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It’ll never happen, but the Yanks need to put Joba back into the rotation

Jan 14, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT


The Yankees have been unwavering in their position on Joba Chamberlain: he’s a relief pitcher and he always will be a relief pitcher as long as he plays for the New York Yankees.  As Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues notes, however, such a position is a horrible one, and with no less than three guys ahead of him on the bullpen depth chart — maybe four — the Yankees should be pushing Chamberlain into the back end of the rotation:

I’m not asking for a miracle here, just give the guy a chance to start again in Spring Training. There’s basically no downside. If he gets hurt and his days as an effective pitcher come to an end, who cares? All the Yankees would be losing is a seventh inning reliever. If it works, well then geez, you’ve got yourself a young big league starter, something the team could really use right about now. It’s Spring Training, just try it. That’s all I’m asking. Just make an effort, give him the same kind of rope they gave Hughes this past year.

But they won’t, of course.  Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Mike muses that for all we know it’s possible his attitude is awful or his shoulder is shredded.  Which just underscores how badly the Yankees mishandled his development. Maybe he’d have a better attitude if he wasn’t jerked around like has been. Maybe his shoulder was going to go south no matter how carefully they treated him between 2007 and 2010 and, as a result, they’ve managed to get the absolute least bang for their buck from the guy.

Maybe he’s just fine, though, and the Yankees don’t want to admit they mishandled him. That, even if he is no longer a viable major league starting pitcher, it wasn’t the result of being put in a position to succeed and simply failing.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Maybe it’s just that they want to use him as trade bait now and don’t want to diminish his value to a future team any more then they need to by exposing any of the “so called” flaws he may or may not have.

  2. bobwsc - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    if he starts, he’ll have more opportunities to throw at Kevin Youkilis’ head – and the league will continue to do nothing about it. nothing to see here…move along.

  3. fribnit - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    With the signing of Soriano I expect Joba will infect move to the rotation or be traded.

    • fribnit - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      wow I hate my typos. will in fact…..

      • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        no no.. i saw it.. INFECT is correct.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    Oh, go ahead and make THE FAT TOAD a starter. That sounds like the express bus to Ian Kennedy Land.

    • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      i swear on all thats holy that if they do that i stop watching baseball until cashman is fired and then shot dead by the bleecher creatures. trade him already. Hell if i were him i would sue the Yankees.. no joke.. they frigging broke him and now they are going to do more damage? same goes for strassburg. he should no joke sue the Nats for destroying his career 5 starts in. i will bet ANYONE good money that he comes back in 2012 as the next Liriano or Wood or Prior. i am sick and tired of gddamn moron GM’s and managers hurting young players so that the papers have something to write and to make a few extra bucks.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:57 AM

        OK, here we go, I was being very kind and mammothly facetious on the prior comment. of course we should trade him.
        But the Universe did not “destroy” THE FAT TOAD, he did it himself by trying to be a parody of the second coming of Whitey Ford to begin with. If anything management attempted to minimize the damage by innings limits, and that was stupid on their part because you’re either a starter or you’re not.

      • Panda Claus - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:59 AM

        Short of changing his mechanics so that he’d instead throw under-handed, the Nats did everything to protect Strasburg except literally wrapping him in bubble wrap. They counted his pitches, put him on a strict innings count (which he had almost reached) and probably had a body guard help him to take his showers.

        Sometimes injuries just happen, especially with spindly hurlers throwing at high speeds.

      • Jonny 5 - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        Finding pitching talent of MLB quality is a huge gamble and nearly impossible to predict. Look at all the hubub around Stephen S. then he blows his arm and needs tommy john’s in his first season. He may never turn out to be close to as good as the hype surrounding him was.

      • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:08 AM

        Panda you are 100% wrong. you cannot let a kid that literally has less than 12 months of baseball experiance under his belt throw his 90th pitch in the 7th inning at 100 MPH. it is up to YOU THE MANAGER to make sure that he doesnt do that.. even if it means that he doesnt throw his most efective pitch and maybe gets hit around a bit. ESPECIALLY if you are the last place nats. they are totally irresponsible for that whole thing. when he debuted in June i called it that night that he would need Tommy John by end of season if he continued that way..

      • Panda Claus - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        I’m sometimes a little bit wrong, but rarely 100% wrong. Even my wife gives me some credit.

