During Jonathan Papelbon's formative years as a pitcher it was always a dilemma as to whether or not he was going to be a starter as a closer. I, for one, always was in the starter camp. If a guy had good stuff you'd want him to pitch more. Even Peter Abraham and and I agree on this. But sometimes a guy's physical and/or emotional makeup make them better suited to be a relief pitcher. After a couple years it became apparent that was the case with Papelbon, and it all worked out for the best. The people that thought he should have been a reliever all along felt vindicated, but the reality of the situation was that they just made a lucky guess. Until a guy has proven he's not a starter, you should always want him to be a starter.
I would think most people understand that but reading some New York beatniks you get the idea that there is a Shadow Moron Cabal of Yankee fans still lobbying for Joba Chamberlain to become a set up guy.
- Mark Feinsand, Daily News: "I know there are still plenty of you out there that believe he should be in the bullpen, but I firmly believe the Yankees are doing the right thing with him."
- Poll Questions:
Where would you rather see Joba Chamberlain?
"Bullpen, he and Mo would be unstoppable"
"Starting rotation, he's got ace potential"
- P. Abes:
The Joba debate: Why does this still continue in some quarters? He had a 2.76 ERA in 12 starts last season. He struck out 74 batters in 60 innings. He's a really, really good starter and he's 23. Do the math: It's better to have a great pitcher throw 200 innings instead of 70.
The idea that Joba should go back to the bullpen because the Yankees signed CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett is inane. The best, most efficient way to win baseball games is to have as many games as possible started by good pitchers. The eighth inning is not as important as innings one through six.
So my question (in a Seinfeld voice) is, who ARE these people that want Joba in the bullpen right now? I don't think I've met or talked to anyone that thinks he shouldn't get one more season to try his hand as a starter. Do these people exist or is it just an easy way for writers to win an easy argument?
If someone actually knows someone that is on the side of Joba going to the bullpen immediately this year, please find them and get them a commenting account so they can explain themselves. Otherwise I'm going to start assuming that when writers are having this discussion they're having it with an imaginary friend or the voices in their head.