According to a report in the NY Daily News, Yankees manager Joe Girardi may consider moving Joba Chamberlain back to the bullpen, and replacing him with Triple-A Scranton starter Sergio Mitre.
Following Chamberlain's performance over the weekend, where he failed to get out of the fifth inning for the second consecutive start, the decision is starting to look easier and easier for Girardi.
Mitre did not make the decision any harder for Girardi either, when he tossed eight shutout innings for Triple-A Scranton, giving up six hits without walking a batter and striking out five in a win over Buffalo. The righty is 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in seven starts for Scranton, giving the Yankees a viable option to step into the No. 5 slot on July 21 against the Orioles.
Here is what Girardi said about the idea of moving Mitre up.
"He's definitely an option, I don't see him pitch on a daily basis and I don't see his velocity and command, but I get reports. That's more for the people outside of this room to make that judgment."
Girardi, however, is well aware of what Mitre brings to the table; he managed him in 2006 when he was a member of the Florida Marlins.
Now throughout his career Mitre has been a somewhat disappointing pitcher, he is only 10-23 with a 5.36 ERA in 78 starts with both the Cubs and the Marlins, however, since returning from Tommy John surgery all reports are that his stuff has looked impressive.
To me this move makes sense, maybe not necessarily Mitre, but the idea of moving Joba to the pen. He has proven to be a somewhat inconsistent as a starter as opposed to a dominant reliever. If the Yankees could find a starter to keep them in the game up until the fifth or sixth inning they will have a shot to win every game. Imagine a bullpen of Chamberlain, Mariano Rivera, Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke etc... Moving Chamberlain to the bullpen immediately takes the Yankees from a middle of the road bullpen to near the very top among the best in the game.
Chamberlain's stuff right now is more suited for a reliever role anyway. He still seems to struggle going through the order multiple times, and looks unsure about mixing up his pitches throughout the course of a six or seven inning start. His whole makeup was much different when he was a "grip it and rip it" guy out of the bullpen. Look at Phil Hughes for instance he seems to be maturing so much faster as he learns the big league level out of the bullpen. This concept has been effective before (i.e. Johan Santana), who was a great reliever prior to becoming a starter.
At the end of the day it was only a matter of time until Chamberlain went to the bullpen. Yankee GM Brian Cashman has made it clear that he is going to monitor the innings of his young pitchers. If that is definitely the case they I don't see why the Yankees just don't get it over with. We'll have to see what happens after the break, but my guess is Chamberlain is bullpen bound, and very soon.
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