Nov 9, 2007

You've spoken on Joba

Should he be a starter in 2008?

Yes - 74%
No - 18%
Only if they fill his 2007 role - 8%

I (and Hank Steinbrenner) agree with your overwhelming sentiment for several reasons. First, Joba a large enough arsenal to survive thrice through a batting order. His fastball and slider are both exceptional pitches - in addition he offers an above-average curve and a not-quite-ready changeup. Joba could probably be a good starter with just the fastball and slider, but the curve and coming soon changeup give him a four-pitch repertoire. That's too much potential to be wasted in short relief outings. Second, his stamina is reportedly excellent - in the minors he was hitting 96 in the 6th and 7th innings of his starts. Again, 100 mph is great for an inning or two, but 96 for seven is better. Third, he has the body for it - 6'2", 230 lbs. is (almost) the ideal size for a starter. His big body should help him maintain stamina not just during specific starts but throughout the season (and for years to come), assuming his college weight problems don't return. Fourth, a big league starter (who is healthy) starts 30+ games a year, usually totaling at least 200 innings. The most used relievers rarely pitch more than 100. He will have the potential to effect more than twice as many innings as a starter than as a reliever. Fifth, here's the best part - we know he can succeed as a reliever, so give him a shot to help the team more (as a starter). Worst case scenario: he returns to a relief role and maybe becomes the next Rivera.

The only thing remaining to be seen is how (or if) Cashman tries to replace Joba in the pen. Two free agents who might be attractive are Frankie Cordero and Kerry Wood. Cordero reportedly wants to close though, and if Rivera re-signs, will the Yanks have to pay extra to keep him a 'late inning' reliever? If so, it might not be worth it (his whip is a bit high for a reliever). Kerry Wood is coming off a solid season as a reliever - we know he has tremendous stuff so take a chance on him staying healthy (with a short-term, incentive laden contract if possible). Him and Cordero could come close to filling Joba's 2007 role and add a ton of depth. They're the richest team in baseball - use the resources to get an advantage. And since Rivera turns 38 in three weeks, Cordero and Wood would probably get a few closing chances when Rivera needs a rest. We don't know when or if Humberto Sanchez and JB Cox (both coming off arm surgery) can help out the big league team in 2008, so sign the known commodities and hope the resurgence of two top relief prospects will only add to a tremendous bullpen.

What I haven't looked it is how things would change if Rivera does not re-sign. I'd have to rethink everything. The horror...

Thanks for voting.

No comments: