The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Newsday: Joba Chamberlain says he can be a starter again, but Yankees laugh it off

In many ways, the topic was a moot point. Most interesting was the reaction of Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, who in separate meetings with reporters, wore pained, irritated looks when asked several questions about it, and ultimately responded with sarcasm, as if Chamberlain had expressed a fantasy akin to colonizing Mars.

“First I’ve heard of it,” Girardi said of Chamberlain expressing a desire to start. “I’d like to catch one more game, too.”

As the manager walked away and Cashman entered the media scrum, the 48-year-old Girardi said: “Cash, I told them, my answer was, I’d like to catch five innings, that’s it, one [more] time. You’ll get a kick out of it.”

Said Cashman: “We’re down an outfield bat right now, too. [We’ll] see if he can play center or not.”

Yeah, it’s the same topic as the last thread, but the Yankees’ reaction really irritates me.

Am I still a fan of the team if I hate the way they do almost everything?  Perhaps I should consult with Jeter is King?

--Posted at 9:04 am by SG / 45 Comments | - (0)


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Had a long comment about Cashman’s inconsistency, and how they’re letting Pineda work through his shoulder injury without talk of putting him in the pen, but I got too annoyed.

[0] Definately not a rational thing and that’s the beauty of it.

Your short comment got the point across well, yankz.

Looking back, it is truly a mystery how the guy could be in the running for a starting job in 2010 and now three years later the very thought of him being a starter is apparently laughable.

I dunno.  I don’t think Cash/Girardi necessarily think it’s laughable that Joba could start.  Obviously, Joba COULD start.  However, they only have him under contract for this one year and, as of now, they obviously don’t need him as a starter for this year.  I don’t think they owe it to Joba to try to shoehorn him into the rotation right now, especially where it doesn’t even appear Joba has been pressing the issue with them.

If Joba wants to start, he can find a team next year that will give him the chance.  But as far as the Yankees are concerned, that ship has already sailed.

I really hope Joba goes somewhere else, beomes a good starter and shoves it down the Yankees’ collective throat.

How bad a season will it take to get Cashman and Levine fired?  I think I might be rooting for that.

[5] I’m almost certain that will happen. Sure, he might not be able to physically make it through the season, but neither can Hughes or Pineda or Pettitte or…

[4] With the rotation they have, it is guaranteed that they will need at least two other starters this year.

[4] If they don’t think it’s laughable, then it’s pretty bad (imprudent, impractical, unethical) that they’re publicly laughing at him.

[4] I think Cashman/Girardi are more annoyed that this has come up again than anything.  I’m sure they’re tired of answering questions about it.

[5] A lot, lot worse than you think.  Of course it’s getting to the point where I’m almost rooting for Cashman to leave and Levine (he’s not going anywhere) gets to hand-pick his new GM.  Then everyone can see what life is like on the other side, and start wishing they had Cashman back (who will probably be in Seattle building a winner).  Of course, I really don’t feel like going through 1988-1992 again…

[6] I don’t think that’s guaranteed at all…unless you are being quite literal, as even if everyone is 100% healthy and effective it is likely a couple of other guys will get spot starts for double-headers, September callups, etc.  I think it’s very possible that they’ll get 125+ starts from their top-4, and that either Nova or Phelps grabs the 5th spot and pitches well enough (and stays healthy enough) to get another 25+ starts.  Is it worth converting Joba back to a starter for 12 or less starts when they also have Pineda hopefully coming back?  I only think it’s worth it if they intend on Joba being a full-time starter.

It’s the same story every year, and what else can they do but laugh about it. Everything’s been said, and nobody is going to change their minds.

I would certainly go if I were Joba. The Yankees probably cost him a lot of money by moving him to the pen.

Yeah, I don’t see the point in basically mocking him with extreme sarcasm.  That’s our job.

They are giving you cover for the lie that this is not an official site of the New York Yankees.

I agree Girardi sounded a bit DB-ish in brushing off Joba’s aspirations to be a starter that way, but I would ask, so what?  Giradi will make 10,000 off-the-cuff comments to reporters this year.  This ONE happened to come across as flippant.  He’s supposed to be a baseball manager, not Emily Post. 

As for the baseball side of it, it just seems to me what people are griping about is a decision made a long time ago by the Yankees that they like Joba more as a reliever than as a starter.  Right or wrong—and I think it may well have been wrong— there’s no particular reason for the Yankees to revisit that decision right now.  Again, if Joba really wants to be a starter, he can pursue that goal with another team in just a few months.

[10] Or kept him from breaking down completely and being out of baseball.  We’ll really never know.

[11] I’d bet they’re more mocking the media than Joba.  Of course, it’s possible Joba is their target for whatever reason.  Girardi especially though I don’t see that with, unless he’s VERY frustrated with Joba.

Do you think Joba’s shoulder injury was worse than Pineda’s? And if so, why did the Yankees make him a starter in 2009 and have him compete for a starting job in 2010? What do the Yankees know about Joba’s arm that he himself doesn’t?

Joba didn’t have surgery, did he?  If that’s the case it’s hard to imagine his injury was worse.

The injury angle seemed possibly plausible to me at the time, with the idea that they shouldn’t talk down an asset they might trade - but what’s the issue now with just telling the truth?  “Joba’s got starter talent but we think he’s at too great a risk of getting injured throwing x innings based on blah.”

[17] But that theory could be thrown out when they refused to include him in a deal for Haren - I think at the trade deadline in 2010.

