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Yanks Still Missing the Boat on Joba/Hughes

By Mike Silva ~ February 3rd, 2010. Filed under: New York Yankees.

The tired debate of Joba the starter or reliever continues to surface. Maybe it’s because we are deep into Super Bowl week, or more likely due to the indecision of the Yankees brass about what is Chamberlain’s best role.

Joel Sherman reported today that Phil Hughes is in the lead for the fifth starter competition even before pitchers and catchers report. This is primarily due to what they saw from Joba in the playoffs from a velocity, and more importantly, confidence standpoint. One official went as far to say that Chamberlain could very well be the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera.

For Hughes to return to the rotation there would need to be injuries or performance issues from Hughes, Gaudin, and Mitre. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this line of thinking, but the report goes wacky when Sherman broaches the issue of 2011. There is a possibility that Chamberlain, regardless of his bullpen performance this year, may return to the rotation. The Yankees believe his repertoire translate well as a starter.

You can blame Joba all you want for his immaturity, but the Yankees are as guilty for the kids stunted development as anything. They brought him up to save their 2007 season which took him off the development track. Instead of spending time honing his craft at AAA, he was dazzling big league hitters out of the bullpen. Adding insult to injury, they did that whole ridiculous half starter/half bullpen 2008, and away we go. The little league starts at the end of the season were downright embarrassing.

There is nothing wrong with limiting innings. Data shows that abuse of pitchers at an early age leads to long term problems. Why couldn’t the Yankees just pace these innings so Joba could A) Stay in the rotation the whole time and B) Pitch real games, not spring training games, in September. Now you’re asking him to go back to a prior role, albeit one where he is fabulously successful, in 2010. If the long term plan is to have Chamberlain as a starter why do this? At some point you just have to let him develop and take your chances. Maybe it’s better to have one of them spend the season at AAA. The problem is the Yankees, and their fans, don’t have the stomach for development. It’s about winning at all costs, which inherently there is nothing wrong with, but the environment is not conducive to young players. It appears a similar silly schedule is being put together for Hughes this season.

I said earlier in the offseason the best place for Hughes and Chamberlain to be is somewhere else. I hope I am wrong, but something tells me these kids might wind up reaching their potential in a uniform other than pinstripes. That would be the ultimate crime.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Yanks Still Missing the Boat on Joba/Hughes

  1. Ken

    why the hell would the best place for these pitchers be someplace else?

    what other team trades 2 affordable home grown talented pitchers who have been successful and helped win a title?

    sometimes u got rocks for brains mike. i know u want to be controversial and get your name out there but this isnt the issue to do it on

    predicting failure for 2 talented young guys who have been successful in ny is weak

  2. Mike Silva

    I never predicted failure!

    I think for their own personal development they would be better off elsewhere. Not jerked around from the rotation to the bullpen. No other team does this, and the Yanks have done harm to Joba (maybe irreparable). They are good pitchers, but don’t think this current situation will maximize their ceiling.

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