The Joba stuff makes for good talk radio and it certainly generates traffic to blogs.
But it’s a mystery to me why this is such a debate. In this day and age, it’s staggering that people don’t grasp the value of starting pitching to a baseball team.
There is no question whatsoever that Chamberlain is a heck of a set-up man. I bet C.C. Sabathia would be awesome in the eighth inning. Brandon Webb, too.
That is not the point. Chamberlain was a starter in college. He was drafted as a starter. He was developed as a starter and pitched in the minors as a starter. He became a reliever last season because he was closing in on his innings limit and the Yankees had a need.
He was really good at it. You know why? He’s a really good pitcher.
You know what you do with the really good pitchers? You start them.
Mariano Rivera is the greatest relief pitcher to ever walk the face the earth. He was 3-3 with a 5.94 ERA as a starter. He put 86 men on base in 50 innings. He is a skinny guy with one pitch who had an elbow problem.
Joba is 6-2, 225 and has four pitches.
The sidebar to this is that people are vastly overrating the importance of the eighth inning. A decent bullpen with versatile pieces can handle the eighth inning.
Hey, Rob Neyer, thanks for the shout out. … Once Willie Randolph is fired (and it’s a matter of time, no?) Tony Pena would be a good choice to replace him. But the Yankees won’t let him go until the season is over.