Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where Should Joba Go?

In the Mo story below, Hank says that with Rivera coming back, it "would be crazy" to have Joba in the bullpen. So where does Joba belong: starting or in the bullpen playing the Mo role of '96 and getting the ball to Wetteland. I agree with my friend Noam, who says that in this day and age, the set-up man is more important than ever. Even your ace isn't expected to give you more than six innings If they do, that's a great story (get through seven innings and it's cause for celebration.) Many, many pitchers don't get out of the fifth. That is standard issue today. The best staff still needs a bridge to get to your close, making middle relief just as vital to getting a win as a starter or a closer. Joba was electric in middle relief, he clearly fed off the crowd and was open to the idea. He could be a kep player in getting us wins two or three games a week, rather than just one. If we get through the sixth inning, it would be LIGHTS OUT. That was a HUGE genuine and psychological advantage for the team. I say Joba in the bullpen makes Andy and Wang and Hughes and Kennedy all the more formidable. He makes everyone's job easier. If he starts, we're still going to need people to get us to the ninth -- even if he pitches great. I say an ace middle reliever is JUST as valuable as an ace starter and ace closer. And with starting pitching rarely getting out of the sixth, an ace middle reliever is crucial. Joba in the bullpen. What say you?


joe said...

An ace middle reliever is obviously much more important this day in age due to the fact that pitchers don't go as long into games as they used to. But I don't think an ace setup man is anywhere near as valuable as an ace starter. Six innings out of your ace is NOT a good start. Six innings out of your #3 starter is good...but a true ACE (Beckett, Santana) should go a minimum of 7 innings -- and in a big game you should be looking for 8 innings out of them so they can hand it over directly to the closer.

I think if Joba is cut out to be a Beckett type of starter then that's where he needs to be. If it turns out that he's only an ok starter (#3 or 4) then by all means move him back to that setup role until he replaces Mo at the end of games.

But I just can't understate the impact that a true #1 starter can have on a game and just as importantly on a playoff series.

Now if by some chance the Yanks end up with six starters next year and one of them NEEDS to go to the bullpen...then maybe Joba is the man for that and this is all a moot point. I for one hope he's out on the mound going for his 20th win in September.

Michael in New York said...

What about the argument that Joba flourished in the set-up role and you don't want to mess with his ego by having him "fail" as a starter when you know he can already be an ace middle reliever. And sure Santana and Beckett will go seven eights, but for 99% of the pitchers out there and for 99 % of the games that ain't gonnna happen. Wang rarely goes seven, Pettitte is getting old, Mussina never goes seven, the kids are untried, meaning with the lineup we have, six is all we ever really expect even from our top starters. You can't compare what Santana and Beckett do to most pitchers and certainly not the ones we have -- and even if your ace goes seven that leaves four pitchers who don't. I'll be thrilled if Joba is going for his 20th win and feel hopeful he'll be a positive force wherever he is.

joe said...

I agree with you about the 99% comment. I'm just hoping Joba turns out to be part of the 1%. And if the Yankees think he can be that guy, they need to give it a shot.