Who Would You Rather Keep? Hughes Or Joba?

Once upon a time in Yankeeville, in a place called Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, there were three starting pitchers designated for greatness: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. (Just pretend Shelley isn’t in the picture.)
Now Kennedy has been shipped off to Arizona to become a Diamondback.
That leaves two surviving members of the trio. Cashman says pitching is still a priority, even after luring Pettitte back for another year. Does he mean he’ll be forking over serious dollars for Lackey? Is he planning to cobble together a staff from among Joba, Hughes, Gaudin, Aceves, Mitre and the traveling secretary? Or will he shock us by trading for Halladay in an effort to give us another ace and reunite Doc with AJ?
If Halladay is an option, it surely will mean having to bid farewell to either Hughes or Joba. As much as I adore Doc, am I ready to part with either H or J? I’m having some sleepless nights over this one.
Joba’s ups and downs have been well documented, so I won’t bore anyone with the Rules, the flashes of brilliance, the decreased velocity, the fact that he wants to be a starter but seems better suited to the bullpen. Does he get another crack at the rotation? And if he falters, how long will his rope be?
Hughes looked tremendous out of the pen prior to the playoffs, and setting up successfully for Mo had to boost his confidence. But I always saw him as a starter. 
OK, the truth is I don’t want to part with either of these kids. Let them both start, relieve, who cares. Keeping them affords the Yankees lots of flexibility. So I’m going to completely reverse myself and advocate that we forget Halladay and sign Lackey, who won’t cost us players and will make our pitching staff stronger. I know, I know. I said I couldn’t stand Lackey and his tantrums. 
John Lackey.jpg
But maybe his supporters are right, and he’s just a “fierce competitor.” And maybe Girardi will take him aside and school him in the Yankees Way of doing things.
Anyhow, I want Joba and Hughes to hang around. I want Lackey instead of Halladay since we wouldn’t have to give up Joba/Hughes. And I want Gaudin/Mitre only as a last, very remote resort.
That’s where I stand at 8:08 p.m. Pacific Time. I could change my mind within the next ten minutes.
Ten Minutes.jpg


  1. latinyankeerebel

    I think both Joba and Hughes have more potential than IDK had… i want them both to stay. We need relievers too, no? Maybe we can give up MItre/Gaudin instead of them two for Halladay, I mean, the Jays will suck with or without Halladay either way…
    Anywho… i’m of to bed… I’m feeling grouchy, disspointed with some personal stuff and blah blah blah… :0)

  2. cdriscol@twcny.rr.com

    I don’t want to lose either Joba or Phil either. My goodness, they are both still in their early 20’s. Why trade away the future and gamble on age instead? Yes, Halladay is great and a work horse, but after all those innings, how much does he have left? And would he mess up the chemistry that was formed this past year? And besides players, how much will he cost in $? Besides, we named our dog Joba, and I don’t want a reminder of what might have been every time I call the pup. Please, no Halladay. I’m not changing my dog’s name. By the way, you’re leading in best Yankee blog now!

  3. Jane Heller

    Yeah, Lillie. I’m sure the Jays will be jumping for joy when we offer them Mitre and Gaudin. Sorry you’re feeling grouchy. Hope tomorrow’s a lot better.

  4. mikeeff

    we’ll miss dorothy of course, but the best of luck to her in the NL west. I’m not confidant on how well he might do facing Manny, but we’ll see.

    I’m glad you’ve given up your yen for the good doc. I’d like them to sign sheets over lackey. bring mats back for a year and then go on a buying spree next winter

  5. mikeeff

    oh– and if Halladay goes to the Angels, that’s fine with me. their rotation would still be questionable at best..and the line up? even worse…. The AL west might be a shootout next year

  6. Jonah

    Jane, speaking as a Blue Jays fan – we’d be quite content to keep both Joba and Hughes šŸ˜‰

    It would sure ease the sting somewhat of losing Halladay if we could acquire both, but not totally. I sure wouldn’t want to be Cash right now. And no, our newbie GM won’t be sated if he is offered (hmph) Mitre and/or Gaudin. We’ve already tried out the latter in Toronto once; didn’t work then, not so sure now.


