Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Joba to Start Season in Bullpen

In a move that is sure to surprise no one but upset more than a few, Joe Girardi has announced that Joba Chamberlain will start the season in the bullpen. This means Kennedy will be starter number five, giving the Yankees all three of their young pitchers for the beginning of the season. Which should start any minute now. Seriously, start already. As much fun as it is to pretend to care about non play-off NBA basketball, or 64 teams of colleges to which you have no collection, or what Tiger is doing in the Toyota Tercel Classic, the season needs to start.

Pretty soon Baseball will be underway and all will be right with the world (the preceding statement does not include most of the middle east, Africa, or pretty much most of the rest of the world).

Soon SportsCenter will be watchable again, and those of us without cable will have something to watch on TV on Friday nights here in the New York area. Until then, consider doing your taxes to pass the time. You can even watch basketball and pretend it's baseball, which isn't as fun as it sounds. Baseball will be here soon, and then I can finally stop posting about when the season is going to start up.


Reverend JR Davis said...

As I've said before, I cannot for the life of me understand what management is thinking putting Joba in the bullpen to start this season. Let's look at the BEST case scenerio. He is lights out setting up for Mo and the rotation goes through every turn without major issues. If this is the case, there will be no starting slot for him to pitch in after the All-Star break. Are you going to demote Kennedy or Mussina if they're on their way to 15 wins? Joba continues to dominate out of the bullpen, but only throws 110 innings MAX, like Mo did in 1996.

This scenario could very well bring us Championship 27, which is clearly what we all want. However, if Joba is indeed projected as a Beckett counterpunch, Clemens-esque staff ace starter in 2009 and beyond, this would very likely further delay his development. He wouldn't get the 140-150 innings he needs this year to gradually increase his workload, unless he played winter ball, and we STILL wouldn't know whether he can be successful the third and fourth times through a major league lineup.

Someone, please help me see the logic in using the kid this way!

Roberto Alejandro said...

Whether you agree with it or not, the logic is mainly based on protecting the arm in which the Yanks have invested. We don't need a Kerry Woods on our hands. It's not an ideal situation because of the fact that Kennedy is our number five. But if he has to be demoted for a few months so we can have a better 1 through 5 so be it. At the same time no risks are taken with Joba's arm. Next year Moose is gone and the three kids are in the starting rotation. The other thing is, worrying about September's starting line-up in April doesn't make sense. Who knows what might happen between now and then. Maybe someone gets traded, or hurt, or decides to emulate Carl Pavano's work ethic. The Yanks think a lot of Joba as a starter and that's why they're are saving the innings for later in the year. If Kennedy has to take a seat then, that's life. It's a business, what's fair to Kennedy isn't important. What's important is what gives the team the best chance to succeed both now and in the long term. for now, the Yanks have decided that means Joba in the pen.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Also, can you remember the last time we used the same 5 starters throughout a whole season? We always have injuries, and I'd be shocked if we didn't see Chamberlain in the rotation by July. We got lucky on Pettitte's elbow last season, and Mussina always misses some time with an injury. Plus, if Kennedy, Hughes or Mussina struggle, you'll see Joba soon enough.

I agree with you that Joba should not remain in the bullpen all season, but I have a feeling it'll work itself out.

Kevin said...

He doesn't project as Clemens esque in his first year in the rotation either. I think the Yankees having 6 Starters in July is (as Peter Abe has said) an excellent problem to have. They'll make it work, especially with inning limitations on the kids. (Think of a 6 man rotation, or Hughes / Kennedy skipping a start or two in the latter half of the season).

You watch, it will work out.

Reverend JR Davis said...

Thanks for the input guys. I just got the impression that last year worked really well for Joba. He started for 4 months, took a couple weeks to get aquainted with the pen, and then dominated. I think it would be a far better idea to see what we've got in Joba as a starter at the begining of the year when its natural and the games aren't as important. Of course we need to limit his innings, so move him back to the pen once he's made 16-18 starts around 110 innings.

That way, we'll know if he can get through a major league lineup 3 or 4 times, and then we'll have him setting up Mo at the end of the season when the pennant is on the line instead of in May. It seems like it would be a whole hell of a lot easier to limit his innings at the end of the year as a reliever instead of as a starter.

Strategically speaking, you want him to take his time and stretch out to be a starter and the most natural way to do that is in spring training. You want him in the pen down the line when Joba and Mo can make games 6 or 7 innings long. He would get his 150 innings safer and more effectively by starting in the rotation and it's obviously better for the team to have him in the pen when it matters most.

Isn't that the right way to go?

anonymous number two said...

How about a post on what Girardi did (or did not do) to the young Marlin arms?

Roberto Alejandro said...

your argument certainly has merit, and I can only guess as to the Yanks thinking. My thought is that they believe strongly in the projection and so are less concerned with seeing whether or not he can get through a major league line-up a few times, believing that he can. in that case their thinking may be that he's more valuable in a play-off run giving them 6-7 innings than just one or two later in the season. Also, Joba will have the advantage at that point of starting for the first time and his opponents seeing all his pitches for the first time. We've seen it season in and season out how young pitchers come into the league, have a great first half and then blow the second half because hitters figure them out. Hitters won't have a chance to do that with Joba if he doesn't start until July so that may also be part of the thinking. It's also probably worth noting that if they really need a bridge come september, that they'll just put Joba back in the pen (though what that would do to their hope of having him log a certain number of innings as he builds arm strength I do not know). All in all though, you may be right. The fun part will be finding out what happens and seeing if the yankees know what they're doing or have a severe drug problem.