and counting!) to prove himself than Joba.

Anyway, some team is going to give Chamberlain a chance to start next year. He’s still young enough (only 27) with good stuff and former top prospect shine, which is the kind of package that typically has fans clamoring for their team to swoop in. I’m guessing Joba will get a contract like Carlos Villanueva’s (two years, $10M) with the promise that he’ll compete for a rotation spot in camp with the bullpen as a fallback option. Maybe his quasi-hometown Royals will give him that deal, or maybe it’ll be Padres and their big ballpark. I could see the Rays pulling off a move like that, the Rangers as well. Either way, Joba’s days with the Yankees are numbered because there is still, six years later, a difference of opinion about his role.

Categories : Musings


  1. Bob Buttons says:

    Sucks but true. He can, and certainly will go for a team that will offer him a chance, and he is an expendable piece for our bullpen.

  2. IRememberCelerinoSanchez says:

    This is all true, but there is one possible exception: closing. I’m not saying the Yanks would/should do this, but if they offer Joba the job of replacing Mo as the closer, given his comments, I think he would consider it.

    I took his comments to mean he wants to start or at least close.

  3. steves says:

    I am not as confident that Joba is gone after this year. The Yanks will have plenty of room in the budget to give him a shot at what should be at least 2 (possibly 3) open starter jobs next year (Andy, Kuroda, Hughes?). It doesn’t make sense this year but next year presents a totally different scenario.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      They will never ever give him a shot no matter how many spots are open in the rotation. They wouldn’t give him a chance in 2011 when the rotation was

      CC, AJ, Nova, Hughes, Freddy, and Colon

      • Guns of the Navarone says:


        And if they were entertaining the idea of starting him next year…why not start him this year? The Yankees are well aware of the rotation holes they’ll have next year. If they plan on Joba filling one of those holes, why not stretch him out this year instead of losing ANOTHER year of development pitching out of the bullpen.

      • Mike HC says:

        Yea, when Joba didn’t get a shot that year, you knew it was never going to happen. Man, this wound was basically all healed and Joba had to come along and rip it back open, ha.

        • steves says:

          If all you guys are right then not trading Joba right now for something/anything just compounds the many mistakes the Yanks have made with this guy.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            That doesn’t follow.

            The Yankees could think his value as a 7th inning guy/backup for 8th or 9th inning is greater than the value they’d get back in a trade.

            I don’t think I could argue with that, either.

          • Mike HC says:

            I’m personally a big Joba fan so I would not want to the Yanks to trade him and want to enjoy watching him pitch this year. Also don’t think they would get all that much in return.

  4. JohnC says:

    Woudn’tclose the door on JObas returning yet. Not until we see how he performs this season and the Yanks evaluate their pitchihg moving forward. If they don’t resign Hughes, can they really afford to let Joba just walk without at least considering him as a starter?

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      They would because they no longer see him as a starter.

      • Deathstroke Heathcott says:

        It’s surprising how many casual fans think that Joba bombed out in his time as a starter when his first 43 career starts are better than both Nova’s and Hughes’.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          Ppl overreacted to his starts. What he put up was normal for a young kid.

          But it’s not just fans but Cashman too. “We gave him a chance and he failed” He was a failure at age 23 after 43 starts??? And this is the man in charge of overseeing the next wave of kids. So by his logic then Nova is a failure along with Hughes.

  5. trr says:

    No, it’s adios after this season

  6. Vern Sneaker says:

    A decent reliever, and I’m guessing would be an average starter at this point. What might have been, sigh . . .

  7. Ed says:

    Not surprising at all. Ever since the team said he was permanently going to be a reliever, I expected him to leave at the first opportunity. I’m sure it stings as he watches how many more chances Hughes and Nova got to start, and how much more Hughes is getting paid just makes it worse.

  8. CountryClub says:

    This has been said many times, but it’s worth repeating: maybe the Yanks know something that we don’t.

    Maybe they have Drs telling them he’ll never hold up as a starter. Maybe ownership said we’re sick of all this controversy. He was dominant as a reliever, that’s where he’s staying. Or, like many fans choose to believe, maybe Cash just made the call (rightly or wrongly).

    I’m sure we’ll learn the true reason once he’s no longer on the team. It’ll leak at some point.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks says:

      You could choose to give them the benefit of the doubt, but they haven’t really earned it considering their track record with pitcher development isn’t great.

      • A.D. says:

        Joba would presumably know the same thing the Yanks do on medical, so there’s at least someone telling him he can start since I’d imagine Joba wouldn’t bring it up if he medically was unable to.

        • Cris Pengiucci says:

          However, even if he knows, why wouldn’t he tell another team he wants to start? If they somehow overlook whatever the problem may be, he could get a larger contract as a starter, and if he gets injured, there’s a chance he’ll earn more in limited time as a starter than whatever his career may be as a reliever (at least if he’s not in a closer role). He may also risk injury regardless of role.

