Christ on a cracker, John Harper, let it go. In today's Daily News, we get this nonsense:
A new Job-a? Harper: At some point, the Yanks need Joba back in the 'pen to have any hope of winning a championship. Maybe Phil Hughes can help convince them.
Think about that for a second: the absolutes. "The Yanks need Joba back in the 'pen to have any hope of winning a championship." Give me a break. Here's the rest of the nonsense here:
If successful, Phil Hughes could put Joba Chamberlain back in Yankees' bullpen
Updated Tuesday, April 28th 2009, 8:32 AM
So tonight Phil Hughes gets a chance to begin recapturing his can't-miss status of a couple of years ago, and maybe this is where the Yankee season begins to find its footing. Hughes could solve so many problems if he is ready to mature into a dependable major league starter, directly and indirectly.
Obviously he plugs the Chien-Ming Wang spot in the starting rotation, but beyond that, he gives the Yankees flexibility to make the move they may need to save their season.
It's fucking April. The Yankees are .500 and they've done it without A-Rod, who is coming back soon. "Save the season"? What the fuck?
Yes, Joba Chamberlain. It's an old debate but with a new twist, since Brian Bruney is out now with an elbow injury, leaving a bullpen - in front of Mariano Rivera - that could be hazardous to Joe Girardi's job status at some point.
No, it's the same fucking debate with the same fucking twist and you just can't seem to get past it.
I'm not saying the Yankees should move Chamberlain back to his set-up role immediately if Hughes delivers a solid start tonight.
God forbid you would say anything crazy.
They need to find out more about Bruney's elbow problem, and how long he is likely to be out. They need to see if the highly touted Mark Melancon can be a savior of sorts for the bullpen. And they need to see if Wang can be fixed in Tampa over the next couple of weeks.
No, they don't. Joba is a starting pitcher. Always was, except when you first saw him.
But if the Yankees learned anything from their lost weekend in Boston, it's that they need a much better bullpen to match up with the Red Sox in the late innings, where their head-to-head meetings are so often decided.
Here's what they learned: Game 1: Joba (!) pitches 5.1 innings of one run ball. The bullpen gets the game from the 6th through the 9th with one more run. Rivera gave up a lead when the bullpen gave him the chance for a save. Can't blame the bridge there. Also does anyone find it disturbing that Harper wants Joba in the 'pen to protect leads by the starter, Joba? Game 2: Burnett is handed a 6 run lead and can't hold it, surrendering 8 ER. Doesn't sound like the only problem with Game 2 was the bullpen, but they did blow a couple of leads. The problem here, of course, is that your starter shouldn't be giving up 8 fricken' runs. Game 3: The Yankee offense couldn't score. Pettitte pitcher 6 innings, Melancon 2 innings. Melancon doesn't give up a run.
So essentially, Harper believes that the Yankees should have "learned they need a better bullpen to match up with Boston" because the bullpen faltered in a game in which the starter gave up 8 runs.
For now, at least, they seem firmly committed to keeping Chamberlain in the rotation. But part of the equation here is that he shows no signs of being a dominating starter.
It's been three starts. He's a kid. To anyone other team, their top prospect having a 3.94 ERA would not be sending off alarm signals. Get a grip here.
Indeed, during the weekend at Fenway Park full of ugly pitching numbers, the most alarming number of all came from Joba's pitching line on Friday night:
Of the 91 pitches he threw, only two produced a swing-and-miss. He used to get two per at-bat, it seemed, as a blow-away reliever.
It's like Harper doesn't follow baseball at all. Relievers will get more K/IP than starters, because they're more focused on getting through one or two guys and not setting guys up for their next at bat or saving something in the tank.
Chamberlain did show plenty of grit in his start against the Red Sox, inducing four double-play balls that allowed him to escape big trouble and surrender one run over 5-1/3 innings. But where is the dominance?
Three. Fucking. Starts. As a starter in his career, Joba is 3-1 with a 2.43 K/BB ratio and a 2.99 ERA. Admittedly his WHIP is a bit high this year at 1.8, but the BABIP shows that at .335, he's been pretty unlucky. These things balance themselves out eventually.
Soon after his conversion from the bullpen at midseason last year, he blew away the Sox over seven innings, allowing three hits while striking out nine hitters as he outdueled Josh Beckett.
Well fuck! Let's get him out of that role based on a second game in which he didn't do as well!
