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Joba Chamberlain wants to start…bad idea?

Joba Chamberlain continues to say he would like to be in the Yankees starting rotation. We have seen this back and forth debate go on for a couple years now. Is it a bad idea for Joba to be in the rotation?

Here we go again. This debate never seems to end. I was one of those people that was unsure, until last season.  The New York Post has a story in today’s paper in which Joba Chamberlain states he wants to be in the Yankees starting rotation.

Chamberlain is planning to report to Tampa this week, ahead of many others. The team has told him to prepare as if he is a starting pitcher, so that’s what he is going to do. Joba will be competing with Phil Hughes, Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves and Chad Gaudin for the one available spot in the rotation.

Last season Chamberlain started 31 games for the Yankees and struggled at times. Toward the end of the year, the Yankees put an innings limit on the youngster. He finished the year with a 9-6 record while posting a 4.78 ERA. Chamberlain only struck out 132 hitters in the 156.1 innings he pitched. That well below the rate at which he struck out batter when pitching in relief.

Phil Hughes is the other young pitcher that will get a long look this spring. Hughes has shown flashes of greatness while struggling at other times. Last season he started seven games and posted a 3-2 record with a 5.45 ERA in those games. Hughes eventually joined the bullpen and was dominant for most of the season. He seemed comfortable in that role. Until the postseason. Hughes struggled in the playoffs when coming out of the bullpen. Chamberlain was also part of the bullpen in the playoffs and pitched well.

In his career, Joba has been as dominant as any pitcher when entering a game in relief. Many believe he could be the best setup man in the game and eventual successor to Mariano Rivera as Yankees closer.

I do truly believe the 5th spot in the rotation will come down to Hughes or Chamberlain. Gaudin will get a look as well if the Yankees decide Hughes and Chamberlain would both be better suited for the bullpen.

There is something special about Joba Chamberlain when he pitches in relief. The crowd goes crazy when he enters the game, he is pumped up and throwing hard, blowing away hitters with nasty stuff. He gives you a feel that the game is over when the bullpen doors open and Joba enters. One other pitcher comes to mind when you bring up those attributes. Mariano Rivera.

Hughes has the stuff to be a very good starting pitcher. I could see him turning into a #2 starter at some point in his career. I’m not saying I don’t think Chamberlain could be a good starting pitcher, I just think he has a better chance of being the next big thing as far as Major League closers go.

It’s not often you come across a Papelbon, Hoffman, or Rivera. Chamberlain could be the next guy.

Hughes should be the Yankees #5 starter this season, not Joba Chamberlain. If Chamberlain has a dominant spring as a starter, I may have to change my mind. I just don’t see that happening. TO many times last season, I witnessed a pitcher completely change his form and become soft as a starting pitcher. That can’t happen. The Yankees need Joba to be Joba, and in order to do that, he needs to end games in the 8th inning while setting up for Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer to ever play the game.

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