The Great Debate

Well Yankee fans, both sides of the Joba debate got exactly what they wanted last night in Cleveland. Chamberlain started, and pitched through the eighth, bridging the gap to Mariano Rivera.

I have to stand my ground though on my stance to put him back in the bullpen. As Ozzie Guillen said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “I’d rather face him once every five days then every night.” You get the idea.

John Flaherty talked about this very topic in Flash Forward this week on Find out what the Yankees catcher thinks about the Joba situation by clicking here.

All of you out there who are sick of this topic, well I’m sorry. Some people like to beat Brangelina or Brittany to death in the figurative sense, I am in the business of beating the starter-reliever thing to death. Like it or not, it will be around the whole season. I suggest you get used to it.

There are times this season Chamberlain left you looking at the glass as half empty, and other times like last night, he left you looking at the glass as half full. When he was a reliever the glass was overflowing.

The more Chamberlain is inconsistent, and the closer he inches to his pitch counts every night and his innings limit for the season, this Great Debate will continue to rage on.



    As far as I’m concerned there is no debate. PUT HIM IN THE PEN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hmm lets see all these pitches to choose from… lets see how the kid feels about the old #1


    So boring. So useless. Not going to happen.
    Visions of the only few relief appearances of his career, as if he’d be an 0.38 reliever forever.
    Talk about lack of length in a 23-year-old future ace as if he weren’t in the process of … developing length! Please look at the early years of Santana and Sabathia and Pedro and Halladay and etc., etc. – they all went through this. If you had a young Halladay or Sabathia or Pedro or Santana, would you do anything but laugh at an offer to trade any of them for Joba in the eighth?
    Fortunately, the team is paying zero attention to this media brain-lock.
    Eventually, even with Francesa’s obsessive personality, this will simply have to die so we can actually talk about something relevant to the team.


    You are right on Chris. Joba should be in the pen.
    Remember the days of Mo and Wetteland and the impact
    they had on games.
    With Chien-Ming Wang on the road to recovery and
    Phil Hughes pitching the way everyone thought he might
    our starting pitching is very solid.
    Lets shorten the game by two innings.


    Apparently being an idiot is the main requirement for beating a dead horse.

    A starter is more valuable than a reliever. Period. End of story. Paraphrasing Ozzie Guillien doesn’t change that fact.

    In Mariano Rivera’s greatest year (2005), he still only contributed 3.8 wins above a replacement (WAR) reliever. Kevin Brown posted a 2.5 WAR in 2004. There were over 35 starters who contributed more wins to their teams than Mariano did in 2005, and not a single reliever in 2008 came within half a win of Mo’s 2005 contribution. Does that clue you in a bit about the relative value of relievers versus starters?

    That a man like you gets paid to opine on something he is so obviously clueless about saddens me.

  5. Chris Shearn

    Not everyone has to agree with my opinions. That’s what is so cool about blogging. There are certain things you should know though. Number one, I don’t get paid anything extra to write about what I feel. It’s my opinion. You have yours. I have mine. People disagree on things all the time, but when people like you resort to name calling to prove a point it makes me scared for the future. Two, chew on this. Are the Yankees built to win now? Or are the Yankees built to win five years from now when the kid gloves are taken off this kid? I’m not saying he could be an ace down the road. One of the weaknesses of this team is the bullpen. My point, and John Flaherty’s point by the way, who just happens to be a former major league catcher, is that he is more valuable to this team NOW as a reliever. He would strengthen the only Yankees weakness. Unless you want to keep up with the inconsistency and keep throwing meaningless statistical categories that all you number crunchers who never played a lick of baseball throw out there when you are backed into the corner of an arguement. So I guess you knew Zack Greinke was going to have a great year this year too. Because of your little abacus. Thank you for your comment Nostradamus. I look forward to more drivel in the future.

  6. Chris Shearn

    Let me add one more thing…Let me ask all the number crunchers a question…if heaven forbid…Mariano Rivera was injured…who would close for this team? Now give me your little acronyms and your little stats.


    First off, how can anyone say a reliever is more important than a starter? Without a decent starter, having a good reliever is all moot. You dont need that guy if the game is a blowout.

    I would like someone to tell me any other relievers that you can think of that have 4 developed pitches? Look at Mariano Rivera. He was a starter that went to the pen in the minors because he only had 2 pitches. Look at Mark Melancon; he was brought up as a reliever for those same reasons. Joba was NOT developed in the minor leagues as a reliever, he was a STARTER. Just like Andy Pettitte was. Not like Francesa knows anything about the minor league system but someone might want to tell him that Joba wasn’t always a relief pitcher.

    I don’t understand how this is such a hard concept. Joba will be in the pen at the end of the year anyhow, once he reaches his limit for innings. Why push back his progress by throwing him back in the bullpen? He is 23 years old and has the potential to be great. Sure, you can say hes great in the bullpen, but I am sure the same could be said about Roy Halladay and any other great pitcher that has a full repertoire of pitches. To give up on Joba when you could get length out of him every 5 days to becoming solely an 8th inning man (when you never know what games he will actually be an impact to) is just so ridiculous.