  7. Jane Heller

    Cdriscol (is it Corinne?), I think Halladay will be great for a long time, I really do. Yes, he’s thrown a lot of innings, but I just don’t see him declining any time soon. That said, we’ve got CC, AJ and Andy so, barring an injury (perish the thought), we don’t really need another #1 guy. Besides, you named your dog Joba. We can’t possibly trade Chamberlain now. I’m still leading over on It Is High? Miraculous.

    I still have a yen for the good doc, Mike, but it’s tempered by reason tonight. So now you want Sheets over Lackey? When did that happen? And is it OK if Halladay goes to the Red Sox, never mind the Angels?

    Jonah, pay no attention to the Mitre/Gaudin idea. You know the Jays will get major talent for Halladay. I’ve coveted him for so long, but tonight I came to my senses and decided to let another team have him. Aren’t I charitable? LOL.

  8. mikeeff

    i still have my shared distaste for lackey- if we signed sheets, it would be a one year deal with an option. then we could get cliff lee next year.

    if halladay goes to the sox my head is going in the oven…

  9. mattpeas

    If the traveling secretary is in the mix for a spot does that mean George Costanza will be promoted from within the organization? haha sorry, I’m a big Seinfeld fanatic.

    congrats on landing Granderson. Without a doubt top 5 favorite player in my book


  10. bgalaxy@verizon.net

    first my parting good bye to ian kennedy. i remember the one weird, key out, he got this year against the angels this year. i have a fondness for him for that. i remember the details of where i was when i was listening to that game– it was a day game and i had to miss an hour and then came out to a pressure packed situation when they brought in kennedy and everyone was shocked.
    anyway, i say bye bye joba. he has stuff but i don’t think he has a maturity and i don’t think he will reach the potential of his stuff. and if it brings halladay it’s worth it to me. if only cashman would call me before he made trades, i’d feel so much better.
    i love andy pettite and am glad they signed him but how do we know when he’s done? can he still pitch at a high level?

  11. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    Joba or Hughes? That is the question. Joba doesn’t really have a great name to call out, while with Hughes, you can yell “Huuuuughes.” Joba lets things BUG him on the mound, particularly in Cleveland. (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    I love it when teams develop their own players. Though I do hope our beloved Mo will be around another 5 years, I also think we’ll need someone to take over for him. One of these young men might be a great choice. Probably Joba. Let him be in the bullpen and Mariano mentor him. Hughes seems to have a better temperament for a starter. But what do I know?

    Lackey? Really? He could be the new cranky Randy Johnson on staff. He’d probably get into some real trouble with the NY press by assaulting someone. I wonder if he could take the pressure in NY.

    I do love Halliday. I’m glad I’m not Cashman!


  12. thefreak

    I say NEITHER! Just forget about Halladay. Him and AJ didn’t win sqwat in Toronto. What makes you think they can win it in NY. Maybe it was the chemistry between them that gave up all chances of winning in Toronto. YEAH I KNOW I’m full of crap.

    The Yanks won WITHOUT Doc and they can do it again.

    Joba needs to stay in the pen (and eventually scceed Mo). The drop in velocity is easily explained. When you’re an 8th inning guy, you let it all hang out. When you’re a starter, you have to pace yourself.

    Hughes to me is more of a starter. Yes he did well in the pen. See 8th inning explination above.

    I wouldn’t even get Lackey (against what I said weeks ago). The top 3 are solid. Go get a second tier pithcher than throw in Hughes in the back.

    After that, shopping is complete. People say bullpen, I think it will be just fine (if they bring up Dunn as a left specialist)


  13. dschaub@gpo.gov

    I’m goin’ waaay back in time for this song reference, but I’m OLD, so I’m entitled…Perry Como once sang “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes,” and I think it’s very valid for our Yanks. All this blather about Doc and Lackey — not that we’ve already thinned the bullpen herd, they’re just too darn expensive for trademaking. Some time ago, one of the beisbal sages said that

  14. hrcoyankeefan@comcast.net

    When I read the headline of the post I stopped right there, asking myself if I had to choose between the two, who would I choose. By the end I found out I didn’t have to – I just had to hang in there while Jane’s brain did it’s thing. But I chose Joba when I had to. I have to say it bugged me that Filthy Phil (now we’re down to one) didn’t come through in the postseason causing Mo to be his own set up man. Was it really just a mechanical issue? The postseason was a month long and that’s a long slump. Of course what do I know and I hope he proves me wrong.

    cdriscol, we named our cat Jeter and he got eaten by a fox or coyotes. Our dog Bernie is doing well but, of course, his namesake retired.

