When Joba Chamberlain came out of the bullpen on Tuesday night Larry asked me if I thought we’d ever see Joba in the rotation again. We both felt that the answer was probably not, regardless of the fact that we both endorse the idea of Joba getting another shot as a starter. The bottom line is, the Yankees aren’t treating Joba like a reliever who may eventually be used as a starter. The team has seldom allowed Joba to pitch more than one inning at a time. Converting him back to a starter in Spring Training may not only further damage his confidence, but possibly his arm as well.
With a K/BB ratio in 2009 of 1.75 Joba had poor peripherals (Hughes’ K/BB ratio in 2010 is 2.59, just about the same as CC Sabathia). While I don’t believe the Yankees were looking at WAR when they made their decision about which pitchers would start and which would not, they may have been examining the raw data that influence WAR. Those data confirm that Joba in 2009 was far from great, and that the Yankees probably made the right decision in selecting Hughes over Chamberlain this season.
However, given that Joba was far from a complete and utter failure as a starter last season, one might think that 160 innings of 98 ERA+ ball pitching primarily in the AL East would merit further consideration as a starter, but that’s an argument for another time.