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Not sure if this was mentioned at some point earlier this week, but, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Yankees skipper, Joe Girardi, “has said he would like to decide on a fifth starter by next Thursday or Friday,” meaning that it is imperative for each of the five competing starters vying for the team’s final rotation spot to make the best of their remaining opportunities (possibly one more game a piece). Basically, this is it. It’s crunch time down in Florida.

Now for a quick tangent…

When you think about it strictly from a statistical perspective, spring training “battles” – assuming there are absolutely no preconceived notions going into them – are extremely asinine. In essence, Girardi, an example here, is making a pivotal pitching decision, one with real consequences, based on a few abbreviated and meaningless outings. Now, I do not view the Yankees’ fifth starter battle as a true spring competition, as Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have always seemed to have inside tracks, but it is still worth noting the inanity of the longstanding spring competition. The only utility I see provided by this practice is that it forces a complacent player to think he is fighting for his spot.

In this case, Joba Chamberlain is that particular player.

Photo by the AP

6 Responses to “Yanks likely to announce 5th starter next week”

  1. “When you think about it strictly from a statistical perspective, spring training “battles” – assuming there are absolutely no preconceived notions going into them – are extremely asinine.”

    I agree completely, but the whole point of my morning piece is that there are other considerations besides statistical analysis. I don’t think they’re trying to trick Joba in some way (as you seem to imply) but that they’re using this competition to try to get these players to bear down and take that next developmental step forward.  (Quote)

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    Chris H. Reply:

    I def see that, Steve. I think that’s the “hidden” utility of these “battles,” as you pointed out.  (Quote)

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  2. I agree the stats are meaningless. Tangent: Has a position battle ever polarized Yankees fans like this Joba/Hughes battle? Full disclosure, I’m in the Joba SP camp, but I know several Yankee fans who are openly rooting against Joba so he ends up in the pen where he “supposedly” belongs.  (Quote)

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  3. I sure wish everybody could just get past all this phony media hype and give Joba some space. Starting pitchers don’t grow on trees and good relievers do, and we’re hip deep in the latter already. The Yankees put extraordinary time and effort into developing, protecting and nurturing Joba last season under difficult must-win circumstances, which is a testament to the commitment and resolve of Brian C, Joe G and the Steinbrenners. He is still an incredibly young guy who ate up 150-plus innings and gave us a winning record and a solid half-season of quality starts (six innings or more with three runs or less) under confounding rules and rest restrictions that might’ve loused up the timing of even the best starting pitcher.

    Hughes may well one day be a top-flight starter. But his stupendous 8th-inning set-ups last year saved every Yankee arm innings and tons of wear and tear — closers, middle-relievers and starters alike. So for now, Phil, should just prepare to set the plate for Big Mo again this year; Aceves and Mitre should prepare for another great year of long relief with some opportunities for spot starts along the way; Gaudin should prepare to be traded ,and Chan Ho and Robertson should prepare for short relief situational set-ups ahead of Hughes.
    You’ll find nobody in the Boston press and sports blogs or anyone else in the AL East cracking wise about Joba and our bullpen. They all fear Joba’s next phase as a rules-free starter, as well they should. And remember, this isn’t exactly a do or die situation. It’s the #5 rotation spot, after all. Is there any other #5 pitcher in the American League that anyone here would swap for Joba?? I didn’t think so. So everyone should just relax and enjoy our army of arms about to be unleashed on the AL East. It’s a great time here in Yankee Universe!

    For more Yankee fun, check out the musical comedy vid “Joe’s Job – The Ballad of Terry Francona”
    at

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvVZQnELQ9s

    It’s must-see entertainment for Yankee and Red Suks fans alike! Go Yankees! 28 in 2010!!!  (Quote)

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