IMPORTANT BLOG ANNOUNCEMENT

PLEASE CHANGE YOUR BOOKMARKS AND FEEDS TO THE NEW URL, YANKEEANALYSTS.COM. TYU IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH THE NEW YORK YANKEES OR YANKEES UNIVERSE.


As most who read here regularly know, I strongly believe that Joba Chamberlain should be the 5th starter. However, my stance on this issue has changed a bit over the last few days. What prompted that changed was my realization that two major elements of my argument for Joba were not entirely accurate or may not be true. This is what I said when I advocated for Joba:

Conversely, if Joba starts the season in the bullpen, he is unlikely to pitch enough innings to allow him to properly continue his development, even if he was returned to the rotation mid-season. He would likely finish with a maximum of 100-110 innings, and would almost certainly be on an innings limit in 2011, which leads me to my next point.

While this seems to make sense, it ignores the fact that some teams use a pitcher’s previous career high as the baseline when deciding innings limits. In fact, a few months ago, I surmised that the Yankees are one such club:

While the Yankees generally like to jump a player about 40 innings per year, there are two different baselines from which that 40 inning clock can start. The club can either consider the previous season’s total as the baseline, or use the pitcher’s career high. It seems clear that the Yankees are using the career high, as further evidenced by their treatment of Joba Chamberlain this year. They allowed him to pitch almost 160 innings this season, despite the fact that he had only thrown 100 innings the season before. Conversely, his career high was either 112 innings in 2007, or 118 IP for Nebraska in 2005.

If the Yankees do in fact use a player’s previous career high as the baseline, spending 2010 in the bullpen will not set Joba back in terms of his limits, it will simply maintain the statsu quo. This leads me to my second possibly mistaken assumption:

Depending on the performance and contract demands of Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez, the Yankees will be looking for anywhere from 1-3 starters next offseason. Having Joba Chamberlain established as a starter would go a long way towards allowing the Yankees to efficiently fill those empty slots. If the Yankees could have Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes providing quality innings at a low cost, it would allow them to invest in a player such as Cliff Lee. A rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Vazquez or Lee, Chamberlain, and Hughes (on an innings limit) would be expensive but dominant at the top and cost efficient and effective at the bottom.

This assumption was faulty in that it took for granted that having Joba in the rotation was the best option for 2011. However, if the Yankees use Joba’s previous career high as a baseline, this may not be the case. If Joba gets the 5th starter spot, he would be unfettered this year and next, while Hughes would be limited in 2011. Conversely, if Hughes gets the spot, he would be limited in 2010, but both pitchers would be unlimited in 2011. It seems that selecting Hughes may actually be better for 2011, at the slight expense of about 30 innings going to a Sergio Mitre type in 2010.

Taking everything I have said to this point as true, we come to the realization that the only thing really distinguishing between the two pitchers is talent. I happen to think Joba is more talented and would help the team more than Hughes would as a starter, and that is why I believe that the Yankees should give him every opportunity to succeed. However, Hughes does deserve a chance to show what he has as well, and I can understand if the club feels differently about their relative talents. Ultimately, this leads me to say the following:

I would be fine with Hughes winning the 5th spot, provided that

1) Joba will not be taking a step back in terms of innings limits, such that he will be unchained in 2011, AND

2a) Joba is then sent down to AAA (so that he can use all of his pitches) until the stretch run, OR

2b) Joba is put in the bullpen, but the club states very clearly that he will return to the rotation in 2011. Furthermore, the team must force him to utilize all of his pitches out of the bullpen, and should use him for multiple innings so that he accumulates as many innings as possible. It is not ideal, but it is forgivable.

The only unforgivable move would be to place Joba in the bullpen permanently on the strength of 2 months of poor pitching, but I will save that discussion for another time.

.

13 Responses to “Changing My Stance On Joba vs. Hughes”

  1. I’m going to be honest…if joba goes to the pen now…i fear he will never get out.

    Moreover…i don’t know how the yankees could say with any kind of certainty that Joba would return to the rotation in 2011. You don’t know what will become of Andy and Vazquez. What will become of the signing of FAs, injuries also have to be taken into account and if Hughes starts this whole season and is successful…it would be hard to give Joba a spot over him. So to want the yankees to come out say, “Joba is going to starter next year”, is very wishful thinking, IMO.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Joe O Reply:

    I agree, if Joba is in the pen he will likely never come out. Although I tend to feel the same way about Hughes – he seemed to take well to the 8th inning role and didn’t mind the idea of being a reliever so if he ends up in the Pen and is successful we may never see him start. I think the move of who gets the 5th starter role also takes into consideration who they view as a potential long-term releiver. Look Papelbon was a starter as well and we know how that turned out so it may not be a bad thing to have another potentially solid reliever get groomed by the best of all time.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Reggie C. Reply:

    If you listen to MSM (maint-stream media), Joba is destined for the pen, book closed. Good thing the front-office isn’t swayed by such rancor.

    Moshe, I really like this article. Great job. You got me thinking about my Joba’s – got-to-start mentality. If Joba can be afforded 25 triple-A starts, I think we’ll see an improved Joba for 2011. The ‘pen is strong enough with Park, Robertson, Marte, and Mo. Hell…Melancon should be improved too. Joba’s just got to get every-5th-day starts regardless what happens.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    James Reply:

    i’m going to tell you something, reggie..the fact that this was even a contest in the first place and joba probably isn’t the 5th starter makes me question the front office, to be perfectly honest.

