Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hey Yankees… just trade Joba Chamberlain

Seriously, it is the only merciful thing to do at this point.

Joba burst onto the scene in 2007 as the next dynamic pitcher in the Bronx.

And every single year since, people have been wringing their hands debating about whether he should start or relieve.

And now 3 seasons later… he’s been transformed into a potential #5 starter after having a rough post season as a reliever.

As I wrote when I compared him to Matthew McConaughey, his stats show he puts up great numbers as a reliever and mediocre numbers as a starter. If, after 2 and a half seasons, Joba was even decent in the rotation, he’d be at least a #4 starter at this point.

Instead we have more hand wringing.

Remember when people were saying Joba was an ace in the making?
Remember when the “keep Joba in the rotation” crowd kept saying how the bullpen was wasting his talent?

People were saying he could win a Cy Young.

Now I’m not even sure he could win a Dennis DeYoung!

This blogger wrote the wonderful sentence “The only people who want Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen are the people who have very little knowledge of baseball.”

I fancy myself having a little knowledge of baseball. And I think that using 90 innings at his full potential is better than 200 innings of mediocre pitching.

It is clear as 1990s Pepsi that he should be the bullpen closer in waiting… like Steve Young waiting to take over for Joe Montana.

But alas, the Yankees are doing everything short of hiring Jeff Gillooly to destroy Joba’s career and put him back in the rotation.

He’s 24 now… and he could have a break out season… or he could be yanked back and forth again and the debate (and moronic Joba rules) could rage while he is 25… then 26…

He’s won a ring in New York and had a few big highlights in the Bronx. But if they are going to ruin his career, they might as well deal him to another team.

The Phillies could use a closer… Hell a good closer could clinch the NL Pennant for them!

The Angels, the Marlins, the Cubs or the Giants could all use an upgrade in the closer position.

The Brewers have the only pitcher in history with more saves than Mariano Rivera in Trevor Hoffman… Joba could be groomed to be the next Trevor.

And those teams might pay through the nose to get him. The Yankees could get the next corner outfielder, solid infielder or pitcher to groom in exchange for Joba.

Joba could get some peace of mind with a fresh start, a steady role and oh yeah… a media that doesn’t put the race for the #5 starter on the backpage of the newspaper!

And oh yeah, when Joba has developed into a tremendous closer and Mariano Rivera ultimately retires… the Yankees can just sign Joba as a free agent.

See? It’s the circle of life.

And in honor of Dennis DeYoung, enjoy this…

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  1. Anonymous12:07 PM

    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or what. If you believe in these things, take a look at this:

    Mariano Rivera's awesome 66 innings of 1.76 ERA: 2.0 WAR
    Andy Pettite's mediocre 194 innings of 4.16 ERA:
    3.3 WAR
    Joba's uber-mediocre 157 innings of 4.75 ERA: 1.5 WAR

    1. Joba is 23 and thus still has the upside to do what Pettite did last year and...

    2. His value added to team was very close to that added by Mariano and...

    3.Cost as much as a used condom, that is fantastic value for the team. Money it can use to sign Joe Mauer next year, for example.

  2. I am being a little sarcastic... but any statistic that someone can vomit up that belittles Mariano Rivera's value should be flushed down the toilet

  3. Anonymous12:55 PM

    It doesn't belittle it by any means... a player that pitches only 60ish innings but still racks up a 2+ WAR is a star. Papelbon was at 2.2 as well. If you choose to look at anything but ERA as a metric for a good pitcher (Pitching Runs Created, Win Probability Added, etc) you will see that Rivera's 2009 season was awesome and Joba's value was at least in the same ballpark, notwithstanding the ugly ERA. There is value added in bulk averagish innings.

    If you don't like advanced stats, that's perfectly fine. But if you are going to belittle one, at least be prepared to present a rationale behind. Otherwise you just end up looking like CHB.

  4. I like advanced stats... I also like watching games and using common sense.

    Leaning on stats soley got people to believe Armando Benitez was a good reliever.

    Joba was borderline worthless going into the post season. He wasn't a starter. He was no longer the #2 option out of the pen. He was a mop up man.

    To equate Mariano Rivera to a mop up man's value is by definition belittling him.

    Yes, I think there should be more advanced ways of looking at a pitcher's value than ERA, saves etc. But let me ask you something... last October... in a close game... and you saw Joba on the mound, did you think "Hey, it's not that much different than having Mariano on the mound"?

  5. Anonymous1:59 PM

    This is probably getting a little out of hand but I'm bored at work and I have been rotating between 20 baseball blogs all day so what the hay...

    No doubt Joba lost the faith of the manager towards the end of the season and rightfully so. But that is what young pitchers do and you have to give them time to get better. Jon Lester in 2007 pitched 60 innings and had a 4.57 ERA and wasn't even on the postseason roster. My main point is that, considering how young Joba is and his ceiling, its still too early to say he's a setup man. Now if in 2010 he gets to throw another 150 innings of 4.8 ERA, that would be reason to consider throwing him into the pen. But until that happens, the MFY have to give him a shot to be a good starter.

  6. As a Yankees fan, I would love to see Joba stay in the pen as Mo's setup man. I have little faith in his starting abilities, based on what I had seen in the past. Additionally, the Joba rules are getting old. Let him pitch already, so we can see how effective he really is. I would assume that by removing the Joba rules, he won't be that great of a starter, but who cares? I would much rather see him in as the pretty effective setup guy than as a unpredictable starting pitcher. Mo won't be around forever, and Joba could easily slide into his role, when that day comes. Just my two cents on the matter!

  7. Jon Lester wasn't on the 2007 post season roster? Then who won the World Series clinching game?

    And bringing up Lester shows a big problem in the Yankees handling of Joba. 2 years after having cancer, Lester was throwing 210 innings and pitching like a true #2 starter.

    Meanwhile, Yankee brass call the Red Cross the second Joba throws 10 pitches a game.

    The somewhat tongue in cheek but kind of serious conceit of this post is maybe it's not going to happen in New York... a place where set up men and #5 starters are a main topic of conversation.

    I think the Joba rules have done more harm than good. They've made his role vague and not helped him avoid injury.

    He's shown that he is a terrific reliever and an eh starter. I say do what you are good at. You say "Do what you are mediocre at."

    I guess it is a different philosophy.

    I had this same argument with Red Sox fans about Jonathan Papelbon before the 2007 season. I thought he was best served in the bullpen... and last year's meltdown against the Angels not withstanding, I think the Sox made the wise decision