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Joba for Andrew…

Apparently Joba’s mad about being dropped from the rotation, which is strange, because I seem to remember him saying last year that he preferred being a reliever. Maybe in my old age I’m imagining things that never really came to pass, or maybe he just doesn’t like it now, when he lost a straight up head to head with Phil Hughes. Who knows. What matters is that his dissatisfaction is driving rumors that the Yankees might look to trade him, with one particularly rampant rumor arising over a potential swap to the Pirates.

The Pirates aren’t exactly Rhodes Scholars, so who knows whether or not they would actually consider trading Andrew McCutchen, but on its face this is a terrible deal. McCutcheon is coming off a phenomenal first season. Personally, I would have picked him for rookie of the year and there were some very smart baseball people who agreed with me. An outstanding fielder, with star potential, McCutcheon will be at the center (no pun intended) of any rebuilding project that the decrepit Pirates might, possibly, maybe one day manage.

Joba though? Joba’s a flame thrower, who seems to be flaming right out. Maybe it’s the heightened tension of pitching in New York, maybe it’s that his personality really is better suited to being a reliever, but last year Joba struggled. Honestly they were the kind of struggles that a 23 year old should expect, but they threw up a bundle of questions about whether Chamberlain will manage to harness his considerable talent. Even were Joba able to harness his talents and become an ace, there is more value in keeping an allstar centerfielder than acquiring a front line pitcher, especially when you consider the extra year of service time McCutchen holds over Chamberlain. Thus, right now, McCutchen has more upside and he also has a far greater probability to reach his potential.

It is entirely possible that at this point, after all the absurd hype, the constant debating of his role, and the Yankees making a big deal about protecting him like an old lady with her china dolls, that Chamberlain needs to move out of New York. A move to the NL would be especially profitable for the young righty, as the weaker league would offer him the chance to hone his craft while pitching against a lot of AAAA lineups.

For the Yanks though, I’m just not entirely sure what Joba’s value is. He’s still precociously young, and he can still throw the ball, but a team acquiring him has to at least be leery of what they’re getting. That in turn drops the price. Obviously if the Pirates are offering McCutcheon, the Yanks take that deal in a heartbeat, but otherwise if I’m Brian Cashman, I’d ignore Joba’s complaints and get him throwing in the pen. At some point in the season Burnett, Pettite, or Hughes is going to go down, and then we can really see whether Chamberlain’s resourceful enough to bounce back from this demotion.

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