          Personally, I’d like to see him get a chance as a starter. Based on his comments, I’m not sure he’s a major injury risk in that role. I doubt, however, that the Yankees give him that opportunity, which I see as unfrortunate, but we’ll see how things play out.

    • LK says:

      “Maybe ownership said we’re sick of all this controversy.”

      I don’t think this qualifies as them knowing something we don’t. In fact this is the exact explanation that would make me think they don’t know what they’re doing.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        In fact this is the exact explanation that would make me think they don’t know what they’re doing.


        It wouldn’t be the first time. “Lets put 3 rookies in the rotation at the same time in NY. What could go wrong”

      • A.D. says:

        If they didn’t want controversy just have him start and see if he sinks or swims

      • CountryClub says:

        Right, it was a separate thought. I guess I should have worded it better. I was listing a few different scenarios that could explain why the Yanks moved him (and left him) in the pen.

    • Jimmy says:

      What I don’t understand about the thing is why the Yankees are so closed minded on the thing. Joba wants an opportunity to start. I think thats clear now. Let him compete in spring training. Whats the worst that happens? Maybe he does have some structural problem, he’s only got this season left on contract. If he shreds his arm starting, then essentially they lost a middle reliever that theyve lived without for a while now. He gets what he wants and maybe we get a starter better than Nova or Phelps. I think the upside is larger than the risk spent.

  9. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    I think he’s gone also, and I’m in the camp that has always wanted Joba to be given further opportunities to start. He had some success as a starter and I still think it’s not too late for him, but I agree that the opportunity will come elsewhere.

    He’ll probably get a 1 year pillow deal on a team that will want to use him in the rotation. I wish him much success, I think he has all the makings of a good starting pitcher.

    2 things I find noteworthy.

    He could probably find a larger contract this offseason as a reliever than as a starter(but obviously if shines in 2014 as a starter somewhere on a 1 year deal, he could land a mega deal after that)

    The Yankees will need a SP after this year, and don’t have much money to spend. Joba actually would fit our needs pretty well, except the organization that hasn’t ever believed in him as a starter probably wouldn’t be interested.

  10. Jim Is Bored says:

    I just wish I could stop thinking about this.

    • ajra21 says:

      I wish they’d never made him a reliever in 2007. That decision messed everything up. He should have stayed in the minors, started and then gone on to be another good Yankee starter.

  11. JW says:

    I know we all joked about it, but I don’t quite understand why the Yankees didn’t seize the opportunity when Joba was rehabbing last year after TJS and the ankle and bring him back as a starter. They had nothing to lose; if it didn’t work, it would have been simple enough to shift him back into the pen. I know the pen was shorter last year with Rivera out, but then again, so was the rotation. It was a move worth trying — I still don’t quite understand Cashman’s stubbornness about the whole situation, especially since as Mike says, without the move Joba is a goner after this season.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      I still don’t quite understand Cashman’s stubbornness about the whole situation,


      Because Cashman can be stubborn when it comes to certain things. He has a way of being inflexible and Joba starting again is one of them.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      Look how defensive he gets when ppl criticize his track record with developing pitching.

  12. LarryM., Fl. says:

    I was under the impression that Joba suffered an injury in Texas. Cashman had alluded to this impairing his ability to start. I don’t understand it when he passes physicals and gets increases in salary each year.

    Having watched Joba through most of his starts. At least he exhibited the ability to understand when he was going wrong and correct. Where Nova was high in the zone and could not correct last year.

    Sitting in the bullpen and watching Hughes, Nova and Phelps competing for a rotation spot must be unnerving to him. It would be to me if I was in his place. This would be the best time if he’s healthy to try the experiment one more time with conviction on the Front office’s part.

    • TheOneWhoKnocks says:

      “Sitting in the bullpen and watching Hughes, Nova and Phelps competing for a rotation spot must be unnerving to him”
      Especially considering he has the highest upside out of any of them, and is still young. The only mistake he made was to be utterly dominant out of the pen.

      • CS Yankee says:

        Hughes was pretty great out of the pen as well.

        I would expect that if the money is close next year, he’ll move on with life and go elsewhere.

        NYY will go 2-3 years (at most) for a MRP, KC would/should/could offer something like a 4/25 to try him as their SP, with the fall-back of him being their closer if he fails.

        All the best to Joba.

  13. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    This is REALLY going to suck if he goes 14-6 for the Rays or Rangers next year…

    It hurts to say this, but I’m really pulling for him here, and not the Yankees. I blame RAB for this. They introduced him, built up the aura and mystique, and helped us get to know him really well.

    Damn you Axisa!!!