    In regards to Ozzie’s statement “I’d rather face him once every five days then every night”, how exactly do you know he will be in every night? Having him be an 8th inning man give you no guarantee on when he will contribute to the game. Plus, there are other options you can have for an 8th inning man (ie, Melancon, Claggett, etc.). Tell me who the 8th inning man is for the guy on the Orioles, or the Rangers. It is probably a reject, not a 23 year old guy who is great. Anyhow, this is my very long opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own. Good blog though Chris, I just don’t happen to agree with you on this topic.


  8. kbp


    Forgive me but this is a first time poster all the way from Melbourne Australia

    I have watched every Yankee game via MLB for many years now and had the pleasure of going to NYC last year and caught 9 games at the old stadium. One of the inspirations for the trip was to see two pitchers , Andy and Joba. All I had seen of Joba was as a reliever. He was beyond description lights out game over after 7, usually. His game against The Sox 1-0 up at Fenway coming in in the 8th under that pressure his composure for a 21 year old was unbelievable. His ability that day to throw at what 96-101 mph, I wish I was there. That said I saw him against The Indians when he was hit for a three run home run and he was devastated. That night he did not go close to throwing one fast ball, all sliders mainly. The one he did throw went over the fence and it puzzled me, obviously he was in starter preparation mode then. The next night he came on against the same player, first pitch 98 mph, that took guts.
    What then Chris if he goes back to the pen and comes on when they are 4 up or 4 down. Is he of value then, no. The only solution is that he stays as a starter one in five. The four off days he comes on in relief, then everyone will be happy. I have switched back and forth favouring one then the other. He is what 23. I thought two years ago I was witnessing a kid on the verge of becoming one of the greater starters seen better than Halliday at the same age.
    I would be prone to nearly agreeing with you, the weakness is the bull pen and he would be huge in that area NO DOUBT. Having said that as they say one swallow does not make a summer BUT against Cleveland he was beyond sensational through 8. His first pitch was 94mph, in the eighth he thre pitches ranging from a SLOW 94mph to 98mph ( given the gun was accurate ) After that I am now back to having him as a starter, CC, Burnett Joba, Pettite Hughes and Wang in the pen–= unbeatable.

    Bryan Melbourne

    Keep up the interesting comments though.

  9. Chris Shearn

    Thank you everyone for your feedback…as I said I welcome anyone to challenge anything I write about. This is a debate that can go on forever. We actually debated about it in the studio too.
    Last night before BPTV, me and the crew were going back and forth. We each agreed we had fair points to our sides of the arguement.
    I guess the bottom line is, to have six healthy starters (Joba included) is a good problem to have.
    The best point brought up in our discussion before BP was by Brandon our statistician. He said if the Yankees have three starters, hypothetically speaking, CC, Burnett, and Wang, who are lights out by the time the post season arrives, you can put Joba in the pen to bolster the back end of games…especially if he has reached his innings limit. Let’s just hope everyone stays healthy and let’s stop this bickering and celebrate the first place Yankees. Ten games over 500!

  10. inyomommasbed2

    Remember the days of Wetteland, Rivera. Then Rivera, Stanton and Nelson. Those were the days.

    You know, the days when they had Jimmy Key, David Cone, young Andy Pettite, David Wells, El Duque, Roger Clemens.

    They won because their top 4 starters were better than the other team’s top 4 starters in the playoffs. How do you guys not see that?

    From 2001 to 2007, look at the games when they were knocked out.

    We all know that in 2001 Mariano got unlucky in blowing game 7. In 2003 Pettite got out-dueled Josh Beckett.

    In every other year the game was over before the “all-important eighth”. In most of those it was over before the 6th because their starter was better than ours. The bullpen didn’t even come into play in any of those elimination games.

    A bullpen that locks things down in the 7th – 9th is only great because the starter left with a lead. How can you not see that it’s better to have 4 guys that can lock down the first 6-7 innings than 1 guy to lock down the 8th IN THE EVENT that they have a lead? 6 is more than 3. So how can the last 3 innings be more important that the first 6. It’s not chaos math people.

    If we had better starters we would have won in 2004. If we had 4 starters we could’ve matched up better with Detroit in 06 and Cleveland in 07.

    The only reason those 90’s bullpens are glorified is because the starters handed them leads.

  11. letsgoyankees

    As in, if Mo retired next year, Joba’d be starting (as he should) and someone else, someone who doesn’t have the potential to be an Ace, would close.

  12. Chris Shearn

    Letsgoyankees – as i said – this can be argued back and forth – for years to come – I interviewed John Flaherty again today and he thinks – a former major league catcher – thinks Joba best suits this team right now as a reliever – I am not saying you are right or wrong…thanks again for the comment


    Hey chris I am Jonathan I really think that Jorge Posada is Really well catching the ball that is why I think that he is the best catcher ever

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