On Friday night, meanwhile, Chamberlain allowed 14 baserunners in 5-1/3 innings, and struck out two. In his three starts this season he has allowed 32 baserunners in 16 innings, while getting 11 strikeouts. Although he has managed to limit the damage to a 3.94 ERA, it's clear this is not the Joba who was automatic out of the bullpen.
No starter will ever be that dominant. Let's look at that for a second - Harper is complaining that Joba the Starter is not as dominant as Joba the Reliever. You want to see Joba the Starter's stats if he were? Fictional Joba Average season: 17-6, 1.53 ERA, 293K. That would be extrapolating his reliever stats over a full season as a starter (and the wins total is actually low because Joba rarely came into a game in which the Yankees were tied/behind). If that's what Harper expects, he's insane.
Since spring training the fastball velocity has been an issue, as he throws mostly around 92-93 mph now as opposed to 96-97 when he was relieving.
When you're throwing more pitches, they won't be as fast. Let me give you another example: Let's say in 1992, Carl Lewis decided to run a marathon, and ran well. John Harper would be mocking Lewis for not averaging the same speed that Lewis had in his record-breaking 100-yard dash, regardless of the fact that no human has ever even come close to anything like that.
And while his celebrations as a reliever may have been a bit over the top, he seemed fueled by the emotion and let-it-go fire he could pour into a one-inning stint, as opposed to pacing himself as a starter.
The combination of lower velocity and a mostly placid demeanor have baseball people wondering what's wrong with Joba.
"There shouldn't be that kind of difference in velocity between starting and relieving," one AL scout said Monday. "When (Josh) Beckett is right, he's topping out at 96-97 from start to finish.
Who the hell? Sure there is. Look at what Burnett said about being a pitcher and not a thrower and trying to stretch himself deeper into games.
"It makes me think (Chamberlain) is worried about hurting his arm, especially after the shoulder problem he had last year. He's had injury issues before - that's what scared a lot of teams off of him the year he was drafted. I don't know, I just see a different guy out there as a starter. He doesn't have that swagger he had when he was coming out there, knowing he could empty the tank for one inning."
Shit, that's what this is all about, isn't it? Joba isn't pumping fists and yelling, so he must be not as good. What kind of scout gives a flying fuck if a guy is full of "swagger" or not?
The Yankees have to be thinking this way themselves, so you wonder how long they'll give Chamberlain before deciding to try him in the bullpen again.
Unlike Harper, the Yankees realize that a starter is more valuable than a reliever, and that 200 IP > 80 IP.
Perhaps it all depends on what happens in the next few weeks with Bruney and Melancon, as well as Wang and Hughes.
No, it doesn't.
I still think the Yankees will be OK. Assuming Alex Rodriguez returns in a week or so with no complications to his hip injury, their lineup should be explosive, especially with Robinson Cano off to such a hot start.
Uh, here's the blurb from the beginning: "The Yanks need Joba back in the 'pen to have any hope of winning a championship."
Doesn't sound like you think the Yanks will be OK to me.
Likewise, assuming that Wang isn't a lost cause and A.J. Burnett's meltdown at Fenway on Saturday wasn't an omen, the starting pitching should be among the best in the league over the long haul of the season.
... an omen. One bad start is to be concluded that it's either a trend or some supernatural bad mojo.
The bullpen is the trouble spot. Even if Bruney returns in a couple of weeks, the Yankees don't have enough depth, unless Melancon's power arm is ready to make a huge impact.
John Harper doesn't obviously follow the Yankees minor leagues, because if there's one thing they have down there it's a ton of bullpen depth.
At some point it's hard to see how the Yankees deny the obvious, that they need Chamberlain back there to have any hope of winning a championship. Maybe starting tonight, Hughes can help convince them.
There we go again... "to have ANY hope." I thought you "still think the Yanks will be OK"?
ATTN: Daily News, please fire John Harper as he's a complete hack.
Don't worry though, he'll still sell you papers since the idiots that read your paper agree with him.
Should Joba Chamberlain be in the Yankee bullpen? Yes, it's where he is most dominant 71% No, he will be an elite starter 9% It depends on Phil Hughes and Chien-Ming Wang 20%
Gammons, the "most respected baseball reporter in the country," just had this to say on ESPN Radio this morning (slight paraphrase):
"The Yankee bullpen is a mess. Joba will be back in the 'pen soon enough. Maybe if Mellon-Con can hold down the (setup) role this will be delayed or won't happen but chances are you'll see Joba in the setup role soon enough."
