Joel Sherman says Joba Chamberlain has won the all-important 8th inning role. Phil Hughes is left to pitch the irrelevant early innings.
h/t to Bronx Banter
by Nick-YF on March 24, 2010 at 11:32 am in
General Yankees · 29 comments
Slavishly sticking to the five-starter form is all wrong. Should be a Zen thing, like how many babies fit in a tire.
attackgerbil March 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm
Wrong decision, and I don’t support it. Hughes has never, ever had sustained success at any point in time in the rotation. Joba has, in two consecutive years. Also, Hughes has most recently been very successful in the bullpen. Joba has been less so.
But I suppose the good thing about this is that even the wrong decision is not so bad. Hughes certainly has the capability to excel in this role, and the expected numbers this year between the two do not differ so much.
And like the old saying goes…any team in the majors would love to have this problem.
But I hope the quote about ‘looking at 2011 too’ means that this doesn’t spell the end for Joba the starter. And knowing Cashman, and knowing that he’s a pretty smart fella, it almost certainly doesn’t.
AndrewYF March 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm
First the Health Care bill is passed and now Joba in the pen for good??? What’s next, another Duke Championship???
Color me happy!!!
krueg March 24, 2010 at 3:38 pm
I’m with you Andrew. It’s not the right decision. They basically wasted two years of development from Joba all so he could become a reliever? Worse, he’s gotten exactly 1 start in his life in AAA, and 7 in AA, and yet he still showed he could be a dominant MLB starter at times and an average starter most of the time (when they weren’t messing with his innings).
If they don’t think Joba can start now they should send him to AAA to work on his secondary pitches. Or they should trade him.
Paul from Waltham March 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Joba in the bullpen is an utter waste. As a starter?
221 IP, 4.18 ERA, 206 K, 101 BB
That’s pretty darn good for a guy who got all of 15 games as a starter in the minors – for his career! And all at the age of 21.
I really, really hope the Yankees aren’t as dumb as Francesa. Send him to the minors if they don’t think he’s ready.
We’ll see. Sherman jumps to concluding that Joba is a reliever. If he’s right, then the Yankees are very, very wrong.
Paul from Waltham March 24, 2010 at 3:52 pm
I guess I’m dumb too then…
krueg March 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm
As a Red Sox fan, I’m reasonably happy with this move. The only thing better would be if they put both Hughes and Joba in the pen and started either Aceves or Mitre.
Fangraphs has Joba being worth less than 1 WAR in his stellar 2007 debut. Give him 80 innings, and he’d be just shy of 2.5 WAR — or right around where he was projected to sit in 2010 as a starter. And that assumes a 0.38 ERA in those 80 innings. Hard to see the benefit here for the Yankees. So, yeah, I’m happy.
Paul SF March 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm
I’ve heard much more from Francesa to know what an idiot he truly is. How about on this topic I just think you’re wrong? :)
Paul from Waltham March 24, 2010 at 5:10 pm
I’m sorry, it actually assumes a 1.82 FIP for the full season, which is still absurdly low and not something you can legitimately project for any pitcher.
Paul SF March 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm
I still don’t buy this. Sherman doesn’t offer any evidence for his claim, except to say “I think this is what’s going to happen”.
If this really is the Yankees’ final decision, then it’s entirely baffling to me. It’s knee-jerk, reactionary, short-term thinking that will absolutely bite them.
After all, there’s no way Hughes is as good as a starter this year as he was in the bullpen last year. He’s a kid still learning to pitch in the AL East, he’s not going to be sporting a 1.40 ERA. So when he inevitably struggles in the transition, as he inevitably will because every young pitcher does, what happens in 2011? Does everybody shout that Hughes is obviously a better reliever than starter?
I just don’t get it. Spending 3 years getting Joba ready for a full season without innings limits, and then reversing course at the last minute because Hughes turned out to be a great reliever is baffling.