  14. Peter R says:

    To be fair, according to Chad Jenning’s take on the story Joba didn’t just out of the blue say he wants to start. He was prompted as part of a series of questions that are apparently common this time of year:

    “A few question into an otherwise routine, postgame interview, Joba Chamberlain was asked about his ultimate aspiration. He started his answer with these words. ‘This is probably going to spark a bunch of stuff. …’”- http://yankees.lhblogs.com/201.....ter-again/

    So he was prompted and I don’t see anything wrong with him giving a straight answer. Yup, I want to be important and think I can.

  15. mick taylor says:

    i would like to hear gil patterson’s opinion on whether joba should be tried again as a starter. he is really smart when it comes to pitchin

  16. jjyank says:

    It’s a shame really. I remember how excited I was for his future with the Yankees after seeing him completely tear shit up when he came up in 2007. I know he did that in the bullpen, but I never assumed that he would end up staying there. Part of me wonders if that stretch of utter dominance ended up hurting him in the long run. If Joba never had that run, would the team have been so adamant about keeping him in the bullpen? We’ll probably never know.

    I’ve always liked the guy, and I wish him the best, regardless of what team he plays for. However, I’m really not understanding the attitude that some have about rooting for him just to spite the team. I want JOba to succeed, but I’d rather he do it with the Yankees. I would rather see Joba stay with the Yankees in the bullpen than start with another team. Of course, i would rather he starts for the Yankees, but that’s not going to happen.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I don’t know why you can’t just hope he succeeds for his own sake, wherever he is, without having a desire to see the Yankees look foolish.

      I want the Yankees to win, I want Joba to do well. I agree, I want them to do that together. But I’m not going to actively root for him to go somewhere else just for my own spiteful reasons.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        “you” was not meant to imply “you, jjyank”, btw. Since clearly I agree with your sentiments.

        • jjyank says:

          It’s cool, I got ya.

          I don’t get it either. I don’t want the team to look foolish, because, you know, I like them. If my best friend makes a mistake, I don’t want him to look like an ass because of it. That just seems…well, for lack of a better term, like being a dick.

          • LK says:

            I don’t want the team to look foolish just for the sake of the team looking foolish. However, if Joba is successful starting somewhere else in 2014, that might make the team change their development program for pitchers, giving high-upside guys like Joba more opportunity to start before shifting to the bullpen. In this sense, I don’t think hoping the team “learns there lesson” so to speak is necessarily that spiteful. I’m hoping Joba succeeds as a starter elsewhere because I think there’s a good chance that’s the best thing for the Yankees long term – seeing with their own eyes that they gave up on him too soon.

            • LK says:

              learns *their* lesson

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              And that’s a perfectly valid reason, I can get behind that.

              But from the open thread last night, there were quite a few people who were using spite as their reason.


              That’s the reasoning I don’t understand. I don’t ever want the Yankees to look stupid, I’d rather they look smart and every decision turn out like roses.

              • jjyank says:

                Yeah, that’s what I was referring to. Learning lessons is great if that is the outcome. And if Joba does leave, I will be rooting for him to succeed. But that’s not what those comments seemed to convey.

              • LK says:

                Agreed. The best outcome here is probably that Joba actually isn’t medically able to hold up as a starter, since that means the team’s decision-making is sound. Even in that case I still would prefer them to have rolled the dice though; pitcher health is a tough thing to try to predict.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  I’m torn because I wish the best for Joba, and it would suck for him to be medically unable to start.

                  • LK says:

                    Yeah that’s why the “learn their lesson” outcome is what I’m hoping for most, even if the team’s competence appears to be greatest if Joba can’t start.

            • Virginia Yankee says:

              I’d agree it would be good for the team to learn a lesson from this if that’s what is needed. However, I think that Betances is a good example of the team waiting on a guy with high upside, even despite him showing that it may not pay off.

              I suppose the lesson they could stand to learn is that patience with a guy on the big league team can pay dividends in the long run. This is true of pitchers and position players.

              • LK says:

                Betances is a good example of them showing patience. It’s a different animal at the MLB level though. They do seem to be exhibiting it with Nova, which is good to see even if his ceiling isn’t close to what Joba’s was.

            • Bo Knows says:

              What people need to also take into account is that this was the first time in almost a decade that the Yankees were going to actually try and develop their own pitchers. Anytime someone does something new, there are going to be a lot of mistakes, unfortunately these are humans and not machines so its going be painful. I know the Yankees made mistakes with the original 3, but I feel that if they didn’t make those fuckups they wouldn’t have learned to be more patient, to wait to the last moment before giving up on a guy being a starter. If the errors they did with Joba, leads to even a slight improvement with how the organization deals with its pitchers (and I think it has helped them quite a bit, though the Yanks still suck at developing starters) then its just a tragic sacrifice that’s got to happen.

              I never had a problem with Joba being in the pen btw, I preferred him in the pen actually.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        I don’t know why you can’t just hope he succeeds for his own sake, wherever he is, without having a desire to see the Yankees look foolish.