    Speaking of Jeter, I hope everyone got to read the SI story. I shelled out five bucks for it but it was worth it.


  15. dschaub@gpo.gov

    …(hiccup)…excuuse me…now, where was I? Oh yes…WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER #1 STARTER. A good solid reliable #3 or #4 arm will fit the bill just fine (and not cost us any more bodies, which is key now). Of course, if the Beantown Hoseheads signed BOTH Doc and Lackey, I’d worry…same with the Angels…but methinx that would cost way too much…and BTW, our She-Fan is still in the lead on that poll…it may not last, but it’s so RICHLY DESERVED!!!

  16. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    I’m so old that the first dog I had when I got married was named Guidry. We lived in England at the time, and one woman asked kept calling him “Kedry.” She said “where did you get that name?” I explained it was a baseball player and she said “Oh yes! The New York Kedries.”


  17. Jane Heller

    Mattpeas, George Costanza is probably in the mix for the rotation. LOL. I’m a big Seinfeld fan like you. I still watch reruns, my favorites being the “Steinbrenner” episodes. Glad you think Granderson was a good pickup for the Yanks. Me too.

    I remember that game when Kennedy pitched, Barbara. It was a really hairy situation but he got out of trouble and the Angels didn’t score, right? I remember John Sterling saying, “I can’t believe they’re using Kennedy in this situation!” Or something like that. So you’re ready to jettison Joba for Halladay? Not me. Not yet. I want to give him another try without the “rules.” Yes, Pettitte might not stay healthy. But that’s why we need another good arm in the rotation. I’d love to have Halladay but I’m not willing to give up players for him.

    Melissa, it’s painful to think of Mo not being Mo forever, but we do have to groom a replacement one of these days. I always thought Joba would be that guy and maybe he will be. But he has to prove himself again. I got worried when I heard Cashman saying on MLB last night, “Joba and Hughes can either start or relieve.” While it’s true, I think the Yanks need to pick a role for these two and stick to it. I like Halladay way better than Lackey, personality wise and pitching wise, but I don’t think Lackey sinks to the cranky level of the Big Unit. I think he just shows a lot of emotion (and crankiness) on the mound.

    Jenn, it sounds very possible that the Phillies will get Halladay. If you do, it’ll be a scary, scary NL with Cliff Lee and Doc in the rotation. And you’re right about Joba: consistency please!

    Mike, Joba’s velocity dropped even when he was back in the pen. That’s what’s worrisome. When he pitched in ’07, before his tendinitis, he was throwing gas. Now? Not so much. But maybe they can work on building up his arm strength. I need to see more of Dunn to weigh in on whether he’s major league ready. He was really wild when he came up in September. Like didn’t he walk everybody?

    Dave, Lackey isn’t trade material. He’s a free agent. Hellloooo? We wouldn’t have to give up anybody to sign him. That was my point. And while I agree we don’t need another #1 starter, Halladay is a #1 guy. I don’t see Lackey that way. He was the ace of the Angels’ staff, but if he’s really that good, why aren’t they moving heaven and earth to re-sign him? Hmm.

    I’d be concerned about Hughes, Laurie, if his slump didn’t come at the end of the season. I’m chalking it up to arm fatigue, which can lead to mechanical problems, which can lead to mental mistakes. I’d like to see him start fresh in the rotation and see how it goes. So if you had to choose, you’d lose Joba? I guess I would too, but I’m hoping it’ll be a mute point. So sorry about your poor cat Jeter!!!! Nobody leaves cats outside around here because those coyotes eat ’em right up.

    Yeah, I’m not putting my faith in Chad Gaudin, Jeff. He was surprisingly reliable but I don’t want to see him every fourth or fifth day – unless he’s morphed into Doc Halladay over the winter.

    HAHAHA, Melissa. That’s hilarious! The New York Kedries. Did you like living in England?

