“[Joba Chamberlain is] a starter in the bullpen,” [Brian] Cashman said in a telephone interview. “He can do both. He’s a starter who was just beaten out in the competition. That’s what we honestly believe, but we only had one spot.”
“I think Joba could do either one, I really do,” [Joe] Girardi said. “But right now we think Phil’s a little bit ahead of him as a starter.”
Makes me recall what Hank Stein said about Joba two years ago:
Hank Steinbrenner knows what he wants and knows what’s best for the Yankees.
That’s to get Joba Chamberlain out of the bullpen and into the starting rotation as quickly as possible. He’s 100 percent correct about that. But Steinbrenner also knows the Yankees have to be careful how they play their Joba hand.
“There is no time frame, we can’t rush him back to the rotation, he has to be stretched out, you can’t just flip the switch and make him a starter,” Steinbrenner said yesterday from Tampa. “We’re going to play it by ear.”
Steinbrenner said the Yankees’ brass is on board with the decision; it’s not just his opinion, but the opinion of all the decision makers, including GM Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland.
“I don’t think that was made clear,” Steinbrenner said of a published report that appeared yesterday. “We’re all on board with this. This isn’t just me.”
Joba’s development was set back when the Yankees converted him to a reliever last year, Steinbrenner said. “But I wasn’t around then,” he added. He said he understands that decision enabled the Yankees to make the playoffs, but countered that if the plan is getting Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy rolling in the rotation as quickly as possible, the Yankees need to stick to the plan.
Steinbrenner made it clear Chamberlain best suits the Yankees as a starter and every effort will be made to get Chamberlain to that point as quickly as possible, but it could take a while.
He sees Chamberlain as the Yankees’ Josh Beckett.
“I saw what Beckett did to us as a young pitcher,” he said, referring to Beckett’s dominance of the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, when Beckett pitched the Marlins to the world championship, posting a 1.10 ERA over 161/3 innings at the age of 23. “I’d rather have Joba be a Beckett-type than have him in the bullpen. We already have Mariano (Rivera) as the closer.”
You know how “Wally Pipp” became synonymous for a guy losing his job in baseball due to inury? Well, pretty soon “Joba Chamberlain” is going to become synonymous with totally mismanaging a pitching prospect outside of abusing his arm. The Yankees really did a “wonderful” number with this one…allowing the kid to get a big head while not developing him in a manner to have his skills lead to production that would warrant his attitude. Basically, in Joba, now, the Yankees have a kid who thinks his great, and who’s not, and who has been back and forth between the pen and starting too many times in the last four years.
Joba Chamberlain is not the next Josh Beckett. Instead, the Yankees have turned him into the next Scott Elarton.