        Because they were wrong and have basically mocked the idea of him starting again. So yes I want them to look like fools. Besides him succeeding won’t affect them from winning.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          So then I agree with jjyank, you sound like a dick.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            I’m not exactly high on what jj has to say ever since his you know you live in the ghetto post from a few days ago.

            How do I sound like a dick?? I’m not rooting for the team to lose or finish last.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              You can read the discussion above if you want to know why.

              You are flat out saying you would rather the front office be wrong than right, so that you can laugh at them for being foolish. JJ’s analogy of a friend making a mistake is perfect here.

              • The Big City of Dreams says:

                How is it perfect?? JJ and his friend have a bond. What’s the bond between Joba and the Yankees? The mocked the idea of starting and won’t even entertain the thought of him doing it despite his desire to do so. Hell even when they were spots open they laughed and shot it down.

                • jjyank says:

                  The bond isn’t between Joba and the Yankees, it’s between me as a fan and the Yankees.

                  I’ve been a Yankee fan my whole life, and baseball is far and away my favorite sport. So yes, I have a bond with the team. That’s why I’m still a Yankee fan even after I moved out of the area. I don’t relish in watching them look foolish any more than I would a friend of mine.

                  • Jim Is Bored says:


                  • The Big City of Dreams says:

                    But them looking foolish on Joba is not a bad thing. You’re tooting for them to lose to get the number 1 pick. There are fans out there hoping for that to happen.

                    • jjyank says:

                      “You’re tooting for them to lose to get the number 1 pick. There are fans out there hoping for that to happen.”

                      No idea what you’re trying to say here.

                      It may not be a bad thing if they learn a lesson on pitcher development, but that’s not a sure thing. They may not learn the lesson, or maybe there is no lesson to be learned. The difference between you and me, is that you seem to relish in the idea of making the team look stupid. I do not.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      There is far too much tooting going on in here. There might be ladies present.

                    • The Big City of Dreams says:

                      I type way too fast. I apologize for the typos.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  Yeah, don’t exaggerate to make a point.

                  Show me where they “laughed”.

                  I’ll wait.

                  • The Big City of Dreams says:

                    So out of all of that you pulled out the laugh point while ignore the main point which is them shooting it down.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      No, but shooting it down for valid reasons is incredibly different than shooting it down and laughing.

                      They absolutely have refused to let him start again. But they haven’t laughed at him.

                      I was arguing with the point I disagreed with. Pretty standard practice.

            • jjyank says:

              I didn’t realize making light of my own living arrangements would offend you. Sorry I guess?

              • The Big City of Dreams says:

                I didn’t take it as you making fun of your own arrangements. I took it as you making fun of the place and the ppl that live there.

                • jjyank says:

                  Well then you misinterpreted me. I found it amusing that a kid made a comment about me looking like a cop, presumably just because I’m white. I get funny looks all the time. Not making fun of anything, just stating a fact.

                  You don’t have to find the interaction funny, but don’t get all offended about relaying a anecdote that I found amusing in an open thread several days ago.

                  • The Big City of Dreams says:

                    Maybe it came across wrong in written form. But if I showed that to a number of ppl I doubt they would say he’s making from of his living arrangements. It didn’t come off that way

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Almost everyone else here interpreted it how he intended.

                    • jjyank says:

                      Well considering that I never implied any form of insults about the area or the kid who made the comment, I’m not sure who (besides you, apparently) would take that as me making fun of them. I live in a not-so-nice area because I can’t afford anything else at the moment. Considering this is my first foray into the non-upper middle class, I’m not used to comments like that, and I found it funny. That’s all. You’ve read waaay too much into a simple anecdote that I found amusing. And bringing it up here in an apparent attempt to discredit my opinion on the Yankees comes across as petty, in my opinion.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      I’ll put it out there – I understand why some may be offended by the use of the word “ghetto.” That’s what jjyank chose. He doesn’t claim to be a perfect human being, and I perfectly understood the connotation of what he was trying to poke fun at, as it’s happened to me before, even if I would have chosen a different word.

                      Part of getting beyond things like this involves not bludgeoning someone when they accidentally may offend.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      I think bringing up race at all is a sensitive subject that can easily get misconstrued. I gave my own story under JJ’s but you are right that this is probably not the forum for that kind of stuff.

                    • jjyank says:

                      This is all pretty stupid anyway. If he doesn’t like the word “ghetto”, that’s fine. I didn’t make fun anywhere or anyone. Just thought it was funny that a kid made a comment about me being a cop. End of story. Bringing it up in this thread is worse than me saying the word “ghetto” in an open thread, in my opinion.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      No. I think this forum’s like any other human interaction. We don’t know each other’s soft spots and, sometimes, we hit them. In any interaction, when context is often lost, then someone’s intentions can be misinterpreted.

                      I’ve spent the majority of my career working in inner city neighborhoods. I can absolutely relate to what jjyank was talking about, and have been able to make light of some of it with my co-workers, who may or may not be of color. We understand the context of it all, and we understand that we are not free of bias – we all have our limitations.

