Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Guess Who's Back?

Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Job(a), J to the O, B. So Joba's back, as a reliever, which sort of makes sense. I guess the thinking is, "we broke his shoulder by making him a starter so let's make him a reliever before he's fully healed since broken shoulder + fewer innings = healthy shoulder + six or more innings every five days."

Admittedly, I am one of the people who believes Joba is best used as a starter. I still believe this, despite the obviously disastrous effects to his arm and our season. Nonetheless, it seems they should just let him rehab the shoulder for now and pick up some innings in the Arizona fall league if need be. I know we're making our big playoff push now, but why bother with this? When Wang had shoulder tendinitis in 2005 he rehabbed and came back as a starter. If Joba can't do the same it's probably because he's not ready. Further, pitching in relief, even if he can do it without further hurting himself, does not aid his development since he will not throw his secondary pitches, just fastball slider. Lastly, is Carl Pavano the Yankees minor league strength and conditioning coach? How did all three of our minor league pitching prospects get hurt so quickly once they began starting regularly in the majors? Makes no sense. Personally, I blame the underaged Chinese "women's" gymnastics team. Which reminds me, shouldn't we call it girls gymnastics? I realize there are a few gymnasts out there over 18 but by and large there are no women in this sport. Good night and good luck (that's right, my blog posts are like standing up to McCarthyism. What do you think about that mofos?).


michael kei said...

Funny, the bullpen was good when Joba was a starter. Now that he's coming back as a reliever, the bullpen has imploded several times already.

Bucky7588 said...

I think we can all agree that Nastia Luiken is a total babe, at least those of us who are close to her in age

Anonymous said...

agreed bucky.. shes a babe

Anonymous said...

How to handle young pitchers is probably the most intriguing debate maybe in all of sports. But really, there is no set standard on how to do it. GMs go by precedent, which is sometimes not the brightest thing to do, but they do it to cover their asses in terms of dealing with the union. That's why they use the abuse on Mark Prior's arm as the primary example why 21 year old pitchers these days have these innings limits and all. Joba's transition to a starter was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen in a baseball season. Normally, he'd just be sent down to do it, but he was too good for the Yanks to lose him for any period of time (and he only had that one bad start anyway during the transition).

The fortunate thing is Joba's injury wasn't anything serious. Just tendinitis. Probably do to the extra workload of being a starter, but then again it could come from anything. I know Joba is extra careful with his arm, so much so that he even autographs with his left hand, but a slight degree differential in his release point or his body mechanics or maybe he slipped in the shower...any of these things and so much more can cause inflammation. I'm sure it didn't even last this long, but the Yanks are going to be overly cautious in a case like this and shut him down. He wouldn't be coming back at all now if the Yanks were concerned that he might not be healthy.

As far as starter vs. reliever, it's still not a debate at this point that he should be a starter. You can't look at it as where he might be more valuable, but rather what kind of pitcher he is. He has 4-5 plus pitches (if you include the sinker he was learning from Wang), can throw any pitch in any count, knows what he wants to throw, has fairly sound mechanics with good repetition, and he's smart enough to save something in the tank to maintain velocity. As long as he stays healthy, this is a guy who could toss complete games ala Justin Verlander early in his career and then make the adjustments if needed and continue to do the job like a Roy Halladay. It's just a matter of staying healthy.

What I will wonder is what his innings limit will be next year. He didn't hit the target this year (he's at 89, will probably get a little over 100...his target was 140), but I wonder if he'll go play some Winter ball to get some more innings? Would the Yanks do the same thing next season and try to transition him all over again? I doubt it. He certainly needs to restrengthen, which is why he's in the pen now, but if he continues to throw during, say, the AFL maybe his limit can go up to 160-180 for next season. That would be good enough to start out as the 5th starter in the rotation (obviously you break those limits for the playoffs if you find it necessary). Hughes and Kennedy will play Winter ball, I wonder if Joba does too.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I think you have to get Joba into the AFL. If he comes back with the same innings limit he had this season, then we're looking at the same frustrating process of limiting his innings early and pulling him from games when necessary.

I hope Hughes is healthy next season. We could use him too.

Anonymous said...

I hope Carl our Saviour throws a perfect game tonight.
BTW, the Twins' minor system worked wonder for Cliff Lee last year, maybe they can ship IPK and Hughes there.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Oakland and Minnesota do magic with their prospects. It seems like their blue chips always become big league contributors. I know that's not really the case, but they have enough prospects becoming good players to make you wonder what we're doing wrong. The Marlins are like that too.