Hughes’ development won’t be hurt by starting him off in AAA this year–he can spot start if necessary, or have another late-season run in the bullpen, and still be ready to start next year. Putting Joba in the bullpen now essentially gives up on him as a starter before he had the chance to show what he can do. Putting him in AAA isn’t going to help him do anything but log innings, which is what they’ve spent 3 years doing for him. He needs to pitch in the ML to improve at this point.
I just don’t get it. But then, I think Sherman’s article is just more conjecture, so I still have hope for the Yankees brass.
Shave Those Sideburns March 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm
Exactly. I think Sherman is full of shit. He may be right on Hughes, but then I don’t think they’re just going to francesa Joba and for exactly the reasons the other Paul is so happy about. Fangraphs for Joba in 2010 also has him at a 2.4 WAR in only 157 innings and from a 4.00 ERA. He’s simply much more valuable as a starter. The Yankees can’t be so dumb as to not see this, can they?
I disagree on Joba in AAA. He’s had one start there in his career and 7 in AA – all when he was 21. He still has stuff to learn and as a starter. If they push him there, it will exactly be under the pretense of the future. That I could see. Joba as a reliever I can not. They can sell AAA and be consistent with the Joba Rules plan. Putting him in the bullpen basically means they admit they made a big mistake. When’s the last time Cashman admitted a big mistake?
The only problem with the AAA outcome is if the bullpen struggles out of the gate. But they’ll also have a few good AAA bullpen arms they could try before they break the glass on Joba. And that assumes no starter gets hurt. The more I think about it, the more I really think Sherman is full of shit. The Yankees can really claim Joba never got a great chance to develop as a starter. In contrast to Joba’s 15 games, Hughes started 62 games in the minors.
Paul from Waltham March 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm
I’m just giving you a hard time Paulie…(Paul SF is Paul, you are Paulie…)
I have always wanted Joba in the pen. I see him as the heir apparent to Mo. Mo isn’t going to be around forever, as much as we all wish he could be…
I just think that he looks like a different pitcher coming out of the pen, well, that seems fairly obvious at that point. I’m hoping he can continue that and be our closer once Mo hangs ‘em up! That’s my take. We can rape the free agent market for starters at any time anyway!!! ;)
krueg March 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm
You can call me St. Paul ;0
As much as I’d love to see Cliff Lee AND Beckett in next year’s rotation, I think it’s a waste of resources. The Yankees need to prove they can develop starters, and they have two right now that who could be excellent and cheap. Plus, the budget for next year is already $130 million and that’s before Jeter ($20M) and Mo ($15M) re-sign and without raises already in existing contracts. They’re looking at $180 million before re-signing anyone else – Vazquez and Pettitte included. If you believe this year’s budget, that means they have room for one big free agent, Pettitte AND Vazquez – maybe, or a bunch of spare parts but no stars.
“he looks like a different pitcher coming out of the pen”
How did he “look” coming out of the All-Star break last year and before the innings limits?
Don’t worry – here’s the answer:
3-0, 21.6 IP, 2 ER, 8 BB, 19 K
Relievers are always failed starters – even Mo – for a reason. Joba hasn’t failed yet.
The other problem with Sherman’s BS? What happens if Hughes or Burnett or Pettitte get hurt. They would seriously go with Mitre or Aceves when Joba is ready to pitch 200 innings this year? That makes no fucking sense. Sherman is a piece of shit whose words aren’t worth the rag they’re written on.
Paul from Waltham March 24, 2010 at 10:54 pm
I don’t think that Joba’s “failed” as a starter, I just think he would be a better closer than starter. No rowdy stats to back it up, just after watching him in both roles, he seems better suited as a bullpen guy and HOPEFULLY our next Mo…
Bottom line? We’ll see St. Paul, we’ll see…
krueg March 24, 2010 at 10:59 pm
But, if he’s not a failed starter then he can have much more value as a starter. David Robertson or Mark Melancon could be Mo’s replacement. They are failed starters.
