Friday, February 8, 2008

Joba: To Pen Or Not To Pen
There Is No Question

The age-old question which is getting just plain old is what the Yankees plan to do with their new star pitcher, Joba Chamberlain. According to MSNBC columnist Mike Celizic, the Yankees plan to start the season with Chamberlain in the bullpen before moving him into the starting rotation.
The plan announced by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is to start the 2008 season with Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen. That should be good news to the team’s fans. The long-range plan for the season is to move the sensational young pitcher into the starting rotation.
The LA Dodgers performed a similar approach with their own husky power-pitching prospect, Chad Billingsley. *Billingsley began the 2007 season in the bullpen and finished out the year in the rotation. The experiment worked out well for the Dodgers as the righthander earned a 12-5 record with a 3.31 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 148 innings. If Brian Cashman could sign on for that type of production from Chamberlain next season, you had better bet he'd be searching for a pen.

The hope is to keep Chamberlain around 150 innings for the 2008 season, something the Dodgers succeeded in achieving with their valuable righty. As long as Nardi Contreras signs off on a plan calling for Chamberlain to split his season between the pen and the rotation, there should be little to worry about in terms of a Joba injury. Celizic says:
It’s a tough call the Yankees have, one that I wouldn’t like to make. Chamberlain, Philip Hughes and Ian Kennedy are the kids whom the Yankees have groomed to form the core of the team’s rotation for the next decade or longer. And there’s no question New York needs the lift that strong, young arms can give a starting rotation.

The plan all along had been to use the 22-year-old Chamberlain as a starter, the role in which he excelled as a minor leaguer. But last year he proved to be an exceptional reliever, and in this era of ball, there’s no one more important to a team than a great closer.

There's no one more important to a team than a great closer.

Tell that to Colorado Rockies fans who had zero chance against a determined, dominant Josh Beckett. And a Beckett-like pitcher is just what the Yankees organization envisions when they look at Joba Chamberlain. Let the debate continue.


jobaballer said...

new Joba Rules

1 - dominate the 8th inning
2 - dominate the first 7
3 - get a ring
4 - fist pump

Anonymous said...

Billingsley started the year in the pen and finished in the rotation, not the other way around.

Bronx Liaison said...

No Anon, Billingsley started the year in the rotation and then moved to the bullpen to finish the year.

Check out his gamelog:

Anonymous said...

No, he very clearly started the season in the bullpen and then went to the rotation. You check out the game log. Notice the blown save in April? How about the quality starts in September?

Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

look at the gamelogs Biullingsley started in the rotation and moved to bullpen later

Bronx Liaison said...

Anon 3:51 is correct. I am used to the baseball-reference gamelogs which list dates with April at the top and the end of the season at the bottom. The ESPN link is run in the opposite direction so Billingsley did indeed start in the bullpen before closing the season with the rotation.

I apologize for the mistake, but rarely do I NOT get my facts straight.

Bronx Liaison said...