Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You can't always get what you want...

Is this debate about Joba Chamberlain ever going to end? I have a feeling that for the entire season we are going to be hearing fans and the media going back and forth about whether or not Joba should be a starter or if he should be in the bullpen.

I will admit, I was one of those fans who thought Joba should be in the pen. I have to also admit though that I listen to Mike Francesa quite often, and was suckered into the mindset that he had about how Joba is better as the guy who will eventually take over as the closer of the team once Mariano retires.

I have since then developed my own opinion and contemplated the pros and cons that erupt from both sides of the spectrum. On one hand, Joba had great success as the 8th inning man and it proved to be a great combination of having Joba being the bridge to Mo.

But you have to look beyond that. Joba was brought up as a starter through college and in the minor leagues. The reason the Yankees placed him in the pen was due to the fact they needed a boost to their bullpen and knew they needed to restrict the number of innings that he could pitch. It was designed as a temporary solution, not one that was going to continue long-term.

It's as easy as this: The man has 4 developed pitches. It would be hard to, if not impossible, to find a guy in the Major Leagues that has so many strong pitches and is being designated as a 8th inning man. Rivera, like Joba, was brought up in the minor leagues as a starter. But unlike Joba, Rivera has only 2 successful pitches that are part of his repertoire. Plus, with Rivera still the closer, you are wasting the talent that Joba has so that can he pitch the 8th inning of a game that could be a meaningless blowout.

Simple stated, you get more out of Joba as a starter. Perhaps a situation will arise where the Yankees are desperate for a closer and the switch to a starting role in the Major Leagues hasn't worked out well for him down the road. You never really know what can happen, but for now, you need to keep him where he is at. Where he has been at since a player in college. I am sure the is just the beginning of the debate of where Joba should be pitching, especially once Wang comes back and if Hughes is showing success in the major leagues. I guess time will tell, but regardless there will always be a group of people on either side of the argument that will be complaining.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

Great post. This is certainly a debate that won't be ending anytime soon.

I'll admit prior to tonight's start, the Joba to the pen people had a convincing argument. Joba did have a sub 4 era, but he had a 1.81 WHIP and a batting avg against of .306. He was only averaging 5 and 1/3 IP per start. Tonight, he was fantastic.

Due to Joba's inning limit, he'll be in the pen either in Sept or the playoffs (only need 4 starters in the playoffs). At which point, we'll once again hear how Joba should be in the pen.

Right now, Wang is hurt and we have Rivera as a closer. There's no debate imo as far as where Joba should be now. Take Joba out of the rotation now and you're looking at Tomko or Igawa.

We'll have a problem that every team in baseball hopes to have if Hughes is doing well and Wang returns to his old self in June.

It's too early to say that Hughes is here to stay, that Wang will be the old Wang, or that Joba will struggle or be great at starting.

Usually these things work themselves out. We have the luxury of having Rivera closing through the 2010 season. By that time, the picture should be a lot clearer as to whether Joba can handle the workload of starting or if he should be our next closer.