                      I’ll stop before I turn this into a seminar on anti-racism.

                    • Mike HC says:

                      I agree with that Robinson. Good points.

                    • The Big City of Dreams says:

                      I didn’t bludgeon him I just brought it up maybe I should have waited until an open thread.

                    • The Big City of Dreams says:

                      It’s not about not liking the word ghetto it’s how the whole thing came across to me.

                    • Robinson Tilapia says:

                      If you’re truly offended, you have the right to bring it up whenever you want to.

                      However, it’s not fair to anyone involved that this is brought up within the context of being peeved during a Joba thread.

                      Let’s just please all drop this. No one is coming away any better for it.

                  • MannyGeee says:

                    In fairness jj, your face just SCREAMS “narc”… jus sayin

        • ClusterDuck says:

          It’s not clear if they mocked the idea of Joba “starting again” or if they mocked the idea of Joba starting this year.

          I would certainly hope that it was the latter and not the former.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      , I’m really not understanding the attitude that some have about rooting for him just to spite the team

      Because those that restrained him to the pen would look like fools for being wrong. They get pats on the back for passing on guys that fail somewhere so why not the other way. So yes I’m openly rooting for him to go somewhere else and make them look like they missed the boat.

  17. mike says:

    as much as i hate to discuss this again – the fact the Yanks:

    1. were held hostage to give CC more years /$
    2. hoping and praying 38 y/o Kuroda would come back and be effective after career-high innings
    3. hope Hughes and Nova can be league-average starters
    4. lured Andy out of retirement as a 40 y/o
    5. have a bazillion holes in theirstaff next year
    6. fewer and fewer FA options

    It hurts my brain that Cashman isnt taking every chance to have Joba (and everyone else) train as a starter, where its clear they would be taking only from a strength (the pen) which historically can be moulded with FA and fill-ins as the year goes on.

    This must go deeper than we know – and with him one year from FA i dont see why Cashman would care about trying it out – especially since if he were another teams FA after this year we would all be clamoring to sing him and give him a shot???

    Cashmans only defense will be if no one signs Joba as a starter next year after seeing his medicals

    • MannyGeee says:

      I am almost positive that the Brass feels that Joba doesn’t carry the “make-up” that they expect from one of their boys. The consistent concern for his lack of fitness, the DUI, the ankle… All of these things have seemingly hung over Joba more than I feel they would have should it have been someone else.

      That might be speculation or bias, but I have always felt he never got a fair shake personally, which translated to professionally.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        And this from the team that had no problem with David Wells.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          True but different time and ownership.

          • MannyGeee says:

            This. There have been a lot of shitheads to come through those doors, but over the past few seasons it seems like make up is more important that raw ability.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              I didn’t mean to imply any logical inconsistencies.

              It’s just funny because this franchise in the past hasn’t been the beacon of good character, so it’s definitely a change.

              • The Big City of Dreams says:

                Yes it is funny. I definitely think they are looking for a certain type of player whether it’s in the draft or on the FA market. I’m not saying they’ll pass on a Harper if he ever hits the market but I think there are some players they will pass on if they don’t fit into what they are looking for in a player.

    • TomG says:

      I hear you about the medicals, but Joba obviously wants to start. He’d be more valuable as a league average starter even if his arm fell off after half a season than he is pitching middle relief. Cashman knows all the jerking around and lack of minor league innings cost Joba in terms of development, and he’s just been trying to cover his ass for the past few years.

  18. A.D. says:

    Can’t blame him, if I were him I’d want to start, and if I were a GM, especially for a mid-tier team, I’d 100% give him the chance to start fairly little to lose as you can always move him to the pen

  19. TomG says:

    Cashman’s reaction to the quote might be what bothers me the most. The guy actually does have some questions to answer about how they chose the role for Joba. They ended up with 120-something middle-relief innings from him, which would be pretty easy to replace with the Cory Wades of the world. Why didn’t they just trade him and get something more valuable than 120-something middle-relief innings back in 2009?

    Joba’s going to end up making a lot less money in his career than he could have on another team, and he’s been pretty gracious about it IMO. But you better believe he’ll be out of here the first chance he gets.

  20. MannyGeee says:

    and its a goddam shame that with Andy and Hirok! seemingly retiring this season, Pineda/Banuelos/Betances anything but sure things, Hughes getting his pay-day and the questions surrounding Nova/Phelps…

    This seems like the PERFECT opportunity (again) to make the switch.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      I mean honestly, what do they have to lose? I’d take the downgrade from an A- reliever to a B- reliever if the loss meant the opportunity to gain a B starter.

    • Manny's BanWagon says:

      Exactly. I see no reason why the Yankees couldn’t sign him to a 2/$10 million after the season with a promise to give him a chance to start.

      With Nova and Phelps battling for the 5th spot, it’s not like he’d have to compete with Koufax and Gibson.

