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?