The Joba Chamberlain Dilemma: Relievers Who Deserve Another Chance to Start

Straight Outta V-TownCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2010

The Joba Chamberlain Dilemma: Relievers Who Deserve Another Chance to Start

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08:  Joba Chamberlain looks on as Robin Soderling of Sweden plays against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    A lot of young players blast through the minors and gets inserted to the starting rotation, struggle, gets demoted to the pen and find a home there. They never get another chance to start while old retreads like Kip Wells, Jeff Suppan, and Sidney Ponson keep posting pedestrian numbers as starters. Joba Chamberlain is the most prominent example since he plays for New York, but the fact is that there are examples of such for almost every single team. Johan Santana actually started in the bullpen before becoming a full-time starter. CJ Wilson and Brandon Morrow are recent success stories. A counter example is Braden Looper, who made the transition from valuable bullpen guy to crappy starter who can't find a job and everybody forgot his bullpen work. Who deserve another chance to start?

Joba Chamberlain

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08:  Joba Chamberlain looks on as Robin Soderling of Sweden plays against Roger Federer of Switzerland during their men's singles quarterfinal match on day ten of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    He was pretty good until hitting the wall in September. His ERA last year as a starter was actually in the 3.5-3.7 range most of the year, which isn't bad at all in the AL East. I know he had a strict pitch count and couldn't work deep into games, but how is Phil Hughes recent ineffectiveness down the stretch any different from Joba last year? Hughes was also lights out as a reliever last year, but no one is calling for Hughes to get send to the bullpen. Why the double standard?

Ryan Perry

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    DETROIT - MAY 01:  Ryan Perry #45 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning and gets his first win of the year against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the game on May 1, 2010 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Former first round pick is not the overpowering Joel Zumaya/Carlos Marmol type. He's also too good to be a middle reliever. I happen to think he would be better than Porcello as a starter.

Clay Hensley

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    PHOENIX - JULY 11:  Relief pitcher Clay Hensley #32 of the Florida Marlins pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 11, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks 2-0.  (Ph
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Hensley was a good starter with the Padres in 2006. He revived his career this year as a member of the bullpen and was recently promoted to closer. He competed for a job in the rotation during Spring Tranining and was lights out. I was pretty disappointed when he didn't get the spot. Now, he might have performed too well in the bullpen and get another shot as a starter, which I think he is capable of.

Carlos Villanueva

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    CHICAGO - APRIL 15: Carlos Villanueva of the Milwaukee Brewers, wearing a number 42 jersey in honor of Jackie Robinson, delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 15, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 8-6.
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Brewers version of Joba. He had early success at both starting and relieving, but the club couldn't make up its mind. This whole yanking around resulted in him doing poorly in both capacities the past 2 years.

Sean Marshall

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    CHICAGO - JUNE 27: Sean Marshall #45 of the Chicago Cubs pitches against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on June 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 8-6. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Marshall already proved that he is a good starter when given the opportunity. Why the Cubs never commit to starting him full-time baffles me (especially when guys like Casey Coleman is in the rotation). I just hope his talent doesn't go to waste like Scot Shields.

Tim Stauffer

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 16: Starter Tim Stauffer #46 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 16, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Stauffer has the stuff, pedigree (4th overall pick in 2003), and track record (3.58ERA in 14 starts last season) to be a starter, not to mention he has been lights out all year. He's a clear upgrade over LeBlanc and Correia.

Franklin Morales

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    DENVER - APRIL 10:  Relief pitcher Franklin Morales #56 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the San Diego Padres during MLB action at Coors Field on April 10, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Padres defeated the Rockies 5-4 in 14 innings.  (Photo by Dou
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Rockies version of Joba. He did well in 2007 as a starter, poorly in 2007, and was never given another chance to start. All these juggling clearly taken a toll on him. Another prospect ruined my mismanagement.

Neftali Feliz/Aroldis Chapman

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    BALTIMORE - AUGUST 22:  Neftali Feliz #30 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Taylor Teagarden #2 after a 6-4 victory against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on August 22, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Feliz is a pretty good closer as a rookie, but he is too good not to get a chance to start next season. Chapman is in a similar situation.

Jonathan Papelbon

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    BOSTON - SEPTEMBER 05: Jonathan Papelbon #58 of the Boston Red Sox heads for the dugout after he is pulled in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox on September 5, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    I know he's a lights out closer, but live arms are around all the time (recent examples Kenley Jensen, Jordan Walden, Craig Kimbrel, Daniel Bard all have closer stuff and the looks of Carlos Marmol). Papelbon can the repertoire of a starter and deserve another chance to start.

