Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jorge Posada Left Impressed: "Joba Proved Me Wrong"

Yankees catcher and emotional leader Jorge Posada was very vocal in his beliefs regarding Joba Chamberlain's future.

Posada felt that Chamberlain belonged in the Yankee bullpen, regardless of the widely spread intrigue with transitioning him into a starting pitcher.

After a majority of Chamberlain's final spring start was crisp and dominant, Posada was left singing a slightly different tune.

"He's our fifth starter and I'm happy with that," Posada said. "He's been showing me and he's proving me wrong."

Chamberlain has finally earned the endorsement of a man as against the concept as anyone within the organization.

Though fatigue appeared to affect him during the sixth inning, Chamberlain proved he should be pitching every fifth day as opposed to at manager Joe Girardi's daily discretion.

Perhaps Posada has become as nostalgic for the glory days of the Yankee dynasty as the countless fans following the proud franchise.

One of his first playoff memories involved the most dynamic one-two bullpen punch in the team's illustrious history.

Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland were nearly unhittable in 1996, and were as much the reason for placing a ring on Posada's finger as anyone wearing pinstripes.

In fact, Wetteland earned World Series MVP honors that year, before he was ultimately replaced by his flamethrowing sidekick.

Seeing how importance the setup role can be, Posada has spent many nights salivating about a Chamberlain bullpen bridge to Rivera for a full season.

As I have mentioned before, I feel that Chamberlain has the confidence and skill set to become a top of the rotation starter or all-world closer.

The baseball world is well versed in his bullpen statistics, but he also performed very well in the rotation in 2008.

Chamberlain went 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 12 starts. He struck out an impressive 74 hitters in just 65.1 innings pitched.

It is up to the Yankees as to which becomes his permanent role, but I would prefer grooming highly touted prospect Mark Melancon to be Rivera’s heir.

In the event that Melancon cannot handle the closer role, a replacement can be found in free agency or through a trade.

The Yankees would then be able to slide Melancon into the setup role and recreate its one-two punch of yesteryear.

Whether Chamberlain’s arm will have the strength and durability to last a full season remains to be seen.

Either way, the Yankees know that Phil Hughes is waiting for his fifth starter phone call.

Should there be any issues or concerns, Chamberlain could be back to fist-pumping and cruising through 8th innings in no time.

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