Besides the fact that the Yanks need Joba in the rotation now and in the future, Gammons is suggesting Joba's role should be defined by a kid with 1+ innings of major league experience, not by someone like Brian Bruney who will be back soon.
I'll also wage dollars to donuts that if Melancon were a Red Sox, Gammo wouldn't have pronounced his name as if it were a fruit and vegetable convention.
----------------------- Look, we get it. He didn't want to play for your team, so your ownership and media threw him under the bus (which they usually wait to do until they want to get RID of a player (Nomar, Manny, etc) but I digress...).
Personally I'd rather have a Gold Glove, 29 year old first baseman who is starting the season at these stats, and is a notoriously slow starter throughout his career:
AB 45 HR 3 AVG .222 RBI 9 R 6
than a 33 year old who is seemingly 400 lbs, can't play defense at all, also has a huge contract, and a much less hot wife whose performance has been in decline since the team got rid of his insurance policy hitting behind him:
AB 59 HR 0 AVG .220 RBI 8 R 6
Of course the Boston press once again shows their class by going after the opposition and not their own.
On Sunday, StubHub.com listed $500 Legends Suites seats down the left-field line, in Section 27B, row 8, for $225 each Monday night, and $850 Legends Suite seats behind the Yankees dugout, in Section 16, row 9, for $275 apiece. Field level seats in Section 117B , row 15 that originally sold for $325 each were available for $114 apiece.
Now if part of the justification for higher ticket prices at the new park was higher dollar ticket resales on StubHub, would that mean lower dollar resales would mean lower ticket prices? The Yankees seem to have back themselves into a corner... lower prices and you'll tick off your largest current ticket consumers. Don't, and keep the seats empty and watch them get blown out on StubHub for pennies on the dollar.
If the past is any indicator, Mets and Red Sox tickets would sell for a huge premium above face value which could in fact balance out to an "average" ticket price at or around face value. However one would think the demand for great seats at the brand new ballpark would be high enough to see sellouts and large demand.
The fact that this isn't the case should tell the Yankees something.
Before anyone asks, yes, I am in the camp that hopes to see more empty seats right up front and packed cheap seats until the team wakes up and gets the message. Sell your luxury boxes to the corporate fan, but pack your seats with the loud, stadium-shaking fanatics that have graced your ballpark and cranked the turnstiles over 4 million times per year in recent seasons. They're the real reason you were able to build this new behemoth. Where do you think all that money came from?
Richard Justice Just Heard Jeter Might Be Overrated
Man, first Fraley, now Justice? ALL OF MY FAVORED CHICKENS ARE RETURNING HOME TO ROOST.
The Yankees will win the World Series this season, or there'll be hell to pay. That means you, Joe Girardi. You, too, Alex Rodriguez. And you, Derek Jeter. For the first time, there are whispers about how good you really are.
Whispers. For the first time. Really. Really? Really.
The seat already is getting warm for some managers
By Gerry Fraley - SportingNews 1 hour, 13 minutes ago
Joe Girardi gets it.
The New York Yankees spent more than $420 million on three marquee free agents this offseason with the intention of returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Those expectations squarely fall on Girardi.
"I don't necessarily think about those things," Girardi said during spring training when asked if he has the no-playoffs, no-job mindset. "But as you state the question, you're probably right."
That puts Girardi atop the list of managers most likely to be whacked.
Hamstrung by injuries, the Yankees went 89-73 last season and finished third in the American League East. They finished eight games behind the division-champion Rays and six games behind the wild card-winning Red Sox.
At times, Girardi seemed uncomfortable with the pressure that came with managing the Yankees. His biggest shortcoming is that he isn't Joe Torre, his serene predecessor who guided his teams to the postseason each year from 1996-2007.
"It would have been difficult for any manager," Girardi said. "He (Torre) was here so long and had relationships with everyone involved. I knew it wasn't going to be easy replacing him, and I never tried to replace him. I'm just glad I went through the whole experience."
If Girardi is dumped, keep this name in mind for next season: Bobby Valentine. He plans to leave Japan after this season and wants to get back into the major leagues. Look for a not-so-subtle campaign promoting Valentine.
Baseball Tonight analysts say "yes" and then go on to speculate how the season will play out based on one or two games.
