It took 20 games into the season for Hank Steinbrenner to pull the trigger and mercilessly unleash his utter stupidity on the baseball world. Here's the article if you haven't read it or heard about it. I find it funny that Hank said before the season there will be bumps and bruises, yet on April 21st (not September 21st) he punches the crazy button acting like the whole team is playing like drunk monkeys. With the 2 young pitchers, Hughes and Kennedy, struggling Hank comes out and says they must put Joba in the rotation while calling everyone who disagrees with him an idiot. Maybe he should look in the mirror. For any other team, inexperienced pitchers struggling to start a season isn't a big deal. But the Yanks aren't used to this situation and Steinbrenner is not a fan of not talking. He's truly a chip off the old block. At least George knew when to go psycho and fire the organization up. What Hank is spewing out of his big mouth is incoherent rambling of a rich boy who knows nothing about the game of baseball. Let's try to attempt to dissect the mess that is Hank's reasoning behind his unnecessary outburst.
"I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now. There is no question about it, you don't have a guy with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball and keep him as a setup guy. You just don't do that. You have to be an idiot to do that."
There's so many things wrong here it's incredible. I didn't know someone could be so wrong on so many things while stuffing it into such a small amount of space. First thing, obviously everyone doesn't want him as a starter. Cashman hasn't said he wants him to be a definite starter (at least now) and so many Yankees fans are for keeping him as a shut down game ender. And by his 100-mile-per-hour comment, I guess he's saying he also wants Kyle Farnsworth as a starter too? Lets see how that would work out. And Joba isn't only going to be the set-up guy for his career. When Mo runs out of gas, Joba is next in line to close. Closers are so important in today's game. You need a great one to win consistently. Then once again, he calls everyone who sees the right point of view of this an idiot. I've said this many times and I'll say it again (and I'm not the only one) keep Joba were he's best. Joba has been so terrific in the pen that moving him would make no sense for multiple reasons:
-He's got a pitch count this season anyway
-The 8th/9th inning combo of Joba and Mo has been automatic this season. Breaking that up and instead putting Farnsworth or Hawkins in there makes the game longer for the Yanks. They can't afford to do that with the starting pitching performing like it is right now.
-We have no idea how Joba will pitch. He came out of nowhere last year and fit in the bullpen like a glove. Don't push him into something for the sake of doing it when he already has the perfect role. The Red Sox got it right with Papelbon, and the Yanks must follow in line. These are Joba's minor league stats from last year in which he started most of the time:
Single A- 7 starts, 4-0, 2.03 ERA, very nice
Double AA- 7 starts, 4-2, 3.55 ERA, not bad but not great
Triple A- Pitched only 8 innings giving up 5 hits in 3 appearances
How do we know Joba will be so great in the rotation when he hasn't started one game yet and didn't have much experience at all in the minors?
"The mistake was already made last year switching him to the bullpen out of panic or whatever"
He was brought into the pen to get him used to the major leagues and keep his pitch count low, hence the creation of the "Joba Rules". And how could it have been a mistake if Joba was basically unhittable. He was such a huge piece that helped the Yanks make the playoffs last year. How could that have been a mistake? Did Hank ever even watched 1 inning of baseball?
"I think once Hughes and Kennedy get plenty of starts and get Joba back, and with Wang and Pettitte, we will be fine."
This is where Hank contradicts himself. The reason why he's saying all this is because Kennedy, Hughes, and Mussina are struggling. Besides of Wang and Pettitte, the Yankees starting pitching has struggled greatly thus far. I can understand Hank being a little worried, as I am. But I think that once Hughes and Kennedy get more starts and experience under their belts, they'll improve. Both pitchers showed they have the stuff to be good/great pitchers last year. Sometimes it takes time. And Hank appears to realize that here. But if he realizes that, then why does he still want Joba in the rotation? If you think Hughes and Kennedy will improve, then why are you coming out 2 weeks into the season and talking like a lunatic? If you truly think Hughes and Kennedy will develop and become good pitchers, then it shouldn't be that big of a deal with keeping Joba in the pen. If Hughes and Kennedy improve with Wang and Pettitte, that gives you four good/really good pitchers with an explosive offense and a elite back-end of the bullpen with Joba and Mo. That's enough to at least make the playoffs and make a serious run at another World Series championship.
"just needs to learn how to pitch like Jamie Moyer"
That's what he said about Mussina, who's the other struggling starter. This made me confused and then made me chuckle. First thing, Moyer is 45 and Mussina is 39. Mussina has had a much better career than Moyer. Not only that, but Moyer is a lefty and both have been completely different throughout their careers. And here's the kicker: Moyer isn't even pitching that good!
IP W-L ERA Ks BB
20.2 1-1 4.79 7 6
Actually, those are pretty bad numbers to have in the National League no less. I don't think Mussina is calling up Moyer anytime soon asking for his secret to success. Hank, Mussina's problem isn't that he isn't pitching like Moyer. Mussina is old and can't locate his pitches anymore. It happens. It even happens to Jamie Moyer, as evidenced by the above stat line.
And the last nugget to close out
" The starting rotation is not what I would have chosen at the beginning of the year, but that is not a big news flash to anyone,"
This tells me that Hank doesn't have enough power as he thinks or wants to have. If this isn't what he wanted, why didn't he demand a change? Why didn't he fully demand the Yanks to pull the trigger and get Johan Santana. They could, he was there for the taking. Personally, I'm glad they didn't even with the young guns getting off to a slow start. So maybe this isn't a big deal either. This is just Hank running his mouth off and letting some steam out. Even so, it's some truly brain-dead comments.
Cashman did have a good retort to what Steinbrenner said. He basically told Hank to shut up and let the season play out a little bit. This is also an interesting situation for Joe Giraidi. We know from his time in Florida that he doesn't like being pushed around by the suits. If Hank's top starts to smoke even more, we could see some heads roll and conflict abounding. It'll be like a flashback to the 70's Yankees, with Bully Martin and Jackson and the whole Bronx Zoo fiasco. Only this could get uglier because Hank seems to have no idea about the general principles of baseball.
The Yanks are at .500 on April 21st and already the drama has begun. Here's hoping that Joba stays in the pen, the young guns pick up the pace, and Hack finds his pacifier. If not, it's going to get crazy. For everyone outside of NY, it'll be some great comedy. Every thing's different in Yankee Land.