Saturday, October 13, 2007

Joba to the rotation

Buried within this article about Torre is the the news that the Yanks are moving Joba to the rotation next year:

"The only thing that's been decided, that we all agree on, is that (Joba) Chamberlain and (Phil) Hughes start out spring training as starters. Our pitching has got to be better next year, the starting rotation." -Hank Steinbrenner

So we're starting off with a rotation of Wang, Hughes, and Joba. That leaves two spots for Pettitte, Moose, Kennedy, and Igawa. We also have one more top pitching prospect that could force his way into the equation by midyear (Alan Horne).

Ideally, Pettitte comes back for one more year, Igawa is moved to the bullpen, and Moose is put out to pasture so that Kennedy can grab the 5 slot.

Hopefully this means Humberto Sanchez will be moved to the bullpen to setup for Mo (I'm not even considering the possibility that he's pitching elsewhere, for the sake of my sanity).

Then we have plenty of organizational depth should any of the starters get hurt (Clippard, Karstens, Wright, Rasner, DeSalvo, etc.).

So considering the Yanks scored more runs this year than any season since the 40's, and they really don't need to do much to bolster the pitching staff, ideally they will focus their offseason efforts on not losing too much offense (i.e. A-Rod, Abreu, and Posada).


Michael in New York said...

Thanks for finding that. They ALL agree Joba should begin the season as a starting pitcher? I wonder why that's so obvious. It isn't to me. My God, I forgot about Igawa; can't we just send him back? Thank god for that $200 mill payroll so mistakes like that can be forgotten. Mussina, I'm afraid, we're stuck with unless like Clemens he just accepts that his body is done and retires. (Fat chance.) Should we be excited by Alan Horne? I know nothing about him and after Hughes, Kennedy and Joba I just can't imagine yet another genuine prospect. Humberto Sanchez, too. Our starting rotation could be so much stronger and I think we'll have six starters because people always break down, so its Wang, Pettitte (please, we need his experience and stability), Hughes, Joba, Kennedy and Mussina. And with that starting rotation, we don't NEED 10 runs a game so not to worry about A-Rod opting out. Small ball! I love it when major info is buried in stories, such as when I found a brief reference to the fact that Torre DIDN'T want to bring in Wang on three days rest but was overruled. You'd think that would have been played much bigger, given it was one of the major flubs of the postseason. Guess Cashman et al didn't feel like taking credit for that one.

Michael in New York said...

Everyone keeps mentioning next week as a time for decisions. But don't they need to wait until after the World Series so as not to distract from what Selig wants to be the major story in baseball? That means we've got more like 20 days before a decision is made.

joe said...

Horne was an 11th round pick due to injury concerns but really came into his own last season as was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. He's probably the perfect candidate for a trade should the Yanks decide they need to upgrade somewhere and don't see any free agents that they like.

As for Joba, long term, I think he's better off in the rotation. You just can't replace a guy that can come in give you 7 quality innings every five days. I love Mo, but does anyone think he would have been a GREAT starting pitcher? Joba has all the tools to succeed, and I think he will help the Yanks more in the rotation than he ever could out of the bullpen. Especially since I think Sanchez could be that guy for them...

priv8pete said...

When the Sheffield trade was made, Sanchez was described as Mo's replacement and I think it might be a good idea to see what Joba can do starting during Spring Training. If it doesn't work out, we can move him back to the pen where he has enjoyed success. It would be nice to have a guy who throws absolute gas to start off each playoff series and make the other team wonder how they're gonna score runs instead of just us.

Michael in New York said...

I'm happy to check Joba's starting possibilities. But do I think Mo would make a great starting pitcher? That's like asking if I think Jeter would make a great catcher. He's a tremendous shortstop. Mo is arguably the greatest closer in the history of the game (as in "closer" as it's been redefined in the past 30 years). Who cares if he wouldn't succeed in another role? Would he have been more valuable as a Beckett-like starter? I really don't think so. When you've got a guy who can be lights out for four of your seven world series games, how do you put a price on that? If Joba can be an ace middle reliever or an ace starter or an ace closer, he will be worth his weight in gold -- I don't care which category it is and I still say that middle relievers and closers are undervalued compared to starters, especially in an age when even the best starters almos always need middle relief and closers to win their games.

joe said...

My point was that if you CAN be a great starting pitcher, then you SHOULD be a great starting pitcher before considering any other possibility.

Mariano's skill set lends itself to being a (best ever) reliever as opposed to an ok starter.

Joba's skill set would lead one to believe that he could be a great starter.

Therefore I think it makes sense to use him as a starter.

If he turns out to be mediocre in that role, then we already know he can be a great reliever and that can be the fallback plan. But I don't think there is anything more valuable in baseball than a bonafide ace.