The Yankees have been very confusing with their handling of the whole Joba starter/reliever thing. I’m pretty happy the Yankees stuck with Hughes as a starter, but it really makes no sense that they chose him over Joba (with the information we have). Hughes had 2 pitches, sometimes 2.5 (now he seems to have a workable change) while Joba had 4 usable pitches with at least 2 of them commonly accepted as plus.

Not only did Joba seem better equipped to start, he had better success in his limited experience that Hughes did. AND Hughes was a better reliever than Joba.

There must be some information that we don’t have access to that informed their decision to go with Hughes over Joba. Or the Yankees are insane.

Insanity is possible, also Joba’s debut in 2007 probably had an outsized influence on their view, so I’m not sure they would agree that Hughes was a better reliever than Joba.

[17 & 18] There could be other reasons in addition to injury.  Maybe they didn’t like something they saw in 2009 when he was a starter.  Maybe they think he’ll never mature and will always be a risk to do something stupid which will injure himself.  Maybe there’s just no point in telling everyone how they feel.

Also, w/o remember all the details, I doubt it was Joba himself holding up the Haren deal.  More like Joba PLUS whatever else they wanted for him.  Also, even if it was Joba, if they felt he was a 2 win/year reliever, he had like 7 wins of value left in him, and a ton of residual value.

So either the Yankees decided a 24 year old will never mature, or felt that they should give up based on something they saw in 2009 (ignoring 2008 and his great talent) rather than try to work through it? I can’t say that either of those inspires much confidence.

Nik Turley looking awful against the Orioles right now.

[21] The problem with any of those ‘what ifs’ is that, if the risk is ever realized, he just ends up becoming a reliever anyway. I suppose you can imagine a scenario where making him be a starting pitcher destroys his arm and he can’t pitch at all, but that would be really far fetched.  Hell, he ended up with TJS anyway.

I think it’s clear the Yankees just don’t like him.  Some behind the scenes thing maybe.  And BD, it’s not just one flippant comment from Girardi, Cashman mocked him too.

“Maybe they didn’t like something they saw in 2009”

What could that something be?  I’ve never been able to come up with a good guess.  And how likely is that to be relevant 4 years later, given that he’s in several ways a different athlete?  If they’re worried he’ll hurt himself somehow which doesn’t apply when he’s a reliever, they should just have had him start and let Phelps take over if that day ever comes.  They’d probably get more innings out of him in any case, and they’d find out something of value if they happened to be wrong about whatever it is.

Jayson Nix with a throwing error in the top of the 1st, then bounces into a DP in the bottom of the inning.  Good stuff.  Is there even any competition for the backup infielders this year, or is it definitely going to be Nunez and Nix?

You know I’m just going to give up this argument.  No good will come of it.  Hopefully everyone else will realize the same.

[27] Nunez I think is the leading candidate, with Nix likely in 2nd place.  After that in no particular order or Joseph, Adams, and Pirela.  Adams and Joseph are both on the 40-man.  Neither can really play SS, but then again Nix wasn’t supposed to be able to and did OK last year (and obviously Nunez has issues). 

Adams can handle 3rd and 2nd at at one point was considered a plus defender.  Ankle injuries may have robbed him of that.  He’s also already 26 and hasn’t played above AA yet.  Joseph is 24, lefty (also means he’s a bat off the bench), and has hit well in AAA.  He’s been age appropriate or a bit younger at every level.  They have him playing 3rd today, but defense is an issue for him.  Finally Pirela, only 23 this year but hasn’t played AAA yet.  Last year was both a) his first decent season with the stick and b) the first year he didn’t play SS at all.  So I’m sure they’ll want him to have consecutive years of hitting well, and then he maybe the UIF in 2014 if Nunez either graduates to starter or fails off the team.

My bet is Nunez is the opening day UIF, unless an injury forces him to start and then they activate Nix.

[28] cage match? ChrisS can referee.

[28] One good would be to reach a clear understanding and a general accord.  If say the FO is obviously doing something dumb, and that’s universally agreed on in the saber community, maybe that fact would trickle up from the basements to reporters and eventually force the FO to fix their error.  And we’d achieve the goal of not needing ever to discuss the issue again.

If I had to guess, I would say that the Yankees know they messed up but are too stubborn and/or don’t care anymore. It seems the most plausible to me. The injury angle doesn’t make sense and I really hope it’s not just “his stuff is better in the bullpen.”

[30] Depends who the opponent is…

[31] Oh no, I’m not falling for this trick!  You just want me to discuss why we should/shouldn’t discuss it, then we’ll end up discussing it…

[32] That’s possible but unlikely.  Cashman in many other places has been quite candid about things, often to the point that people complain he’s being too candid.

Dang I discussed it!

[31] Just like the Royals.

I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Yankees made a mistake in not trying Joba as a starter longer, plenty of organizations miss potential and whatnot (Morrow and Seattle). I also wouldn’t be shocked to find that the Yankees believed Joba simply could not stand up to a full work load with his mechanics, which many believed made him very injury prone with its violent ending phase.

Personally, I would have let Joba start until he proved he could not, but the Yankee (hopefully) have more data than we do.

Nunez can’t play 2b and I don’t think they even want him to play 3b which would basically make him worthless.  So unless Cervo is the back up 2b I would be surprised if Nunez and Nix don’t both make the 25 man.

Has anyone else experienced the site loading really slowly recently?  I’m on Firefox.

File under “Of Course”:

[37] I can suggest a good substitute.

Just schedule the TJS now.

[38] Is this about Mariano?

[38] Is this about Mariano?

[39] I’m not sure that works on backs.

[40] No, though I do think he probably should have been a starter.

And to think, I always thought that mocking Yankee players was limited to people outside the Yankee organization.

[43] That’s what I meant.

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