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Joba Ranks
2008-05-23 07:00
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

That kid has one of the better arms in baseball," said former Braves and Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone. "If you have an arm like that, he shouldn't be a setup guy. Your setup guy doesn't do you any good if your starting pitchers can't get you to him."

..."I don't think the Yankees are risking injury by starting him," Mazzone said of Chamberlain. "I've always felt that if you have a regular time to pitch and programs to get the pitcher ready in between starts, it's easier to start than be in the bullpen."
(Anthony McCarron, N.Y. Daily News)

Pat Jordan likes to bust my chops about the Yankees, the team he grew up rooting for. He doesn't much like them much these days and never misses a chance to get under my skin when they are not playing well. His favorite rant this spring has been about Joba Chamberlain, about how the Yankees are wasting Chamberlain as a set-up man instead of using him as a starter. Well, that's one gripe Pat can't beat to death now that Chamberlain has officially begun the process of moving from the pen to the starting rotation.

In the Daily News, John Harper writes that this is a sign that, without conceeding anything yet, the Yankees are looking beyond this season to 2009. I agree. One thing that occured to me yesterday was how exciting it is going to be to watch this all unfold. To see Chamberlain pitch two, then three, four, five innings. I imagine his demeanor will change somewhat. All that fist-pumping is part of what comes with being a late-inning reliever, but I don't expect he'll do quite as much of as a starter--unless he gets out of a big jam in the sixth, seventh or eighth. Regardless, I'm goosed about the whole thing. Ain't you?

Comments
2008-05-23 08:13:20
1.   williamnyy23
I don't think you can say the Yankees are looking beyond this season with Chamberlain for this simple reason: if Chamberlain was starting instead of IPK or Hughes from Day 1, the Yankees would have 3 or 4 more wins. I don't think he has made that same contribution as a reliever.

The bottom line with Joba is he has an innings limit, so a hybrid role was a requirement, not a luxury. The Yankees weren't wrong to start him as a reliever, and they aren't wrong to make him a starter now. While I believe they would have kept him in the pen a lot longer if things were going well, they aren't, so what difference does it make.

2008-05-23 08:13:27
2.   williamnyy23
I don't think you can say the Yankees are looking beyond this season with Chamberlain for this simple reason: if Chamberlain was starting instead of IPK or Hughes from Day 1, the Yankees would have 3 or 4 more wins. I don't think he has made that same contribution as a reliever.

The bottom line with Joba is he has an innings limit, so a hybrid role was a requirement, not a luxury. The Yankees weren't wrong to start him as a reliever, and they aren't wrong to make him a starter now. While I believe they would have kept him in the pen a lot longer if things were going well, they aren't, so what difference does it make.

2008-05-23 08:26:27
3.   williamnyy23
By the way, for some interesting back story on that Earl Weaver rant that accidentally made it on the YES airwaves, check out this story:

http://tinyurl.com/5mv85h

2008-05-23 08:31:43
4.   Shaun P
I'm psyched that Joba's going to start. I'd be even more psyched if Saturday's game wasn't going to be blacked out on Extra Innings. Sigh.

I also notice that there is some concern over Johan's performance:

http://tinyurl.com/leg3x

2008-05-23 08:37:51
5.   horace-clarke-era
Oh, hell, agreeing with william against Alex? And John Harper (whomever that is.) Say it ain't so, OYF!

But I do ... as I posted earlier on the previous thread, Yankees are 5 back of Tampa Bay for wild card, and 2 1/2 back of the rest of a flounder-league. We have our MVP back, our near-MVP catcher perhaps returning in 2 weeks (if Jorge is toast, I withdraw my money). Cano really really ought to hit .300+ rest of the way so call him 'returning' as well.

I see no earthly reason to bail on 2008, ESPECIALLY when swinging Joba to the rotation was always the plan. Is it 2 weeks earlier? We can't know, given that (rightly) the team did NOT come forth with Joba Rules 2.0 this year.

I have always argued that this MAY be a transitional year in a variety of ways (new manager, kids maturing slowly, snaggle-toothed vets coming off the books, free agents not yet arrived) but it overstates the long-planned process with Joba to call it a pointing-to-2009.

a beer for william, who IS right once in a while!

2008-05-23 08:44:42
6.   RIYank
I'm sure Alex wasn't suggesting that the Yankees are bailing on this season by starting to move Joba into his divinely appointed role! It's just (if I may) that the impact this move will have on the long term is so huge, it makes the impact it will have on this season seem tiny.

It's pretty amazing to think about what the Yankees will look like in, say, two years. Aside from the Eternal Trinity, Chien-Ming Wang is going to be the old man of the squad. Of course, they're likely to spend the Giambi-Pavano-Damon windfall on at least one or two established stars, but we have no idea who those are so for now we can only imagine Jeter and Po and Mo sitting in their rocking chairs telling stories to the kids...

2008-05-23 08:57:56
7.   JL25and3
1 Yes, Harper misses the point. This move doesn't indicate a change in priorities, looking to next year rather than this one. In fact, that was the entire point of having Joba in the bullpen in the first place - putting his long-term development ahead of maximizing this year's wins.
2008-05-23 12:22:05
8.   Bagel Boy
I agree with Harper to an extent. The Yanks are looking to next year even while they aren't giving up anything on this year. Joba is going to help this year's club much more as a starter.

0 Call me excited as well!

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