Starting to Start
Students across the country right now are
graduating and moving on to bigger and better things. Likewise, young Joba
Chamberlain, the Yankees set-up sensation, is graduating to the starting rotation.
The Yankees announced after their game last night that they this was the first
step in the process of stretching Chamberlain out in order to make him a
The Yankees almost made Joba a starter beginning in spring
training, but decided they needed him in the bullpen. After all, the bullpen is
by far the most underrated aspect of the game. Just ask the '07 Red Sox, '05
White Sox, '04 Red Sox, '02 Angels, and the Yankees of the late nineties, All of
whom not only had good closers, but deep bullpens and won the World Series.
Without Chamberlain, this year's Yankees pen, beyond closer Mariano Rivera, is
full of question marks. Chamberlain made games into seven inning affairs, but if
he is a starter, opponents can breathe easier knowing that they will have to come
back against the likes of Kyle Farnsworth, rather than the boy wonder. Which
makes you wonder, why make Chamberlain a starter?
Well, for one thing, the
Yankee rotation this year has had as many question marks as the bullpen. If the
starter can't give you the lead going into the eighth, it makes no difference
who's pitching that inning, and because of the starters' struggles, before last
night Chamberlain had not entered a game in the eighth with the lead in a week.
Joba could give the rotation the dominant pitcher it's been missing. Besides,
the Yankees have a policy that a young pitcher cannot pitch more than 40 innings
more than the previous season. If Joba were the eighth inning guy all year, he
would throw only eighty innings at most this year, meaning he could only throw 120
next year. Thus, if they don't make him a starter now, he won't be able to
start for at least two more seasons, a waste of this incredible talent.
Yankees have said all year that as much as they want to win this year, they are
thinking about the future more than they used to. Making Chamberlain a starter
may mean blowing a few more leads and losing a few more games than they would have
this year. But it also means potentially having an ace down the line that will
mean many more wins in many more years. These new Yanks are more willing to wait
a few years for the pomp and circumstance of another ticker tape parade
»HMLB AL West
(May 22, 2008)