      • Mike HC says:

        Why would Joba trust the Yanks to give him a real shot though? If I really wanted to start, I would be gone if I were him unless Yanks offered the most money. He is such a fan favorite though that could be the only thing keeping him in NY.

    • Larry B. says:

      Yeah averaged out in the long run Hughes has put up about the same #’s Joba did as a starter. Maybe Hughes’ are a smidge better but not much by any means. Hughes high points as a starter have been better but he’s also had a larger sample size. Now I don’t personally think Joba will ever be a big time starter. He’s at his best in attack mode and seems to lack some of the finer mental points needed to be a top starter. I think he could be an elite closer best case scenario.

  21. Gonzo says:

    I could see the Cubs having a decent shot at Joba. They did a decent job of converting Shark back to a starting role and Theo is always looking for a value.

  22. TN says:

    He has Cardinals written all over him.

  23. Another really long name which has no point (formerly "an important / cool name") says:

    I have a feeling he will start next year for a mid level team and will go 14-8 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. Then we will all complain about how poorly the Yankees treated him and pine for him back. Meanwhile the Yanks will have Hughes and will probably match Joba’s numbers.

    Imagine. 2 of the 3 “save the big 3″ guys do well, for other teams after we gave up on them…

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      If he has an ERA above 4 but a WHIP around 1, then he would have some kind of serious homer problems, or would just not be able to keep runs from scoring one inning and be dominant outside of that inning…

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      Also, I can’t help but think your name is a shot at my former names and all those that have followed my lead in changing their names while kindly informing other regulars of the transition.

  24. Larry B. says:

    I think Joba’s gonna have a good season. I know a lot of fans are down on him but the guy still has top stuff. He was brought up as a starter, can throw 4 pitches etc but I still think ultimately his mental makeup works better as a reliever. The Yankees seem to have Robinson lined up as the next closer so Joba would have to have a dominating season to throw himself back in the mix for that job. Let’s see if he can do that. Should be interesting.

  25. Larry B. says:

    Hughes was better out of the pen too. I don’t think he’ll ever be anything special as a starter. Just a solid 2-4 kind of guy. Maybe an all star or two. But he has more value as a starter and I don’t think Hughes has the makeup for a closer role. Relievers are a dime a dozen if they are not closers.

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      Even then, closers are a nickel a dozen. There’s a reason that there’s the fantasy rule “never pay for saves.” Every year there’s at least one or two guys who come out of nowhere to save 20-30 games and then slip back to obscurity.

      • Larry B. says:

        Your right but a really good one is hard to find. You can find a lot of guys who can do it for you for a year maybe two or three anything more than that is tough to find.

  26. Dalek Jeter says:

    This debate still infuriates me, even more so does the response from Cashman and Girardi. They act like he was given a legit chance and blew it, when really he preformed decently under conditions that make it difficult, if not downright impossible for him to succeed.

    • Mike HC says:

      I don’t know what Joba did to rub the Yankee brass the wrong way. Fans loved him, Yankees didn’t.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      This debate still infuriates me, even more so does the response from Cashman and Girardi


      That’s why I’m hoping he goes somewhere, succeeds, and rubs it in their face.

  27. voiceofirrationalrationale says:

    Joba, whether we agree/disagree on his place on a staff, will bring value to almost all MLB Teams. Obviously providing he’s healthy. Every team needs pitching, always. So this waiting until a player hits FA, can be dicey and costly. Would signing this guy now for reasonable dollars be the worst scenario ?

  28. Mike HC says:

    Joba was a case study on how to extract as little value as possible out of your cost controlled players.

  29. Larry B. says:

    I don’t envision him here long term. I think Joba can be a very good closer or a solid starter. Hopefully Yanks can trade him after he puts in good production. There is value there. It’s a shame Yankees kind of botched it. Also some bad luck/timing on JOba’s part definitely played a role.

    • Havok9120 says:

      If they’re getting good value from him during the season, I can’t see him getting traded. Unless you’re expecting a fire sale?

      • Larry B. says:

        No not expecting fire sale, but don’t picture him as part of future of this team. Depending on where they are at during season and if Joba is pitching well they might try to use some of that depth in the bullpen in a trade. Joba is still young but these next few years will really define where his career goes. You can’t blame him for wanting a shot at being a closer or starter. I don’t think Yanks would keep him around if they can’t fulfill that wish.

  30. Jim Is Bored says:

    It’s as if no other organization has ever poorly handled a prospect before.

    It sucks, I wish they’d given him an opportunity as a starter. But either the FO is a bunch of d-bags, or they had real reason to not put Joba back into the rotation. Whether that reason was justified or not, we’ll probably never know.

    I envision a parallel universe where they moved him into the rotation where he ended up getting hurt repeatedly while putting up mediocre numbers, and the masses wishing that they’d kept him in the pen because of how dominant he was in 07.