Andy Sonnastine

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19:  Andy Sonnastine #21 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Oakland Athletics during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    He's good enough to start for a lot of teams right now. He eats innings and posted passable number in the tough AL east.

Robinson Tejada

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 14:  Melvin Mora #6 of the Baltimore Orioles takes a lead as Robinson Tejada #51 of the Kansas City Royals during the game on May 14, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    He's a great strikeout pitcher with inconsistent mechanics and control, but the former Phillies prospect has done a pretty decent job when given a chance to start. He is definitely an upgrade over what the Royals have in the rotation right now.

Scot Shields

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    NEW YORK - JULY 21: Scot Shields #62 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts to a solo home run in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 21, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Im
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Shields' window is probably closed at age 35. He has been performing very poorly this season after coming back from surgery. It's one of those sad stories. Basically Shields had what it takes to start in his prime from 2001-2008, but settled in as a set up man and never got a chance. (he totalled 148 innings in '03 starting 11 games and posted a 2.85 ERA).

Miguel Batista

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    WASHINGTON - JULY 30:  Katherine Connors, Miss Iowa 2010, poses for a photo with Miguel Batista #43 of the Washington Nationals before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on July 30, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/G
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Batista showed everybody why he can still be a viable starter when he made an emergency start and pitched 5 shutout innings. He had a horrible 2008 season and never got a chance to start again. I don't think one bad year should diminish his entire of body work and the things he has accomplished in his career. He's a savvy veteran who knows how to pitch and a lot of teams could do worse than plug Batista at the back end of their rotation.

Aaron Heilman

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    TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Aaron Heilman of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at Tucson Electric Park on February 27, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    He seems to be destined to follow Shields' career path. The difference was that Heilman actually spoke out in his desire to be a starter, but he wasn't given the opportunity and his career floundered since speaking out (possibly due to unhappiness with his role).

Philip Humber

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    SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Philip Humber of the Kansas City Royals poses during photo media day at the Royals spring training complex on February 26, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Once upon a time, Humber was a top prospect and the 3rd overall pick in 2004. Given that his college teammate Jeff Niemann was a late bloomer (another teammate Wade Townsend, another former top prospect, got injured and is out of the league), Humber may follow Niemann's step to stardom. The Royals can do worse than give Humber a chance to start down the stretch. He's just 27.

Ryan Madson

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    PHOENIX - APRIL 24:  Relief pitcher Ryan Madson #46 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on April 24, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks 3-2.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Madson got a chance to start a few years ago and was feast and famine. He was sent back to the bullpen. I feel like he didn't get a fair shake.

Leo Nunez

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    PHOENIX - JULY 11:  Relief pitcher Leo Nunez #46 of the Florida Marlins celebrates after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 11, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Marlins defeated the Diamondbacks 2-0.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Nunez was a pretty good prospect back in the days and I still think he never really got a chance to establish himself as a starter in the big league level (only 6 career starts).

Jon Rauch

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 27:  Relief pitcher Jon Rauch #60 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 27, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Twins won 6-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Once upon a time, Rauch was a top prospect. His stuff doesn't blow anybody away, which makes him a poor fit as a closer or a late inning reliever. He's more valuable as a starter.

Scott Downs

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 24:  Catcher John Buck #14 and relief pitcher Scott Downs #37 of the Toronto Blue Jays congratulate each other following their victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Anaheim Stadium on May 24, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    I know he's 34, but he's a late bloomer. Since figuring out how to pitch in the big league, he hasn't gotten another look to start.

Hisanori Takahashi

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 27:  Hisanori Takahashi #47 of the New York Mets celebrates after defeating the Houston Astros on August 27, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Astros 2-1.  (Phot
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    He was really good as a starter and as a reliever this year, but he's more valuable as a starter. His lack of overpowering stuff makes him a poor long-term option at closer.

Kyle McClellan

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    JUPITER, FL - MARCH 01:  Pitcher Kyle McClellan #46 of the St. Louis Cardinals during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on March 1, 2010 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Competed for a starting job in spring training, but ultimately stayed in the pen. I like to see him get a chance to showcase himself as a starter.

Koji Uehara

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 19:  Koji Uehara #19 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards on September 19, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Wasn't bad as a starter last year until he got injured. He's too good to be in the bullpen even as a closer. Great control. The O's certainly needs help in the rotation more than the bullpen.

Rick VandenHurk

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 13:  Rick VandenHurk #54 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards on September 13, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Not bad as a starter last year with the Marlins and he's just 25.

Ryan Franklin

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 3: Reliever Ryan Franklin #31 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates beating the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium on September 3, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Reds 3-2.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Many people forgot that Franklin started his career as a starter and had success as a starter in the AL for several seasons. He is not really good closer given that he is fairly hittable and has mediocre stuff. Given his improved control the past few years, it wouldn't be a bad idea to try him as a starter again in the NL.

