Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Looks Like Spring, Feels Like Winter

At least in Syracuse. No snow on the ground at the moment, but the wind chill is 6F. It's now at the point of winter where such a wind chill is simply 'old'.

Anyway, today's Pete Abraham question to be answered:

How best to use Joba Chamberlain?

The answer, at first glance, seems to be glaringly obvious: Joba should be a starter.

However, leaving it at that ignores a couple of very basic facts:

1) The Yankees did much of nothing to help their bullpen this winter. They signed Albaladejo and Hawkins, but they lost Proctor, Villone, and perhaps most importantly, Vizcaino.

Right now, outside of Rivera, our bullpen consists of:

L. Hawkins
K. Farnsworth
B. Bruney
J. Veras
E. Ramirez
C. Britton
J. Karstens
R. Ohlendorf
J. Albaladejo

So, out curiosity, which if these guys do you want pitching the seventh or eighth inning in Fenway in the last series of the season, with the division lead and a playoff spot on the line? And while Rivera can go two, he's not going three unless it's October.

2) He's on an innings cap, like all of the young guys. I don't necessarily agree with strict innings caps, but then I think about the likes of Kerry Wood and I realize why they're in place. Sure, Girardi's not Torre but it's not a chance I'd take with any manager. So what does the innings cap do? It limits the innings per start that Joba can pitch. Unless he's pitching a no-hitter or a perfect game (which would be sweet as hell), I don't see Joba staying in past the seventh. Given that his starts will probably come somewhere in between Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy who are ALSO on innings caps, it gives the bullpen very, very little rest.

Though I did have an interesting thought just now--you could alter the rotation a bit non traditionally and have something like Phil Wang Joba Pettitte Ian Moose or some such--namely, breaking up the big three with the innings eaters in between, to save some of the 'pen arms.

However, even while considering the above two, we also need to consider thus:

1) Joba was able, in the minors, to throw over 100 MPH into the seventh.

2) He has that ability to be the bona fide ace that right now, we don't really have.

So, what to do?

You have to give Joba a chance as a starter. We know what he can do in the 'pen and we heard of what he's supposed to be able to do as a starter, but we have yet to see it.

It would be a great crime not to give him a solid chance to start, to see, maybe if he is more effective as a starter.

That said, however, we can't wait forever. Obviously you've got to give him more than two starts, but you can't wait half the season to see if it's going to pan out.

Perhaps I'm wrong in my feelings about the bullpen and they'll be much more effective than the confidence they inspire, and I hope this is true, as it'd make for a very nice summer. However, until Sanchez and Melancon are ready (and we can't rush them, no matter how much we want to), our bullpen is an area of serious concern.


  1. I think he has to be a starter. It's much easier for the bullpen when they only have to come in for the 8th and 9th and also if they've smothered the batters for 6-7 innings.

    Momentum affects NO other game the way it does Baseball. You keep a team stifled, and it's easy to keep them stifled.

    What happens when Joba's amazing arm is in the pen dominating the last two innings and all we have for starters is: Wang, Hughes, Kennedy... Igawa?

    That's assumign Hughes and Kennedy, also, both become great top-shelf pitchers season after season.

  2. hey girl, how ya doin? (jeters future wife)

  3. jeters future wife: Nice to see you here! =D Hope you're enjoying it!

  4. Well done...
    It sure is a dilemma, which way will be the best use of Joba? Agreed, he is a starter. The Yanks have a...nice...problem to work out for sure. Everything will work out in ST...the BP will be better then some think, I hope. 27/08.

  5. I think people are going to give way too much credit to Girardi and pitching because he was a catcher. His track record in Florida with young pitching (see: Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez) doesn't inspire much confidence.

    Hopefully he'll be more careful this time...