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The artist formerly known as Joba?

March 18, 2010

When you’re coming off a 27th World Championship, and add a Cy-young candidate to an already stacked starting rotation, there’s not much to complain about with the Yankees.   However, yesterday it was reported in some papers that Joba Chamberlain was “pitching for his life” against the Phillies in Spring Training. 

Has it really come to this for what once was the game’s best set-up man?

Ok, so maybe a year or two in the 8th inning doesn’t earn someone the title as the game’s best set-up man, but nobody can deny that Joba was filthy out of the pen for the Yanks in 2007 and most of 2008.  Yes, there was the gnats incident in Cleveland, but 95% of the time the man was un-hittable with a 95-96 mph fast ball and some wicked off-speed pitches. 

His ERA in 2007 was 0.38 in 19 games.  Pretty damn good….

Then came the Joba rules, the debate over starter vs. reliever, and all of a sudden Joba seemed to lose some of his edge.  His fastball lost some steam, he couldn’t control his breaking pitches, and his role on the Yankees became even more questionable.  He had a good 2008 season, but as a starter in 2009 he struggled to go deep into games and Joba wasn’t able to dominate hitters like he did years prior. 

Even after yesterday’s decent performance against a make-shift Phillies lineup, Joba Chamberlain still has an alarming ERA around 16 which has caused Yankee writers to debate if Joba will ever be the same.  Of course stats in spring Training can be misleading, and yes some of these writers are staying in business by discussing Chamberlain to the point of nauseam, but is the Joba Chamberlain everyone adored and loved a distant memory? 

As a non-Yankees fan who doesn’t have a true grip on the team and daily events, is there a real reason to be concerned about the former media darling?

Or is this just a story because the Yankee beat-writers have nothing else to talk about….

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One comment

  1. Is Joba a reliever or a starter?
    That question is finding itself along side the likes of…
    What came first, the chicken or the egg?
    And…
    Why is the sky blue?

    You bring up great points IllWill(especially for a non-yankee fan aka yankee hater).

    As a Yankee fan, I’d much rather see him as a starter because we’ve all seen his potential(8 IP, 3 Hits, 9 K’s vs. Red Sox in 2008)and a starting pitcher has alot more value than a reliever.

    Having said that, even with Mariano still beasting, at the age of 40 it’s hard to imagine the last #42 pitching much longer, and I’d be lying if I said i wouldn’t love to see Joba be the heir to the “The Sandman”



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