    • Mike HC says:

      I honestly think Joba’s attitude and mentality just clashed with the straight edge mentality of the Yankees. Joba is definitely a bit of a loose canon and the Yanks were not willing to give him an extended look when it didn’t go perfectly the first time. The easy decision was to just stick him in middle relief and call and not have to deal with it.

      • Mike HC says:

        *and call it a day

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        I don’t know, I can’t imagine the Yankees being that shallow.

        It’s always possible, but I would imagine a front office made up of more than one guy would be able to balance each other out and make rational decisions without resorting to pigeon-holing someone.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          True but we know Cashman has more than a say when it comes to the roles of players on the team. We also know he can be stubborn and we saw it both ways. When he wanted Joba to start he was firm in his stance but when he changed his name he was firm on that stance as well.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            Would you rather him be wishy washy? We get it, you hate Cashman.

            • The Big City of Dreams says:

              Hate Cashman no I don’t.

              I’d rather him just say you know we tried him as a starter. He made some mistakes….we made some mistakes and in the end we could have gotten more out of it but he’s focused on helping this club and we look forward to him being a key part of this team.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                That has nothing to do with his being firm in his stances. Nothing at all. You just criticized his being firm in his stances, and when I asked why, you responded to something completely unrelated.

                Let me ask clearer, I guess, since my original question wasn’t clear enough.

                Would you rather Cashman NOT be firm in his stances, when he believes something?

        • Mike HC says:

          I don’t necessary think it is shallow or irrational from their perspective. Like the Yankees drafting strategy of stressing intangibles and character over pure talent, they did the same with Joba. He clearly has the pure talent, so I think they didn’t like his character and work ethic. Just looking at Girardi and Cash’s reaction to Joba’s comments, they basically mock him and don’t take him seriously.

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            But pigeon holing him to middle relief is shallow in that it ignores the potential he can add elsewhere. It’s letting emotion get in the way of rational decision making.

            • Mike HC says:

              I think those reasons made them truly believe he was best suited for middle relief, or relief in general. I don’t think they would be opposed to using him as closer or set up man.

              Do you think the Yanks public drafting strategy of stressing make up and character is shallow and emotional?

              • Dalek Jeter says:

                No, but I personally think it would be shallow if they limited a guys role when his talent says he can be a starter because he’s not a stand up guy. I would understand not signing him, but if he’s on the team already, you should try to maximize your return on him.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  Yeah, this.

                • Mike HC says:

                  Maybe I’m not being that clear here. I think that while the Yanks though his talent was starter level, his work ethic and attitude was not starter level. There is more responsibility in being a starter that the Yanks thought Joba could not handle.

                  The decision was honestly based on where they thought Joba would be best. But the factors in making that decision had more to do with make up and work ethic than talent.

                  • Dalek Jeter says:

                    Okay, that is a fair point, still either way I don’t think he was ever given a “fair shot” to prove that he did have the mental make up, or work ethic, or attitude, to be a starter. The year they “gave him his shot,” in the second half he was skipped over and held to strict pitch counts of ridiculous numbers (like 50-60), while not on a normal schedule. It’s hard to show you have the make up and work ethic to be a starter if you’re not treated as a starter.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            I don’t necessary think it is shallow or irrational from their perspective. Like the Yankees drafting strategy of stressing intangibles and character over pure talent,


            So that’s why the over reached and drafted Culver

  31. Gonzo says:

    Do you guys think there is something other than the “his stuff plays up better” or “relief mentality” in the decision making process to keep him in the pen?

    If there is, do you think that’ll it come to light if he succeeds as a starter somewhere else?

    • Mike HC says:

      I think it had to do with concern that his arm couldn’t hold up for 200 innings, they didn’t like his work ethic and relief mentality.

      • Gonzo says:

        If he succeeds as a starter elsewhere, do you think they will come out and say it’s because they had concerns about his arm pitching 200 ip?

  32. Larry B. says:

    Even when he has started his approach the way he goes at hitters is more in line with that of a reliever. He has struggled making use of all his pitches. Not to say he couldn’t put it all together eventually. The guy is still young. The Yankees don’t seem interested in developing him further as starter though, that much is for sure.

  33. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Tried posting from my phone earlier – guess it never made it.

    Anyways, this isn’t complicated: He has the season of his life, this all will work itself out, one way or another. I’d love for it to be crystal clear by the end of the season that he could be the next great Yankee closer for the next 15 years.

    I don’t subscribe to this “wasted years” mentality with Joba, or even Phil Hughes. He’s had injuries. He’s great moments. Both contributed to a championship and more than one solid shot at winning one. Joba was always a risky prospect from day one.

    Yes, I wish someone would have handed him the ball every five days for a bit longer. They had medicals, they made a decision, and who the hell am I to second-guess that from my PC chair. Time will tell whether they were right or wrong there, if that ever even presents itself.

