Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Today In Tabloid Hysteria

The Yankees have only played one game and there's not much in the way of meaningful conclusions to draw from it. Should we A) wait for the season to progress a little further and see which of the things we saw Opening Night actually develop into legitimate trends or B) start panicking because the Yankees bullpen is grossly inadequate and has an ERA of 13.50!?!1!??

Your move, George A. King III:
BOSTON - Could the Yankees regret Phil Hughes beating out four other arms to cop the fifth spot in the World Champions' rotation?
If you're asking if the Yankees will regret making the potentially catastrophic mistake of choosing the best pitcher for the open spot in their starting rotation, I think the answer is probably "no". Regardless of what happens this year, I think the Yankee brass is going okay with the fact that they picked the guy who was throwing the best during Spring Training. And of course, whether the decision turns out well or doesn't has nothing to do with how the bullpen performs and everything to do with how Hughes fares in the rotation.
But how good would Hughes have looked Sunday night out of the pen in that ugly 9-7 loss to the Red Sox in Fenway Park?
How good would True Yankee Set-Up Man™ Joba Chamberlain© have looked back there, with his blazing fastball and unhittable slider, back in his natural role as a reliever? Oh, that's right. He came out of the pen, needed 33 pitches to get through an inning and a third and gave up a run.

I've found that pitchers generally look better in your mind than they do on the mound. When you're just imagining them facing the other team, it's like "Pfffttttsssssssssss, zooooooommmmm, wooosssssshhhhhhhh! STRIKE OUT!!!"

/makes stupid faces and exaggerated pitching motions

Unfortunately, in real life, the batter has a say in what happens and he generally doesn't give a shit about how you think that pitcher should look or perform.
The "Argument That Never Ends" is supposed to be about Chamberlain's role. Now, maybe that same debate should center around Hughes.
Well, George, if you could take you own arguments to their logical conclusion, you'd realize that this debate still does involve Chamberlain. Both of them should be in the bullpen while one of two guys who are older and worse than them occupy a spot in the starting rotation? That's a terrible solution on two fronts because it's both ineffective and short-sighted. That's a tough trick to pull off. But what would you expect from the guy who said Aceves was "leading the race to be the 5th starter" three appearances into Spring Training?

It's a poor allocation of resources to put superior pitchers in the bullpen when they are capable of starting (not to mention the fact that neither Hughes nor Joba would even be the closer). They aren't going to get enough high leverage innings to justify their presence there. It doesn't make sense for the future of the franchise either, because the two pitchers who have the best chance of holding down spots in the starting rotation over the long term would be stuck in the 'pen. But other than that, the plan is GENIUS!


  1. If the Yankees lose tonight, King's article tomorrow will be entitled, "On Pace For 0-162", complete with a list of panic buttons in your area.

  2. Before we talk about Chamberlain's role, can we talk about Chamberlain? He throws 5 mph less than he did in 2008. He doesn't thave the stuff he used to have. What happened?

  3. Well, first off, it's still early in the season. Pitchers don't usually reach their maximum velocity until the weather warms up and they get more innings under their belt.

    The bout with shoulder tendinitis that Joba had in 2008 probably has a lot to do with his decreased velocity. Either he lost some explosiveness in his arm or the Yankees altered his delivery slightly so as to mitigate the amount of stress he was putting on his shoulder.

    Sure, we'd like to see Joba throw harder, but the days of 97-98-99 on the radar gun are likely gone for good. He's going to have to learn how to get guys out with lesser stuff. And if he can work his way up to 95mph or so by the time May or June rolls around, that should be plenty.

  4. @Grammarian,

    Like Jay said above, Joba has never been the same since that injury in Texas. Besides the two reasons he mentions, both of which could be the problem, Joba may also not trust his arm like he used to and is afraid to let it fly.

    We'll see in a few weeks how his velocity is and get a better idea of what the Yankees actually have with this guy.

  5. But don't you agree that his constant shuffling from pen to starter to pen to starter to pen has affteched his confidence at least a little bit? After all, when we first saw him that was one of his main components. It was probably beneficial to him and now it's been stripped from him like a Yankees lead in the bottom of the 7th. I mean, it's not like his head was screwed on that tight to begin with. A lot of people see a basketcase mindfuck out there on the mound.