Where is the Uproar for "Price to the 'Pen"?
The constant yammering of talking heads on TV and sports talk radio about how Joba Chamberlain needs to be moved back to the bullpen brings up a question: why is everyone just focused on Joba? I have made it clear in this space a number of times that Chamberlain is best utilized as a starter. His numbers are great for a 22 year old in his second season in the rotation. He's not an ace yet, but if nobody had ever seen him pitch from the bullpen, the locals would be ecstatic about his progress. Unfortunately, idiots like Mike Francesa like to point out how "his ERA is better as a reliever." Well of course it is. When a pitcher only has to throw 20 pitches instead of 80-100, they can let it fly without fear of tiring. Look at Phil Hughes' splits between the rotation and the bullpen this year, and you'll see what I mean. Imagine Roy Halladay's numbers in the 8th inning! Bridge!
Aside from rehashing that old argument, one has to wonder why nobody seems to be making the same (flawed) rationale for David Price of the Rays.
Price was a phenom last season. He was brought up at the very end of 2008 and was used from the bullpen, eventually becoming the closer that brought the Rays to their first World Series. He had a .929 WHIP, a 1.93 ERA, and a 230 ERA+ in the regular season, lowering that to a 0.00 ERA and .857 WHIP in the post season. He was a stud, an unhittable Roy Hobbs type striking out every Whammer he saw.
Of course, the long-term plan for Price (as it should be with any good young pitcher with 3+ quality pitches) was for him to be a starter, so that's where the Rays had him slotted this season. He hasn't done well.
Price is 2-3 with a 5.21 ERA in 38 innings this year and is averaging less than 5 innings per start. Yet there is no outrage from pundits, nobody on Baseball Tonight is screaming about moving him to the bullpen. Steve Phillips, of all people, is advocating patience (Phillips, by the way, was firmly in the "Joba in the 'pen" camp).
Maybe it's just that Chamberlain plays in New York that he gets this kind of scrutiny. Maybe it's the "win now at all costs" mentality. However this is the same mentality that gutted the Yankees' farm system in the 1980s and early 90s, and again in the early 2000s.
Price needs time to develop. He's a huge talent and should be a star in the years to come. Maybe he will be sent down to the minors to work on his pitches and control, maybe not.
I'm just curious why there's no uproar to move a guy who is failing spectacularly as a starter back to the 'pen where he dominated, and there is for a guy who is doing a better than league average job in his role as a starter.
Labels: bullpen, david price, joba chamberlain, pitching rotation, steve phillips, they're still the devil rays
posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:45 AM