The function of this blog as it is envisioned by the writers is to bring some intelligent and informed analysis to the discourse on the New York Yankees. At times, that goal requires us to dispel some popularly held notions that are often affirmed by the writing of members of the local media. This often leads to acrimonious and critical posts written about the likes of George King, Anthony Rieber, and Wallace Matthews. However, there are times where we must give credit to those individuals, when they put forth a column so masterful that it approaches art. Wallace Matthews April Fools column on Joba Chamberlain is one of those articles, as he mocks the B-Jobbers by fitting all of their ridiculous points into one piece.
What’s that you say? It was not meant to be an April Fool’s column? It was not written in jest? That cannot be! No salaried writer could ever put forth such a pile of drivel and expect it to be taken seriously! Let’s look at part of the article, FJM style, so that you can judge for yourself:
The Yankees, who have an abundance of guys to start their games this year, think it’s a good idea to take the greatest two-inning pitcher since Mariano Rivera, circa 1996, and turn him into just another starter. I think they’re nuts.
Joba Chamberlain, in 49 relief appearances, has pitched 2 innings 9 times. There is no such role as “2 inning pitcher,” and to just assume that Joba would be used in that fashion is silly. Furthermore, the Yankees have no intention of turning Joba into just another starter. Rather, they are trying to turn him into an ace. If three seasons from now, he is just another guy holding down a rotation spot, I bet he replaces Mo in the pen.
The reality with starters is that they are six-inning pitchers on most days, seven- and eight-inning pitchers on their best days.
In four out of every five starts, they are going to need a guy to come charging out of that bullpen in the seventh inning to hold the game until the closer gets there.
Apparently the Yankees will be winning 4 out of every 5 games entering the 7th inning, and all 4 will be save situations. This sentence cannot be serious.
But Joba isn’t doing that anymore. Greater baseball minds than mine have analyzed this situation at great length and determined that Joba for the first six innings every five days is better than Joba out of the bullpen five times a week.
Joba is apparently going to be receiving a bionic arm, so that he can pitch two inning stints five times a week. Even one inning appearances would have that number totaling 130 IP over the season, which is 40 IP more than the highest total for a non-specialist reliever last season. He would be much more likely to get about 3-4 innings a week, spread over 3 appearances. (Oh, and the “greater baseball minds” bit provides an opportunity for shooting fish in a barrel that I will graciously let pass).
I say that’s like hiring Picasso to paint your garage door or asking Mozart to come up with a toothpaste jingle. Many can start; few can finish. Joba can finish. He was a great setup man, and someday he’ll be a great closer. Those commodities are a lot scarcer on the market than starting pitchers.
Ignoring the fact that Mozart’s music is used for commercials all the time, this is the portion of the column that clearly delineates it as an April Fool’s joke. If many can start and few can finish, why are average starters paid more than many top closers? Closers are scarcer than starting pitchers only because you need 5 starters and only one closer, such that players would be stupid to position themselves as closers unless they are limited by a lack of stamina or light repertoire of pitches. The relevant point here is that dominant starters are significantly more difficult to find than strong closers, and more importantly, are also significantly more valuable.
The rest of the article is pretty straightforward, so I am going to stop here. However, the quoted portions make you tip your cap to Matthews. It was a fine joke, good for many laughs, and I am sure that he enjoyed writing it. Nobody could be that thick-headed, right? Right?