        I don’t have a lot of stats to argue this point, but if you look here ( you’ll notice in this game four-seamer (best pitch) averaged 98 mph. Not a lot of room to slow it down there. And having him alter his style too much can lead to just as much damage as over-throwing can.

        Not going to dispute your comments about the manager because I’m not a big Riggleman fan. While there might be some room to argue there, shouldn’t we also consider this kid’s competitive nature? If it’s late in the game he’s probably wanting to get guys out, not let his team lose a winnable game by going “easy” on his pitch velocity.

      • Adam - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        Are you serious? You can’t let a guy throw 90 pitches? It doesn’t matter that he pitched into the 7th inning (though 90 pitches in 7 is impressive), it’s not like they left him out there for 200 pitches.

        His mechanics just broke him.

      • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        fine. maybe i went a little over board.. like 90% wrong. but the Nats brought him up for one reason and one reason only to make money with no regard to his own health. they dont even hide that. they needed and wanted a$$es in the seats and it cost the kid his arm. and yea you are right (part of that 10%) that if he messes with his pitches too much it will hurt him in the long run but they should have let him come in.. 3 innings.. pitching his hearth out and when he hit 50 pitches take him out. letting him hit the 6th or 7th inning with 100 pitches and still letting him throw that hard there is only one expectation there. i for one would love to see this kid come back and be dominant but all joking aside i would bet he goes the path of Liriano and wood and Prior.

      • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        @ Adam – when you have ZERO big league experience and like 10 Minor league games (A AA AAA combined) under your belt 90 pitches and 200 pitches is the same damn thing. sorry but his mechanics didnt break down his management did and they should be help accountable.

      • Panda Claus - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Alright phukyouk, I’ll give some ground too.

        Not for a moment do I disagree about the timing and stage the Nats built for Strasburg to make his debut to the majors. That was all about money for two reasons. Picked a lowly Tuesday (if memory serves), then dragged out the suspense as fans gobbled up tickets in anticipation of when his actual debut would be.

        Then there’s the whole point of bringing him up in June, basically so his m-l service clock wouldn’t start too early. That little move was made to keep him away from free agency one year sooner.

        There’s no doubt the team tried to milk him for all he was worth. My view was they were trying to protect him by limiting pitches/innings, etc. That makes the most sense because his arm injury might actually end up hurting the team worse than the player. (in terms of lost ticket sales and assuming he fully recovers).

  5. BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    They’re gonna trade the guy for a starter. They wouldn’t have signed Soriano if they weren’t going to do that. The only question is…. where do they make their trade? Does any team have a functional third or fourth starter that they’d give up for Joba? Or Joba and Montero for an upgraded starter?

    • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      I’m going on record to say that on any team not named the Yankees Joba will be just as good as Clay Bucholtz. he HAS to go and it pisses me off cause he was awesome.. the air apperant to Mo at one point but then cashman went and effed thngs up. i hate cashman so much.

      • seanmk - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        the label of “heir apperant to mo” never should have been given to him. he had a flukey good stretch of 24 innings in the regular season. the expectations put on him were unrealistic and set up to fail. he was never going to be that good over the course of a full season.

        here are his stats as a starter in 08 65.1 innings 2.76 era 74K:25BB in 12 games.

      • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        BS! he was lights out when he came up and there is no proof that it was a fluke. you are not basing that on aything factual. as a starter he was garbage but as i said below it wasnt entirely his fault.

    • pisano - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:37 PM

      How does Blanton of the Phillies sound? maybe package the Toad with a AA prospect and get the Toad the hell out of NY. The Phillies could save some money and have some what of a reliever and a fairly high level prospect. It’s a thought.

  6. billtpa - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    I like this idea Yankees fans have that you can take this guy who you’ve made it very clear you don’t think can ever be a starter and trade him for a mid-rotation starter.

    I think he could still be an excellent starter (barring some major health problem we don’t know about), and on an even playing field I’d certainly trade someone like Baker or Slowey for him. But the Yankees have screwed this up so much that it’s not even close to a level playing field, and I wonder if they could get anything worthwhile at all for him.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      “This guy sucks, who wants to give us something good for him?”

      • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        thats not fair man… he doesnt suck.. hes broken plain and simple. look at Javy and Contreras for starters.. i would also name Keneddy but i think hes still just awful. if they had either left Joba in the Pen or just as a starter with normal limits then we could make a fair assessment. but they didnt and we cant. like i keep saying put Joba on any other team and he thrives. he will end up in Seattle or something like that.

  7. hackerjay - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    The main thing I don’t understand about them taking Joba out of the rotation, is that he was pretty decent in his one full year of starting. He wasn’t an All Star or anything, but he would at least be one of the better 5th spot starters in the league. And he was only 23 when he was starting, so there was definite room for improvement. At the very least there was some upside, as opposed to someone like Mitre.

  8. BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    We’ll give you Ollie Perez and Luis Castillo for Joba.
    Sandy Alderson

    • yankeesfanlen - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      To get rid of THE FAT TOAD, we’ll take it. Do you know a good Mafia trash collector with a big enough dumpster?

      • Old Gator - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        What’s the use? He’d just go to the mattress.

    • jfk69 - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      You need pitching. I’ll take often injured Reyes for Joba. The Mets need to dump as much payroll as possible since they will be lucky to draw two million this year.

      • BC - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        I’d do the trade from the Mets side. But given that the Yankees just signed Jeter for 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 dollars, I don’t think NYY has a position open. Unless you make Reyes a bench coach maybe.
        (It had been a while since I’ve seen a bench coach reference, had to sneak one in)

  9. jfk69 - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    When they gave him the chance he was lucky to go five innings. Granted he was never really stretched out but the real problem is his throwing motion and lack of focus. It is the main reason he fell to the Yankees in the draft. When you watch him throw you get feeling he is one pitch away from an arm injury.
    I believe the Yankees will keep him right where he is so his trade stock does not fall. He will get his chance to prove different with some other team. The other problem was too much success to soon and the Yankees jerking him around from closer ro relief then starter. He will be much better off with a change of scenery. I wish him the best as he served the team well.

    • phukyouk - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      agreed! good Luck joba whereever you land… as long as it aint the Sox. i would like to see him on the Muts. i bet he becomes a solid starter

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM

        Yeah, let’s bake him a going away cake. I bet he likes cake. The candles are over here…..

      • Old Gator - Jan 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        Oh, he’d be a “solid” starter, alright – solid adipose tissue, that is. He has been called many things, but “evanescent” was never one of them.

      • spudchukar - Jan 19, 2011 at 4:58 PM

        Wait five years the memory of Joba the Hutt will be evanescent.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      When they gave him the chance he was lucky to go five innings.

      Not true, in ’08 when he first was starting with the Yanks (2nd half of the year), he went: 2.1, 4.1, 6.0, 5.2, 6.2, 4.0, 6.0, 6.2, 6.0, 7.0, and 6.0. It wasn’t until the back end of ’09 that he started doing the sub 5IP thing.

      • jfk69 - Jan 15, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        are you retarted…you just proved my point…he is regressing not progressing.
        Take a reading comprehension course and watch the games before you google stats and try to sound like you know what talking about.
        I watched many of his games and he could have been yanked out even sooner In many of them except they were trying to build his poise and confidence and most importantly not blow out the bullpen

  10. baseballstars - Jan 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    I was in favor of making Joba a starter before, and I was wrong. If the Yankees want to keep him around as a reliever, then they shouldn’t yo-yo him around anymore. Leave him where he’s at. But I think they should have traded him last year before his trade value plummeted. Now, there’s nothing left to lose by starting him again. If he sucks, then you can bring him back to the bullpen. If he’s mediocre, that’s about right for a fifth starter. If he shows flashes of brilliance, trade him while his stock is restored.

  11. spudchukar - Jan 14, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    The Hutt just doesn’t have the complimentary pitches to pitch effectively as a starter. The Soriano addition makes him expendable, and I suspect he will be packaged with others to bring in a an impact starter. They have to be desperate though. The “Core” sure isn’t getting any younger and I believe the current rotation is more abysmal than critics report. Maybe they can pry away Carmona from Cleveland or Rodriquez from Houston. It they don’t the Ol’ Cornhusker will get plenty of opportunities to pitch. Often times in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd innings.

  12. bleedgreen - Jan 14, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    What’s his contract like? If I’m the phillies I offer them Blanton for joba and cash or joba and a player IF his contract is reasonable.

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