The New York Yankees began their annual organizational meetings today down in Tampa, Florida. It’s widely known by baseball experts and just baseball fans in general that the Yankees are going to be focusing on pitching this winter. The big questions are obviously which pitchers to go after and who to sign. But in reality, the first question that needed to be answered before all of that centers around young phenom Joba Chamberlain. What will his role be? Is he a starter? A reliever? Does he start in relief then move into the rotation? Well that question has been answered already, and pretty quickly at that.
“The plan as of right now is Chamberlain is going to be a starter,” Hank Steinbrenner said Thursday, “Everybody’s pretty much in agreement with that.”
For most Yankee fans this is great news, they want Joba in their rotation. During his brief two months as a starter he was by far the best pitcher the Yankees could put on the mound. As a starter, Joba went 3-1 with a 2.76 era and 74 strikeouts over 65 and 1/3 innings pitched. If you take out his last start when he began to suffer from the rotator cuff tendinitis he was 3-1 with a 2.23 era over 60 and 2/3 innings.
So it’s settled this kid is going to be a starter next year, but is it best for this team? There is one high profile Yankee player who disagrees. Back in September, catcher Jorge Posada spoke out and said Joba needs to be in the bullpen, or he could continue to suffer from the injury bug.
“Leave him in the bullpen,” Posada said. “If you start him and he pitches 200 innings, he won’t be able to (last). You’re going to lose him. He’s going to get hurt … I don’t see him as a starter. I’d leave him in the bullpen.”
I’m split on this argument. I love Joba as a starter but damn, does he make our bullpen that much better. I don’t even consider the injury thing in my decision cause who knows if its actually being a starter that led to the shoulder issues. The injury could partially be because of the way they converted him midseason back to a starter. We just don’t know. I’ll give you both of my takes thou.
If the rotation doesn’t change, you have to have Chamberlain in the rotation. If the Yankees go into the season with a rotation of Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina then you NEED a pitcher like Joba in there. He’s proven to be a workhorse in his short time. Proven that he will keep your team in the game, and give your bats a chance to win. So if the rotation stays pretty much the same, yes Joba belongs as a starter.
If the Yankees go out and do sign two marquee pitchers, then I feel he should be in the bullpen. Think about it if the Yankees go out, and bring in two out of C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets. AND entertain a possible trade for Jake Peavy. Why would you need Joba in the bullpen? True a rotation with say Wang, Sabathia, Sheets and Joba would be pretty much unstoppable, but overkill when your bullpen was just as shaky the previous season. A rotation that would include Wang, Sabathia and Sheets would be just as unstoppable, especially when you have Joba in the 7th and 8th and Mariano Rivera closing it out. That’s just my opinion thou.
Regardless it’s a good sign that the Yankees were able to come to a conclusion on something so quickly.
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