Case in point: the Red Sox (1-0) look great and should "run away" with the division on the back of Josh Beckett, the Phillies (0-2) are done, and have a "World Series hangover" and the new Yankees (0-1) can't handle the pressure of New York (although they played in Baltimore).
Hey, Did You Hear SportsCenter Moved to the West Coast?
Because if you didn't, you obviously didn't watch SportsCenter.
Rather than giving us more highlights or information.. on OPENING DAY of Major League Baseball, ESPN decided in their wisdom to give us tours of their new studio and information about the neighborhood, and every graphic flash said SC LOS ANGELES in huge letters and the hosts talked about their new offices, etc.
This is shit only the anchors really care about. Mention it once, and move on! People watch SportsCenter for... sports.
It's not like ESPN is Magellan navigating uncharted waters here... FOX Sports has had their studio in LA for years now.
Hi folks. Rarely do I post fan mail on this site, but sometimes I'll get a letter that warms the cockles of my heart. This time, it's from a relative of a sportswriter, thanking me for my excellent service.
We never met....however, my interest in you was inspired by a posting of your towards Kevin Hench in 2007....
Essentially, you tore apart Kevin for his opinions.....ripped apart his fact checking...etc....even labeled him as a "douche-bag" (Howard Stern would be proud of your vocabulary indeed)....
Here is my issue.....regardless of clever metaphor attempts.....such as ... " ....Imagine Dr. Kevin Hench, neurosurgeon, Lt. Kevin Hench, LAPD, Kevin Hench, Attorney-at-Law, Senator Kevin Hench, bookstore clerk Kevin Hench or American Airlines pilot Kevin Hench being as mind-numbingly awful at their profession and the resulting consequences: malpractice, indicted for corruption, disbarred, recalled, fired and dead...." ....You do realize that within all of your mentioned professions.....each of those groups are full of people who "make mistakes...." My personal favorite was Attorney.....are you kidding me man? Attorneys actually make a living at manipulating facts to make their arguments fly to their liking....ever watch the famous OJ trial??? I realize that in your very naive and Utopian world.....everyone would be perfect. We both know all too well, especially as we witness the collapse of the global economy....that the world is full of "mistakes". I then looked into who exactly YOU are....only to find that you too are a narcissistic opinion hound....how ironic. How much time you spend in the universe of name calling also reveals a very juvenile approach towards your opinions....."the first to raise his fist in anger is the first to run out of ideas....." you could have voiced your opinion about Kevin without resorting to the immature side of your argument.....you actually sound quite jealous more than anything.
If you ever evolve into an actual intellect....you may realize that regardless of your anger or opinion, true wisdom is always accompanied by a sense of calm and self control.
Food for thought.....
oh and...an official comeback to you calling my cousin a "douche-bag" is .... "NU UH....YOU ARE!!!!"....(as I roll my eyes with a grin....)
ciao for now my friend....
The article Jeff is thanking me for writing is this one in which Kevin Hench makes an obvious and easily checkable error and uses that mistake to make fun of someone else. I turned the tables on Mr. Hench, who never apologized for his error, and Jeff wrote in to thank me for my dilligence. Thanks Jeff, and keep reading the blog!
For more on Kevin Hench's excellent journalism skills, you can click here.
PS: I wanted to post a picture of Kevin for reference. Here's his Facebook picture:
As you can tell, his comments regarding Red Sox superiority are obviously unbiased (and, coincidentally, came during a season in which there was a second Boston Massacre and the Sox missed the playoffs).
Parting fun facts: he writes liberal propaganda (I can't believe he wouldn't write unbiased polticial articles considering his sports objectivity) for the Huffington Post, and wrote the Adam Carolla failure "The Hammer."
Until the next Mailbag, folks, keep those letters comin'!
Look, I know Joba has looked better of late, but let's face facts - the guy is a reliever. He came up as a reliever, succeded as a reliever, and when he was moved to the rotation his numbers suffered and he got hurt. He's a big, heavyset guy - do we really want to see him out there every five days huffing and puffing through the 4th inning?
Of course not. The Yankees should move Chamberlain back into that 8th inning role - the bridge that is NEEDED to Mariano Rivera. Phil Hughes looked great this spring, bring him up to the the 5th starter. Who cares about a 5th starter? You don't even USE them in the playoffs.
This is about the hundreth time I've had to make this statement - it's about time the Yankees woke up and realized that they are trying to put a round peg into a square hole.
Get Joba back where he belongs - giving 80-85 FANTASTIC innings in the bullpen.