Kameron Loe

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    MARYVALE, AZ - MARCH 01:  Kameron Loe #73 poses for a portrait during the Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day at the Maryvale  Baseball Park on March 1, 2010 in Maryvale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Loe, like Colby Lewis, seems to figure out how to pitch in Japan. But while Lewis got a chance to start, Loe is stuck in the Brewers pen.

Justin Germano

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    PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Justin Germano #57 of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during spring training on February 22, 2008 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Germano was a solid starter with the Padres 3 years ago and has been lights out out of the pen this year after spending time in Japan. He has the track record to be a good starter for the Indians.

Jeremy Affeldt

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    PHOENIX - MAY 20:  Relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt #41 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on May 20, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.   The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 8-7.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Former Royals prospect was decent as a starter back in '03 and actually struggled in the bullpen after making the move, but he never got another chance to start.

Edward Mujica

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    PHOENIX - AUGUST 08:  Relief pitcher Edward Mujica #45 of the San Diego Padres high fives catcher Yorvit Torrealba #8 after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on August 8, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Pad
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Mujica has a ridiculous 70:6 strikeout to walk ratio. He was great starting late last year. He's clearly an upgrade over Wade LeBlanc and Kevin Correia.

Danys Baez

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    PHILADELPHIA - MAY 2: Relief pitcher Danys Baez #55 of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated by catcher Carlos Ruiz #51 after  a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on May 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 11-5.
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Baez wasn't bad as a starter early in his career, but he got converted to a closer because the Indians needed one and never got another chance to start.

Jose Contreras

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 17:  Jose Contreras #52 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws against the New York Yankees on June 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    I know bullpen probably saved his career this year, but I still think he could be a decent inning eating starter in the NL.

Chan Ho Park

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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 12:  Chan Ho Park #61 of the Pittsburgh Pirates throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It's pretty clear that Park can't handle AL East hitting given that the Yanks released him in half a season, but Park could be a decent inning eater in the NL.

Jeff Weaver

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Relief pitcher Jeff Weaver (R) #36 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on as Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies scores a run on Melvin Mora's grand slam in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 18, 2010 in
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Weaver pitched well as a starter when given the opportunity last season. It is surprising that he is used so sparingly this year and made zero starts despite so many injuries to the pitching staff.

Mike Hampton

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    DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 11:  Marcus Giles and Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves listen as Jimmie Johnson announces the creation of the 'Jimmie Johnson Foundation' February 11, 2006 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Hampton recently made a comeback. Pitching for a team that actually is employing Kris Benson this year, Hampton should be given a chance to start.

Casey Janssen

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    DUNEDIN, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Casey Janssen #44 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses during photo day at the Bobby Mattick Training Center at Englebert Complex on February 23, 2009 in Dunedin, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    I don't know the story with Janssen, but if he's healthy, he's too good to be a reliever.

Gustavo Chacin

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    HOUSTON - MAY 31:  Pitcher Gustavo Chacin #73 of the Houston Astros throws against the Washington Nationals in the third inning at Minute Maid Park on May 31, 2010 in Houston, Texas. Chacin replaced Roy Oswaly who was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Hoh
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Chacin had success against AL East powerhouse and then got injured. He is currently a reliever with the Astros. If he is healthy, I think he is still good enough to be a solid starter in the NL.

Matt Harrison

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    ST. PETERSBURG - AUGUST 17:  Pitcher Matt Harrison #54 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Harrison, part of the Teixeira package the Rangers received along with Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, flopped as a starter the last 2 seasons, but he's still young enough to turn it around. He's been pitching better out of the pen, but I hope he gets one more shot in the rotation.

Matt Maloney

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    NEW YORK - JULY 06:  Matt Maloney #56 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch against the New York Mets on July 6, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Maloney is a Reds prospect who is overshadowed by fellow youngsters Homer Bailey, Aroldis Chapman, Travis Wood, Johnny Cueto, and Edinson Volquez. He has really good control and deserve a chance to start.

Kyle Farnsworth

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    SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Kyle Farnsworth of the Kansas City Royals poses during photo media day at the Royals spring training complex on February 26, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Farnsworth showed some potential as a starter back in '99 when he first came up. I was pretty excited when there were rumours suggesting that he might start this year during Spring Training, but it never materialized.

Elmer Dessens

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    NEW YORK - JUNE 08:  Elmer Dessens #64 of the New York Mets pitches against the San Diego Padres on June 8, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Yes I know he's old and he doesn't strike anybody out anymore, but he's a savvy veteran who knows how to pitch the right way.