Unless you have been living under a rock you already know the deal.

The New York Yankees main focus in this past offseason was to acquire starting pitching. Brian Cashman’s genius plan was to put the teams hopes, dreams and eggs all in one basket named Cliff Lee.

Cashman, ever the fool, believed that the Yankees could wave their bank account under the nose of Cliff Lee, sprinkle it with the pride, power and prestige of the Yankee pinstripe tradition and he would become giddy like some 14-year-old boy getting his first real kiss…and sign on the dotted line while trying not to drool.

The arrogance and short sightedness of Cashman is truly astounding. The colossal mistake the Yankees have made and continue to make has nothing to do with Cliff Lee. It has everything to do with Joba Chamberlain.

(If only the Yankees had a farm system like the other teams where they could develop their own talent…What? They do? Hmmm…)

The Yankees need for Lee was obvious as their rotation coming into the 2011 season was anchored by the ever steady C.C Sabathia, an as yet to be fully tested Phil Hughes (one season of 18 wins coming off another season in which he was banished to the pen does not instill massive confidence in a repeat performance), a disappointing A.J Burnett (Well, I am not sure Burnett was really disappointing more than he was just slightly off what he usually delivers…he is a career .500 pitcher, it’s not like he is Cy young material) and an unproven rookie named Ivan Nova.

They needed Lee, or any pitcher. It would be nice if they had someone in the fold that could step up.

(Joba Chamberlain is available…oh wait, never mind. The Yankees are pissed that he has not delivered on his talent even though their management of him is the real problem. It’s easier to blame the kid.)

Then of course, at the time, there was the Andy Pettitte “will he or won’t he” dance that has become annoyingly familiar in New York.

To make matters worse, the Yankee pen was full of holes.

If they lost out on Lee and Pettitte retired, the Yankees were seriously looking at a third or fourth place finish…no joke.

(Joba Chamberlain can start…but won’t because Brian Cashman is not qualified for the role he currently fills in New York. He is, in every sense of the word, unqualified.)

Lee ended up in Philly most likely due to the fact that A:) He knew he could not handle the pressure of New York B:)The treatment of Derek Jeter told him what to expect C:) He did not like the way his wife was treated by the Yankees fans in the Post Season D:) He looked at the Philly rotation with him in it and well, the man is not stupid.

I do not care what Lee has said, nor what people believe…I believe that those are the reasons, and all played a role, in why Lee chose to take the job in Philly. I look at Lee as a coward that did not want the pressure cooker of New York. He is a very smart, well paid coward though.

(Joba Chamberlain is in New York…under contract…in pinstripes…he can start…hello?)

Pettitte finally manned up and made a decision to retire most likely due to the fact that A:) The Roger Clemens trial would be a distraction for him and the team. Pettitte is a creature of habit and does not like his routines to be messed with. B:) Without Lee in the mix Pettitte would have a ton of pressure upon him to perform…Pettitte is a big game pitcher but he is most comfortable as the middle of the rotation guy, not the savior C:) He honestly wants to spend more time with his family.

I do not care what Pettitte has said, nor what people believe, I believe that those are the reasons, and all played a role, in why Andy has chosen to ride the recliner in Deer Park and not don the pinstripes in 2011.

(Joba Chamberlain was seen getting a ticket heading to Tampa to report to spring training as a reliever when the Yankees need starting pitching. Cashman is a genius, not.)

So the Yankees, in fear of facing a third or fourth place finish go out and bolster their bullpen by landing Pedro Feliciano and Alphonso Soriano (In what will go down as the biggest contract joke ever in the history of baseball…I mean seriously, Cashman is a fool. I have no doubt Soriano will deliver, but 35 million dollars with an option for him to opt out at anytime? Are you kidding me?) giving the Yankees arguably, on paper, the best bullpen in the game right now with or without without Chamberlain who figures to play a very minor role this season because, due to his past performance, he cannot be trusted.

(Of course the Yankees and their management of him plays no part…no, of course not. The boy failed on his own in a team sport, imagine that.)

However, they need starters. The market is thin. What is a team to do?

(Joba Chamberlain as a starter has an ERA in the low 3’s…I think he is on the Yankees Roster. Does Cashman know he is there? Someone should email Brian and let him know that Joba has started before. Let’s not forget he is still young and a serious investment into his talent and ability could pay off for a decade or more…but hey, it’s easier to just toss him into the pen where he can do minimal damage, right Brian?)

In desperation the Yankees go the low risk, hopefully huge return route of signing former starting studs Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia to minor league deals. There is nothing else out there, unless you consider Chamberlain, which Cashman in his infinite wisdom won’t do.

(Didn’t the Yankees have a young kid that was a “phenom” a few years ago? No not Phil Hughes…the portly big boy whose father was always in the stands. I think his name was Joba. What? He is still on the Yankee roster? Wait, wasn’t he a starter once?)

So, where does that leave the Yankees for 2011?

A starting rotation of C.C Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J Burnett, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia is the most likely scenario at this point for 2011. Garcia was 12-6 last season and seems to have rebounded from injury. All he has to do is out pitch Sergio Mitre, which should be possible for the veteran, and he is in.

Again, the Yankees bullpen is set with the likes of Rivera, Logan, Feliciano, Soriano, Robertson, Mitre, possibly Prior and some kid named Joba Chamberlain, who has a 1.54 ERA as a reliever. I think he used to start once upon a time but hey, why quibble over small details.

Bottom line folks…the Yankees don’t need Chamberlain in the pen, they need him in the starting rotation. Yes, the debate rages on but seriously…

As a reliever Chamberlain goes against his natural talent and thinks too much on the mound. When Joba thinks on the mound bad things happen. He is a machine…adding artificial intelligence only mucks up the mechanics.

I have watched this kid, and yes, he is a kid, pitch as a starter and a reliever.

If you have watched him as well you will agree with me that when he comes on as a reliever he thinks too much. He has a starter’s mentality. When a runner gets on base he gets unnerved. He pitches from the stretch which is something a reliever should never do. 

He tries to be too fine with his pitches. He gets rattled too easily because in his mind he knows he is only out there for a few batters, maybe one inning…but he approaches it like a starter that is rushed and thus gets rocked.

When Chamberlain was “lights out as a reliever” he came in, worked quickly, did not shake off the catcher and just threw smoke. Look back when he first came up…work quick, smoke, pump fist. Check.

When he gets rocked he takes his time, throws a lot of off speed stuff and tries to be too fine…just like a starter.

When he started and did well, he worked quickly, did not shake off the catcher and threw smoke with a nasty change mixed in. As a starter he gave up slightly over three runs per game over his career starts. That is better than every starter currently in place to pitch for the team this coming season.

The Yankees, in my opinion, are making a monumental mistake of keeping Chamberlain in the pen and not working with him during the offseason to build his stamina, get him on a serious diet, work on his mechanics and pitching with runners on.

Chamberlain, when working quickly and just trusting his stuff, is a better pitcher than Burnett, equal to Hughes, blows Mitre away and has better stuff than Garcia.

Chamberlain in the bullpen is yet another example of Brian Cashman’s lack of baseball knowledge…and arrogance and ego of not wanting to look bad by committing the Kid to start. The less he is seen the less chance he screws up, right Brian?

C.C Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Joba Chamberlain…it’s the Yankees best option for the coming year barring some blockbuster trade that appears unlikely to happen.

Joba gets a lot of flack from fans and media alike but the Yankees management of this kid is the real problem…it’s a disgrace actually.

Let the kid pitch…

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