    Why in the hell did they do all these “joba rules”, if once he’s done with them they won’t give him the chance to start a full season??  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Well, that’s up to the Yankees, isnt it? If they create an organizational plan, they can simply stick by it no matter how he performs in the pen.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Harry G Reply:

    The problem is, Mo, that the there’s almost no chance of Joba A) Going to AAA this season, or B) Returning to the rotation next year if he’s in the pen this year.
    When Joel Sherman or Heyman is telling you that Hughes will be the starter before Girardi made the announcment based on sources within the organization leaking that to him and that those same officials “liked how Joba’s velocity and bulldog mentality returned when he pitched out of the pen in the playoffs” , no matter how false that reality is, it shows that, yes, there are those whithin the org that think Joba is more suited as a releiver. Someone has to be teleing that to these guys. As much as we might hate it, Sherman is not going to attach the words “officials” to stuff that he completely made up. So the point is, if the Yanks would consider putting Joba in the pen ONLY for this year and put him back in the rotation next year, Sherman etc. would tell you that. But so far, as much as we might hate it, they’re saying it’s a foregon conclusion that if he ends up in the pen this year, he’s never going back. Also, if AAA were truly an option, they would’ve mentioned it too. So to me it looks like one of my worst-feared days in the Yankee Universe is fast approaching…  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    I strongly disagree. you are connecting those bulldog comments to people who have decision making power, when that may not be the case. In Sherman’s article today, he says that Cashman said they need to consider 2011 also. To me, that clearly says that they want both starting in 2011, because if it was just one starting in 2011, then 2011 would not be relevant to this decision (because the winner this year would simply be the winner next year).  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Harry G Reply:

    But Cash and Girardi have both said AAA is not an option. (Madden’s column yesterday). So to me, if they consider Joba a starter definitively, why the hell when he’s finally ready to be unleashed would they even consider Joba to the pen under any circumstances. Last year they handed him a rotation spot even though he still had inn limits, so NOW when he’s ready they don’t hand him a rotation spot?!?!?!? It makes no sense. If even after they knew they could have both Joba unlimited and Hughes limited in the rotation they still went out and got Vazquez, if they’re not considering sending him down, & those same officials who’re telling Sherman who’s going to be the fifth starter aren’t telling him that he most likely will go back to the rotation next year, it’s becoming more and more evident to me that maybe the Yanks aren’t as steadfast in their belief in Joba as a starter as we think they are or as we would like for them to be, and that these dumb sentiments do come from some in the organization.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Ken (OR) Reply:

    I’ll agree with you Moshe…
    I too want Joba as a starter but, putting it the way you have (for the 2011 season), I have no problem with Phil being named the starter.
    The idea of him (joba) going to and staying in the BP is ridiculous, starters are worth more then BP (even closers) to the team. Besides, Cashman and Joe G., make the decisions like that, not some suit. Unnamed source can say what ever they want but, only the to guys named make a difference.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. I totally agree! I hope the Yankee organization doesn’t listen to the all high and mighty media plans for Joba. The media thinks that they can strong arm anyone with their thinking. What the heck do they know? I have this message for the Yankees! Stop screwing with this guys head already! You yanked him back in forth in the rotation. Tell him you want him to start and put him in this asinine plan to prep him for the rest of his career as a starter and finally we get to a point that there are no limits and the training wheels are off to just finally say hey Joba… Your going into the pen this season and stay there. We completely had given up on you. Your losing your job as the 5th starter to another guy who is just 9 months younger than you and who has quite frankly has not done as well as you in the rotation and oh… by the way this guy Hughes will go through what you had been through the last several years with limitations… Just completely and utterly retarded!  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Harry G Reply:

    Amen!
    I know this sounds ridiculous, but If i’m Joba, I have my agent damand a trade if they put me back in the pen. The scrutiny and back-n-forth jerking that this kid has gone thru is totally unfair. They never gave him real minor-league development, never gave him a fair chance at starting, and now they’re gonna rob him of his earning potential in his arbitration years. A starter in his prime can make ten times more than an eigth-inning guy in his prime.
    Joba would instantly be the No. or No.2 starter on half the teams in the NL. They would give him all the time in the world to develop and he wouldn’t have to go through all this day-to-day BS. Just like when an NBA team moves a player to the bench and he’s unhappy with his time, his agent demands a trade, Joba’s agent should do the same thing.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  3. Yankees handling of Wang and now Hughes/Joba has been abysmal.No guarantee Hughes is a solid 5th starter anyway.He could develop his change and cutter or he could be giving up HR’s with his straight fastball like he did in his last great “clinching” start where he gave up 3 HR’s in the wind( the other 5 pitchers who pitched in that game I believe gave up 1 in their 13 innings).
    People forget Yankees were able to get Joba because the word on him was that his delivery was so violent he would have trouble staying healthy.
    So he’s in the pen throwing 98 and then he injures a shoulder, comes back and they change his delivery so he’s more likely to stay healthy with less stress on his sholder but now he doesn’t the velocity anymore.
    Why would anyone think putting him in the pen will bring back the 98 when the delivery is different and both the violence and speed or both less.
    Joba may be just what he is.A guy who can throw 89-93 as a starter and 95 as a reliever and he’s just a nice young pitcher like a million other guys.If he devlops great control he can be successful in either positon but he isn’t the reincarnation of Bob Feller in either event.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  4. I agree with the entire post. Let’s hope if Hughes does win the spot, that they clarify what will happen to Joba in ’11.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

© 2011 TYU Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha