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Mar 212010

Pat Borzi of the New York Times posted a piece in the Bats blog on Friday, which had opened with a noteworthy exchange between the Joba and Mariano Rivera. He writes:

(h/t to Mike Silva of NYBD for the link)

Rivera, even at 40, remains the most feared closer in baseball. Chamberlain was waiting by the door of the clubhouse to be taken to an autograph session when Rivera walked by. Chamberlain, already in a chatty mood, suddenly fancied himself as Rivera’s successor and started bugging Rivera about retiring.

“You’ve got to pass the torch, four-two,” Chamberlain said, using common baseball parlance for someone’s uniform number.

By then, Rivera was nearing his locker on the far side of the clubhouse. He turned to Chamberlain, smiled and said paternally, “Your time will come.”

Chamberlain answered back, “You might be 50! I might be done by then.” Rivera, ignoring the last part, responded, “Then it’ll still come,” with an equally big smile. That did not make Chamberlain feel any better. “He might pitch until he’s 106,” he said.

Not sure how much I want to read into this. Maybe Joba is being chatty and a little cocky,  and this is just some harmless banter with Joba playing up the much-discussed topic. Or perhaps these two know something we don’t. In any case, the quotes are what they are and people can draw their own conclusions. Mariano has recently stated in a WFAN interview with Mike Francesa he thinks Joba  should be a reliever, while Joba has stated numerous times in the past that he wants to start. I would take the fact that Joba is currently battling for the #5 spot more seriously than some light-hearted exchange. Hopefully, one of the beat writers will see one of these posts and get Joba on the record again, one way or the other.

8 Responses to “Joba Wants to Close?”

  1. I’m not buying it as anything more than playful banter. If we aren’t going to assume that Joba actually saying he wants to start means that he wants to start, then I certainly wont take this as him wanting to relieve.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    I agree. Mike was a bit triumphal in his post, I’m much more circumspect. But then again, I’ve always been agnostic on this debate.

    But I did think it was worth posting, passing over something like this would be cherry-picking what we want to see and passing over conflicting info. Let people decide for themselves what this does or doesn’t mean.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    That’s fair.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    lenNY's Yankees Reply:

    Francesa had it right on the FAN the other day. Starters make way more money than closers do. Hughes and Chamberlain both want to start.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Excellent point, and one that is not stressed enough. Even guys that want to relieve want to start because of that, if that makes sense.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    He’s the world’s #1 B-Jobber, so that’s his way of making this a financial decision instead of a Baseball decision. I think it’s both, but nobody should doubt that a top flight starter is worth more than most closers, and Joba has the upside to be a top-flight Starter. Whether or not he ever reaches his ceiling is yet to be determined.

    Also, that is more true for the rest of Baseball than it is for the Yanks.

    In order-

    1-CC Sabathia-23 mil
    2-AJ Burnett-16.5 mil
    3-Mariano Rivera-15 mil
    4-Andy Pettitte-11.75
    5-Javier Vasquez-11.5
    6-Damaso Marte-4 mil

    http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/new-york-yankees_111398168678860040.html

    Yankee closers can make some nice money.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Ojas Reply:

    True that Mo does very well financially relative to the starting staff but consider the body of work that he put in (enough to earn the title Greatest Closer of All-Time) prior to earning a contract with an annual salary less than those of CC and AJ. I think that really shows the disparity between what closers and starters earn.

    While most would agree that CC earned his big payday (i.e. his statistical output before signing), it’s certainly debatable whether AJ did, and he still gets paid more than Mo. Obviously, age was a factor in Mo’s contract negotiations prior to the ’08 season but those concerns were addressed with the length of the contract; $15M/yr shows that the Yanks had confidence in his ability to continue as a top-flight closer (and that it’d be a horrible PR move to let him walk).

    For comparison’s sake, Derek Lowe’s contract runs from 2009-12 and has an AAV of $15M also.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. Joba is a very fierce competitor, the same of all your top flight pitchers. He nor Phil would want anything less then to be a starter, the money is second. They already make more money then they have ever seen and are due for an increase. Yes, they would make more and they know that but, I still think it comes down to pride and competitive spirit.
    How would it sound, to say to your kids; “I coud’a been a starta, if only I hada had da’ chance!”…not to good.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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