With the recent additions to the New York Yankees of Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano, there's no doubt the bullpen is deep, but a tad overcrowded with Boone Logan, David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain.
Not such a bad state of affairs, unless you are Joba Chamberlain, right?
Even with all the rumors and speculation that Chamberlain should be traded with a bag of minor leaguers, it won’t get the Yankees more than a mid-level player or starting pitcher.
Chamberlain’s worth has without question decreased since 2007. The pressure put on the youngster and the Yankees' disregard for tossing Joba between the bullpen and the rotation like chopped meat indisputably didn’t help his mental game.
The stuff is there, as we witnessed the fight in Joba in the infamous bug game in Cleveland in 2007.
Whether the Yankees pushed Joba into a starter when he should have been getting ready to be Mariano’s successor is another story.
What the Yankees need now is an everyday starter and Joba can fill that role.
In the midst of Andy Pettitte being in Favre limbo, the four and five holes are still wide open. Rookie Ivan Nova did a nice job replacing Pettitte in 2010 when he was on the DL for two months.
The other rumor is adding Sergio Mitre to the rotation, which has been tried already and it honestly makes me sick to my stomach that this is even being mentioned.
Other than skipper Joe Girardi, no one thinks Mitre is a good idea because we have seen what he can do and that is lose games, badly.
When Mitre is on the mound for any reason, visions of Kyle Farnsworth start to form, which most Yankee fans try to avoid at all costs.
Over his career, Mitre has made 64 starts and has a record of 13-29 over his seven seasons in the majors. In pinstripes, he has made 12 starts in two seasons and lost six of them.
Mitre did post a 3.33 ERA in 54 innings coming out of the bullpen in 2010, but it is meaningless when out of the 27 games Mitre appeared in, the team lost 20.
Let’s not forget that in 2009, Mitre missed the first 50 games for breaking the league's substance abuse policy and finished the season with a 6.79 ERA.
Joba has been a lot more reliable compared to Mitre.
In his 43 starts, Chamberlain has posted an 18-13 record, but hasn’t made a start since 2009.
Last season was no doubt a struggle for Joba, who finished with a 4.40 ERA in 73 appearances. Some of the blame for 2010 is on the Yankees for clearly tinkering with Chamberlain’s confidence.
Joba has more experience now, finishing off the 2010 season much stronger as his coolness was undoubtedly building again.
Regardless, it will be different for Joba this time: The Yankees rotation’s success is wholly on Sabathia, Hughes and Burnett. This could allow Joba to progress without the expectations swarming like before.
To cut to the chase, it would be reckless and idiotic of the Yankees to start Mitre while Joba remains in the bullpen. Girardi’s love affair with Mitre needs to be addressed from day one, because he has never shown any reason why it would end in 2011.
I can promise you that Mitre is not the answer, but thankfully, he doesn’t have to be now.