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Cashman’s Careless Comments Continue

It’s official, Phil Hughes earned himself the fifth spot in the New York Yankees rotation, sending Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen.

Regardless, Yankees GM Brian Cashman couldn’t to shut-up for even a day that Joba still cold be a starter. No one wants to hear it anymore.

Here are the facts:

  • Mariano Rivera will be 41 on his next birthday.
  • Homegrown closers have proven to be more effective, Nathan, Papelbaum, Rivera.
  • Chamberlain has the mindset of a closer.
  • Chamberlain thrived in the World Series out of the bullpen.
  • In 60 innings of relief Chamberlain has relinquished only two home-runs with a WHIP of 0.98; as a starter in 220 innings he gave up 25 home-runs with a WHIP of 1.48.
  • Chamberlain can utilize his fast ball and his slider at full strength in relief, both pitches lost velocity when he started.
  • Chamberlain has said he feels comfortable in relief and he sure looks confident in the role.

Sounds like all the makings of a future start closer. Chamberlain has a ideal mentor in Mariano Rivera and easing in his replacement would seem critical considering what Mo has accomplished.

Its time for the Yankees to let this play out, but clearly Cashman can’t help himself.

“He’s a starter in the bullpen. He can do both. He’s a starter who was just beaten out in the competition. That’s what we honestly believe, but we only had one spot.” – GM Brian Cashman

Not even for a day can Cashman contain himself. It’s with no consideration that his words now weigh on Chamberlain and Hughes.

This is borderline reckless. Chamberlain still has to prove his effectiveness in the bullpen, something Hughes already did last season. The pressure on Hughes is unfair, as Cashman never gave Hughes that same public backing.

The Yankees have to stop yo-yoing and stick to the official announcement of what roles these two will play, at the bare minimum at least until the All-Star break.

Cashman can’t let go for whatever the reason, but it’s not his future at steak here.

It’s Chamberlain and Hughes who will suffer in the long run, and if not for them, than do it for the team. Cashman dictates these two youngsters performances through his public comments because it is such a public debate already, and it just leads to more confusion.

The last fact is for Chamberlain’s role as a starter didn’t work out as hoped last season, nor did it improve in Spring Training. It is mind-boggling how the possibility of being the Yankees closer someday is being portrayed as a failure, or as a demotion.


  1. Rob S. says:

    I agree that Chamberlain is better suited to relieving but I have no problem with Cashman's opinion. Just because the Yankees decided to start Hughes doesn't mean it's the way Cashman wanted it. Maybe he was just out voted. The Yankees have invested a lot of time and energy into making Joba a starter and Cash is clearly not abandoning that idea. It shouldn't be an issue this season though because Girardi said Joba will be in the bullpen all year. Next year if Pettite and Vazquez don't return they may need Joba to start.

    • Kate says:

      Agreed, but it adds pressure before trying it out first. Cashman can keep the comments to himself or not go public regarding the height and public opinion on this specific situation.

      If by the all-star break Hughes has really struggled his time in the 5th spot will be over. The Yankees will grab a pitcher and send him to Triple A, or Joba will get another go of it.

  2. Sweet Dick Willie says:

    The salient point that escapes B-Jobbers is that starters are more valuable than relievers. To put this debate in perspective, last year Joba's WAR as a mediocre 5th starter equaled that of Mo, an elite closer.

    180 – 200 innings of league average starter > elite closer. While I personally think that Joba has the ability to be more than a league average starter, even if he doesn't, he'll be more valuable to the Yankees as a starter than as a reliever.

    Let the failed starters, Robertson and Melancon, close. Don't forget, the great Mo is a reliever because he couldn't cut it as a starter.

    Any top starter would be great as a closer. You don't think CC could be a great closer? Of course he could, but he is much, much more valuable as a starter.

    Joba is still only 24 years old. If after a couple of years he proves he can't be a starter, then, and only then, should he be banished to the bullpen.

    • Kate says:

      Mo's replacement has to start to become the priority for the Yanks. He plays such a HUGE roll in the team winning that replacing him will be near impossible already. I just think it will be more successful with a home-grown player familiar with the club-house and the way things work in NYC.

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  4. Kate says:

    I could not agree more. The pressure is unreal on these two youngsters and Hughes is going to need time to adjust as a starter without the possibility of Joba stepping in breathing sown his back.