Last night Joe Girardi announced to the world that the "process has started" with Joba Chamberlain. To many fans and many critics it was an announcement that has been long overdue. To some, it's a decision in question.
To any Yankee fan, you know wheter Joba pitches from the bullpen or in the starting rotation he's an important piece to the team now and in the future. There's no debate that he will be a starter next season, a season where the Yankees will need valuable arms in the rotation. Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte could be on their last legs in pinstripes this season so the move to the rotation for Joba is logical. The question is wheter the Yanks can win with Joba making this transition in the middle of the season.
Personally, I love Joba in the 8th inning. He comes in and blows away hitters, he ignites the crowd and brings an abundance of energy with him to the mound. He's the perfect set-up guy to Mariano Rivera, and as we've seen in season's past, that role hasbeen shaky (see: Tom Gordon, Kyle Farnsworth Jeff Nelson II). But the idea of getting Chamberlain ready for a starter's role while still in the 'pen is a good idea. He can still prove to be valuable in the late innings,yet work on his arm strength without going to the minors.
The 2009 projected starting rotation looks to be Chien Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and player to be named. Many, myself included would add C.C. Sabathia to that rotation in '09, but that will be up for discussion during the offseason. Wang is a sure thing at the top of the rotation, Hughes, Kennedy and PTN isn't. Joba has four major league ready pitches and they need to utilized. He simply can not be wasted in the pen for the rest of his career. So the process has begun.
I like the way Girardi made the announcement, I felt like a kid in the candy store when i heard it, I got goosebumps. This also does hint at the Yankees going into Year of Transition. It's been a tough year to this point but it can only get better. By the end of the summer one would think Joba's going to be in the rotation following Wang, Pettitte, Moose and Rasner? What happens to Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes? That's a question that can't be answered now, but it's a good problem to have. The only answer that matters now is that Joba is beginning his transformation into a starter.
Debate it all you want, Joba The Starter vs Joba The Set-up Man. But the call has been made. Joba told Girardi, his coaches and team officals that he wants to be a starter and that's what's going to happen. A good 8th inning guy can come along every now and then but a guy of Joba's talent come once in a blue moon so take advantage of the opportunity that is presented before you. Don't second guess the move, embrace it. Before you make your judgement, why don't we wait to see how this plays out, after all the Yankees will never set themselves up for failure and if they think this is the right move, then that's good enough for me.