Or, they can pay Papelbon to be the next Mo. :)
Paul from Waltham March 24, 2010 at 11:49 pm
Agree to disagree homeboy…agree to disagree.
Oh, and if we sign Papel-douche next year, I will lose it. No thanks. (no offense SF brethren!)
krueg March 25, 2010 at 10:18 am
Well, one of them had to be in the pen – right now they have great depth at starting pitcher. Given what we’ve seen of both their careers to this point, I don’t think one is clearly the correct choice over the other, so going by how they’re performing in spring training seems fine to me. And it’s not like it’s Sophie’s Choice or anything – you can always move Hughes back to the pen 0 which they will probably do at some point even if he is successful, because there is no way they’re letting him get close to 200 innings this year – I am betting they will cap him at about 160.
And IMO this is way too early to call. They’re not giving up on either one as a starter (which would be ridiculous since one is 23 and one is 24, and 2 of their current starters are FAs next year). I am betting Joba will get his chances to start this year, and probably again next year.
Mark (YF) March 25, 2010 at 11:15 am
Well, all signs are pointing to Boone Logan as the last bullpen arm. So Joba might just be headed to Scranton after all. If so, I’d heartily endorse it. They never gave him a chance to develop as a starter. Last year he was just finding his form before they messed with his head.
Paul from Waltham March 25, 2010 at 11:22 am
“Hard to see the benefit here for the Yankees.”
Wow no faith at all in Hughes. For some reason, I trust Girardi on this one. We’ll see how Hughes does but he could easily be an above average 5th starter which is all he is being asked to do.
sam-YF March 25, 2010 at 11:49 am
I’ve been one of those screaming for this move for the past two years. Joba simply looks lost as a starter. He’s tentative. He doesn’t challenge hitters. Completely different story when he’s coming out of the pen. Besides, both he and Hughes came into this spring realizing the competition was on, and what was expected of them to win the 5 spot. Hughes prepped and delivered, Joba partied all off-season and came in out of shape. That probably says more about metal make-up and maturity than anything else.
Rrothfeldt March 25, 2010 at 12:02 pm
“Wow no faith at all in Hughes.”
That was a Sox fan saying that. I have a ton of faith in Hughes. I think he’ll be a fine starter.
“Joba simply looks lost as a starter.”
You mean like after the All-Star break last year? Or when he out-pitched Beckett in 2008? Hughes was even better than Joba in the pen. I bet CC would be a great reliever too.
Here’s a question: Of his professional career, how many years has Joba been exclusively a starter?
Paul from Waltham March 25, 2010 at 12:11 pm
This is what we know for a fact:
The Yankees feel that Hughes will be better as a starter than Joba in 2010.
That’s fine, and they certainly know more than any of us.
However, the only way this makes sense, given the FO’s ‘look to the future’ mantra, is if the Yankees feel that Joba can still work a full starter’s load in 2011 even if he works in the bullpen for 2010.
I guess I should say the only way it doesn’t make sense is if the Yankees have suddenly ended Joba’s career as a starter. However, nothing I’ve read from anyone who’s actually in the know seem to suggest this.
So, I’m not too upset if the Yankees are making this move 1) because they feel they’ll get better results from Hughes this year, and 2) they want both Hughes and Joba to be able to work full starter loads in 2011.
That said, I still think the correct move in this situation is to send Joba to AAA to keep him stretched out in case they need a starter. Simply because the difference between bullpen Joba and say, Robertson is likely much smaller than the difference between starter Joba and starter Mitre. The Yankees, just like every team in the majors, are going to be using more than 5 starters this season. They would have a massive advantage over pretty much every team in having Joba be that 6th starter, rather than Mitre or Aceves.
AndrewYF March 25, 2010 at 1:25 pm
Hughes has always had the most potential, but the Joba Rules of last year look like a waste now. I guess one of the old guys could get hurt or struggle mightily and we’ll have another good starter in the waiting.
Too much is made of the lost velocity on Joba between being a starter and a reliever. That’s a pretty universal trend for pitchers, and as Paul from Waltham pointed out, Joba’s numbers as a starter have been good considering the many factors (constantly being shuffled in and out of roles, pitching in the AL East, being so young, being given a short leash for when he struggles).
DustyDrB - YF March 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm
On the heels an Andrew’s well said post…OK, so if they want to try and make him a starter again next year, fine. That being said, I’m glad he’ll be coming out of the pen this season because as we all saw last year, having a shut down pen is HUGE. One or both of Phranchise and Joba out of the pen weakens it. I don’t understand why that point isn’t discussed more? I mean, we won games with Gaudin and MEE-tre starting because of our sick bullpen.
That and we can just grab Cliff Lee next year with Crawford anyway… ;)
krueg March 25, 2010 at 2:14 pm
I know I’m repeating myself here, but it’s not said enough that Joba was never given a chance to develop as a starter. He went straight from AA to the majors without missing a beat. Then to pile up the numbers he has is pretty sick. He’s been frustrating at times as a starter, but every young pitcher is, including Felix Hernandez and Roger Clemens.
I’m skeptical on them shifting a young pitcher back to the rotation after starting them in the pen. They had a perfect chance last year with Hughes and Wang and they didn’t take it. Joba, being able to throw 200 innings this year, should throw 200 innings this year. He never has and he’s never been given the chance to start every five days all season. Hughes had almost two seasons like that.
“That and we can just grab Cliff Lee next year with Crawford anyway… ;)”
I like Lee, especially after his coolness in the Serious, but…
1) They’ll only be able to afford one big contract
2) Crawford’s career OBP is pretty bad. He’s going to decline quickly and for 1/10 price, Gardner is 7/8ths the player.
Paul from Waltham March 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm
Horrible. It’s time to trade Joba. They could have gotten Halladay for him, and now he’s going to be a middle reliever. Sweet. Awful, awful decision making. Combine that with Gaudin’s release (a week before they had to) and the 6th pitcher is now Mitre.
Here’s a fun factoid: More Yankee prospects will be starters for other teams this year than will be for the Yankees.
There are dumb decisions, and there are DUMB decisions. One injury and we get two months of Mitre.
Paul from Waltham March 25, 2010 at 10:45 pm
Easy St. Paul…it’s all good. We are the Champs and primed for another run. Is it really worth getting too mad about it? Not to mention I just read today that Joe said that they still can see Joba as a starter at some point. Hell, he could end up starting due to injuries at some point this year. Seems to me that having too many starters is a good problem to have?
P.S. I have a man-crush of Crawford after watching him all the years I lived in Tampa…
krueg March 26, 2010 at 10:54 am
I want a championship every year. I can deal when injuries happen (2008). I can’t deal with poor planning when injuries happen. If I see Mitre for more than a spot start here and there, my head will explode since it will mean they’re leaving Joba in the pen. There’s no excuse for that.
As for Crawford, look at his stats to help temper the love. He’s a fine player. He’s just not worth the big money contract he’ll get. I prefer Werth – better OBP, better SLG, and above average corner defense. Plus I look at him and see the real St. Paul…O’Neill.
Paul from Waltham March 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm
i want them both to start. given the likelihood that 1 of the front 4 goes down for extended time, that’s a possibility. given the innings issues, handing joba the job might have been the more statistically smart move, and it’s sad how much he’s bounced around (hughes too), but i’m glad to see hughes in the rotation, where he belongs. if he’s going to become the ace we all thought he could be, he needs to be learning how to be one in the rotation. so time to get that moving. he won the job. (barely) i just hope we don’t have mitre starting 22 games and joba staying in the pen for 2/3 of the season….
YF March 28, 2010 at 10:15 am
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