Monday, April 21, 2008

Joba Chamberlain: Setup Man or Starting Rotation?

Hank Steinbrenner has spoken and it appears he is most interested in moving Joba Chamberlain into the rotation. With regards to Chamberlain's position as a reliever Hank stated: "The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever, ... I had no say in it last year and I wouldn't have allowed it." Apparently, he has no recollection of the young arms and increasing work load argument that was the entire reason for the Joba rules and his move to the bullpen. After saying that Mussina needed to pitch like Jamie Moyer, Hank made it clear that he wants Chamberlain in the rotation, and he wants it now. With that being the situation it brings to the front the on-going debate of where Joba Chamberlain can best help the team. Here are the two sides of the debate:

Chamberlain as a Starter

The decision is easy, do you want to see Chamberlain pitching 200+ innings a year, or do you want him throwing 70-90 innings a year? As a starter, Chamberlain can be the hard throwing ace with 20 win potential. When we get to the playoffs, an arm like Chamberlain will be necessary seeing as our lack of pitching strength has knocked us out of the playoffs in recent years. A one-two combination of Wang and Chamberlain can easily grab us 40 wins in a season, and lead us to perennial division titles.

Chamberlain as a Reliever

Yes, 200+ innings of Chamberlain gives you more than 70-90 innings of Chamberlain, but how many games will he end up effecting? If Chamberlain starts, he will pitch in a maximum of 35 games. As a reliever, he has the ability to get into 60-70 games, and is a near lock to hold all of them. The biggest weakness of the Yankees in recent years has been the bridge between the starter and the closer. That weakness has also been exploited by opposing teams in the post season. If you keep him in the bullpen, he can eventually grow into the closer when Mariano retires.

So what do you think? Should Chamberlain be a starter, or should he stay in the bullpen?

12 comments:

Quinn said...

bullpen.... we can find starters.. kennedy and hughes will come around.. some one should treat mussina like barbaro and put him out of his misery. i hate watching him.. its almost as bad as farnsworth

Joey said...

starter.... no reason to waste his amazing talents pitching 1/3 (or less) the innings he would put out as a starter. Plus, worst comes to worst and he isn't any good he can go right back to the pen. And to add to it, our current need is reliable starters, not relievers. We know Bruney and Ramirez and Patterson wouldn't be Joba in the 8th, but it sure does look like Joba would easily be better than Moose in the 1st-7th innings.

The only thing is his innings limit, which makes him stay in the bullpen until around the allstar break. Stick to the plan, make him the starter eventually

Roberto Alejandro said...

I'm with Joey on this one. Joba can always go back to the pen, as a starter he is more valuable, but we must be patient. There are reasons for the innings limits and they can't be toyed with for the sake of Hank Steinbrenner.

Quinn said...

i see where you guys are coming from.. but look at the 96 yanks.. rivera and wetland. that is what shortens the game from 9 to 7 innings. i think the young guns will come around. but i am for it if someone like JB Cox steps up and is able to take the 8th... i really feel that his purpose is better served in the bullpen. kennedy has great control hes just gotta find it, hughes will come around. and mussina is the weak link and the yanks should be able to find someone to fill that role.. i feel that joba will be like olendorf he will lose velocity and not be as effective. if they move him into the rotation then he will be back in the bullpen just like what happened in boston with papelbon. but whatever happens happens.. i think cashmen will do the right thing. i am a big supporter of him and think he will make a rational decision. I think they should also see what joba wants to do.. but personally i feel the bullpen is stronger and scarier with him in it.. the question is would we be debating this if the yankees were hitting the piss out of the ball and scoring A LOT of runs for mussina(which he would need A LOT) but i mean once kartsens is healed up why not give him a shot. he was pitching somewhat decent before breaking his leg.

Roberto Alejandro said...

there's no question our bullpen is stronger with Chamberlain in it, and having a bridge to Mo is hugely important. But there is also the 2004 ALCS, without solid starting Pitching you are done for (thanks Kevin Brown). It's a tough call, and I remember Tom Gordon saying he thinks Joba is better off as a reliever since guys like that tend to try to maintain their fastball over a long season and that's just not possible, and then they get hurt. Either way, it seems that the Yanks are mostly concerned with keeping him healthy. As long as that is priority number one I respect whatever decision they make.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I'm torn on this one. I agree with Quinn about the Rivera-Wetteland combination that was so vital to that '96 team, but that '96 team also had a solid rotation that could hand the ball off to middle relievers with a lead. Now-a-days, we've been handing off deficits to our relievers. I think if we can find a suitable 8th inning guy, not necessarily someone of Chamberlain's quality, but still good, than Chamberlain should go to the rotation. The question is, can Bruney be that guy? Out of everyone in that bullpen, he's the only one I would consider for that role.

Bucky7588 said...

Until Chamberlain develops his other pitches, he's better off in the bullpen. The problem with throwing 100mph is that it is a speed that is hard to maintain for 5 or 6 innings, and it becomes less and less effective. Until he matures as a starter (which he should and will) keep him in the bullpen to toy with pitches.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Hey Bucky! Welcome back. I think Joba should develop his other two pitches, but I think if any of those guys could go out there with only two pitches its Chamberlain with his fastball and slider. Hughes needs to develop a 4th pitch, but not until he's finished developing his 3rd. His fastball and curveball are not good enough to get him through an entire start, and he hasn't used his changeup much of late probably because it isn't very good. Besides that, most pitchers have a 4 pitch repertoire, and he doesn't. Slider? A cutter maybe? I wonder what kind of splitter he could throw? I think he could confuse a lot of batters by throwing a forker. Screwballs aren't really used anymore, maybe he can bring that back. Then again, his elbow will probably blow out if he throws screwballs. Just saying, he could use another pitch.

Derek said...

Perhaps when Joba gets moved into the rotation we bring up Scott Patterson for that late season surge... that guy plain gets outs.

The naysayers say he hasnt much experience at a big league level, but the naysayers dont time travel to last july when a kid named Joba made waves in single A ball.

cmasone said...

Joba's curve is already a well developed pitch. Also, from talking to people who saw him throw in the minors last year, he would start a game throwing 97, and he'd still be throwing 97 in the late innings. The 100MPH number we see sometimes is a product of juiced guns and outliers. The guy sits in the mid-high nineties. Pundits keep saying he'll lose 4 MPH on his fastball if he's a starter, but he's BEEN a starter and shown the ability to maintain velocity.

It comes down to this...who do you want on your team, Josh Beckett or Scot Shields (in his prime)?

Quinn said...

i like derek's thinking. but personally i think patterson should be up now.. and getting some experience throwing in some mlb games. i think that he will go in the rotation and if he can flourish there then lets do it. i just dont want to see him go to the rotation get shelled and then have to go back to the bullpen with little to no confidence in anything he throws.

Quinn said...

joba that is not patterson.. patterson should be up in the pen.