  34. ClusterDuck says:

    If Joba can dominate this year in his 7th/8th/Mo_Backup roles this year then the Yanks would probably offer him the 2014 closer role. Would Joba sign up for that role? …TBD.

    If Joba has an ok 2013 then I’m sure he will want to sign for 2014 somewhere where he can start.

    About what Joba said, let’s be clear. Joba was asked about his “ultimate aspirations”. Joba did just initiate his comments.

  35. mt says:

    Anything can happen but how does Joba skip over Robertson in consideration for closer of the future? Robertson will pitch more high leverage innings than Joba this year (barring injury) – I don’t see Yanks offering Joba the closer job just because he is a free agent next year while Robertson will be in third year arbitration next year.

    I also starting just do not see the scenario where he becomes a starter with Yanks (if you were Joba would you trust Yanks saying as part of their free agency pitch to him that he will be allowed to compete for a starting spot next year – he probably will think he will lose the competition and get shunted back to set-up duty in bullpen). It is more likely he could be “offered” closer job by Yanks but even that it hard to imagine without competition (which means he could lose teh competition).

    I can see another team giving him more of a guarantee of a starting job or even if he has to compete for a starting job with another team, he may feel that he has a more open shot because he may feel more good faith from manager/GM.

    I am not the hugest Joba fan but those comments from Girardi and Cashman were unnecessarily dismissive. There was no reason for them to be so sarcastic (what does CF or catcher have to do with it – could have just answered “team needs Joba to be lights out in bullpen this year”) – these unnecessary coments from the same people who on the other hand tiptoed gingerly around the Granderson move to left field even though everyone knows Gardner is better in field. We do not have all the medical information they do but as has been pointed out Joba had performed better in his starts than Nova has to date and Nova is still getting chances – not to mention up and down Hughes.

    The only thing I can think of is that there is some medical concern with his starting that has been discussed with Joba and they clearly are not thrilled that he is acting like this is still an open issue.

    • Larry B. says:

      I think best case scenario for Joba would have to involve Robertson underperforming somehow. It’s clear to me both Cashman and Girardi are higher on him than Joba for that future closer role. Also I agree wholeheartedly with you about Cash and Girardi’s sarcasm, they overdid it and kind of rubbed it in his face. Not necessary.

  36. MannyGeee says:

    OK boys, get ready for my realization… Regardless of how the Joba experiment played out, the truth of the matter is he was gone this year anyhow on account of the 189…

    We know how the story is laid out today, but if we go back and imagine his life as a starter, he would have priced himself out of the plans for this team much like Granderson and Hughes have anyhow.


  37. Now Batting says:

    I want Joba to succeed as a starting pitcher. I’ve been arguing it for years. I want to be able to say I told you so.

  38. MartinRanger says:

    As you guys know, I was high on Morse, so I’m really torn. Actually, I was pissed until I saw the latest evidence that Jack Z is a desperate.moron. If the Yankees had a Jaso, I would not trade him for Morse.

    Still, I’m really alarmed by how weak our lineup is against lefties. And the
    I general lack of power. We’ll need the O’s luck in one-run games for parts of this year. And with injuries inevitable this doesn’t look like lmore than an 87-88 win team.

    A this point, I have to conclude that, for some undisclosed medical reason, the entirety or vast majority of the Yankee braintrust, including Brian Cashman, are near-on certain that Joba physically cannot stand up to the strain of being a starting pitcher.

    I have absolutely no idea if they are right. But their refusal to consider the issue suggests they have a reason for thinking it will end badly, and are sure he is better used as a bullpen piece.

  39. MartinRanger says:

    At this point, I have to conclude that, for some undisclosed medical reason, the entirety or vast majority of the Yankee braintrust, including Brian Cashman, are near-on certain that Joba physically cannot stand up to the strain of being a starting pitcher.

    I have absolutely no idea if they are right. But their refusal to consider the issue suggests they have a reason for thinking it will end badly, and are sure he is better used as a bullpen piece.

  40. tyrone sharpton says:

    yanquis know something we don’t. it’ll come to light in free agency. either that, or he’ll dominate the nl and make a lotta yankee fans upset

    • V says:

      What about Yankees management has given us any trust in their ability to manage prospects?

      Go F yourself, Cashman. I can’t wait til we have a real GM.

      • JobaWockeeZ says:

        Shit you’re alive? Regardless I always find it amusing when people have their verbal attacks at an analyst if they don’t have the Yankees farm in the top 10 every year.

        And God forbid you say the farm had a “down year.” Now for all the energy wasted on arguing if the Yankees system is elite, it really means nothing when we’ve extracted little value form it from the other elite farms out there.

        Our best successes come from the reliever side of things and most smart teams do that regularly. I hope we actually have a development plan this time around.

  41. MartinRanger says:

    Ack sorry about the double post. Damned phone.

  42. I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

    He’ll sign with Seattle and I will weep watching him pitch to Montero. Assuming he’s not in the OF of course.

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