July 27, 2010

I finally figured out the Joba conundrum!

Joba Chamberlain is a mystery man. Some say he’s Mo’s successor, others see him as the next best chubby starter. But I’ve finally discovered a way for Joba to find success in his career! (Joba: Listen up, your ERA is hovering about where my aunt’s would be if she were given a shot in the majors. I love you, Aunt Holly.)

Before I get to the solution, let’s ask Joba what he wants. OK, I admit, that was a silly idea. Every pitcher in the majors wants to be a starter. Why, you ask? Why else? It’s about the money, stupid. Starters make about 10 times the money relievers make. (If you really want to know why that is, just ask yourself who you’d rather have if you were starting a team from scratch: The best starter in the league or the best closer? It’s no contest. Sorry, Mo.)

Now that we’ve determined Joba wants to be a starter, we have to ask him why he thinks he’s qualified. (Just like an employer asking a recruit why he’s fit for the job.) Joba would probably respond:

“Now, if you just took a second or two to look at my track record, you’d see I’m more than qualified to be a starter. In fact, I also think I’m good enough to be a closer — at the same time.

No, I’m not having a great year as the setup guy, and I didn’t give you a great year as a starter last year. But that’s just it, I was only a starter! And this year, I’m only a reliever! 

What manager in his right mind would keep a pitcher in the same role all season long? I begged little Joey to let me close games in between starts last year, but I think he’s got hearing problems in his ears… Never mind, I think the problems are in his teeth. Anyway, back in Nebraska…

I think Chubby’s kinda got a point! Maybe not closing while starting, like he suggests, but splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen during the year. Hey, it worked in 2008: 2.76 ERA as a starter and 2.31 ERA as a reliever. And it also worked in 2007!: 2.45 ERA as a starter (in the minors) and 0.38 ERA as a reliever.

Now look at the past two years. In 2009 he was only a starter (excluding the last game of the year). Most would call that season a failure (4.75 ERA). In 2010, he’s only been a reliever. We all know how that’s been going (5.95 ERA).

Plus, look at all the positive effects his constant role-switch has given the Yankees. Joba battled the bugs in Cleveland back in the ‘07 ALDS and had absolutely nothing to do with the series loss. And last year when the Yanks won it all, it was all because of Joba’s sub-par performance!

So there you have it; Joba should be a starter-reliever for the rest of his career. Quite simply, the manager will determine whether the team’s rotation or bullpen is superior, and then stick Joba in whichever area is better to start the year. That way he’ll end the season doing what’s best for the team heading into the postseason.

Boom. Case closed. Cash, give me a call if you need an assistant for this year’s trade deadline.

Photos originally by Keith Allison and jimmyack205.

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