  18. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    Hmmmmm…while I think Chamberlain has more talent than Hughes I think Hughes shows better mental capacity and emotional control. Now…starter or bullpen. I always thought Chamberlain showed more consistency pitching in relief than as a starter. Hughes was extremely successful this past season coming in before Mariano but I still think he has what it takes to be a starter. So that’s it for me — I want to keep them both and I want Joba to relieve and Phil to start.

    BTW, my daughter was at Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island yesterday and Joba Chamberlain was there at a sports memorabilia store signing autographs. She didn’t go because she didn’t want to part with the cash but she saw him. She was pretty giddy when she called to tell me. We raised a Yankees fan who is just about as crazy as her mom.

  19. Jane Heller

    I feel the same way you do, Diane. I want to keep them both. Just not ready to give up on Joba and I’d like to see what Hughes can do with a full season in the rotation. Very cool that your daughter got to see Joba yesterday. I’d be excited too!

  20. Jane Heller

    Wow, Virginia. So you’d only choose Hughes over Joba if Cervelli’s life depended on it. LOL! And tell us how you really feel about Lackey! I share your dislike of him, but it’s a funny thing about switching uniforms. I swore I’d never like Damon, but as soon as he put on the pinstripes I was on his side.

  21. raysrenegade

    First of, I went over and voted for you in the poll, but they might throw mine out since I was a Rays fan (lol).
    I actually would keep Joba out of the two.
    For some weird reason I see more multiple level uses of Joba than Hughes.
    But then again I am looking at the last few MLB/ minor league seasons comparing them both and not just 2009 as a guide.
    2009 might have been a “Hughes” year, but so far Joba seems to have more consistency to him over the long haul.
    Guess 2010 will be the kicker if they are not gone via a trade soon……….

    Rays Renegade


  22. arthur.kathleen@gmail.com

    I agree with you about Halladay and Lackey. Lackey would be a better choice. That would free us up to go after King Felix in a few years when he gets to be a free agent. To me, Joba is the heir apparent to Mo, and Hughes is a fabulous set-up man. I am soooo happy that Andy and his glove glare are coming back!! Our pitching can always be tweaked, but so many choices! We also need to “save money” for Mauer when he is available next year. I am so excited and hopeful about next year! Go Yankees in 2010!!!!

  23. Jane Heller

    Thanks for voting, Renegade. I think they’ll throw ME out for soliciting! I remember when you said you met Joba at the Trop and were impressed by what a nice kid he was. I agree that he has talent galore. It’s all about harnessing it and figuring out which role brings it out best. Hopefully he and Hughes will realize their full potentials in 2010.

    Listen to you, Kathleen! You’re all set to sign King Felix and Joe Mauer. LOL. Fantasies, fantasies. In 2007 I was sure Joba would be Mo’s heir apparent. Now I’m not as sure. And I still see Hughes as a starter. But I guess it all depends on whether we sign Lackey or another pitcher and who stays healthy. Very happy to have Andy in the fold. Thanks for voting!

  24. dj2jd5jm7

    Joba in the pen, Hughes revving up. I agree with that whole-heartedly.

    I LOVE our Yankees, but my son would be heart-broken if Joe Mauer left the Twins. He’s only four but he can name nearly 75% of the MLB teams (Yankees and Twins being at the top, of course). He has two favorite players #2 Jeter for the Yankees!! and #7 Mauer for the Twins! His teacher won a stuffed twins doll from somewhere and gave it to him since he even talks about baseball so much at school. (When asked at Thanksgiving what he was thankful for he replied “baseball games!”) He named him “Joe Mauer” and has not put him down! He did ask why #7 wasn’t on the back of the jersey, though. Too cute. But I guess if Mauer were to leave the Twins, it’d better be for the Yankees!

    Voted for you. I have checked out a couple of other Yankees sites here and there, but yours is the one I make sure to check (nearly) every day! You are just so funny and the I love the camaraderie. Haven’t had much time to read the book lately though. Definitely will get back to that soon!

    I am such a Yankees and Jeter lover that everyone at work knows about it. TWO of my co-workers left me last week’s SI in my mailbox! I’d bet a third would’ve also, but she was out of town. I feel so special. It’s great to be a Yankees fan! =)

  25. Jane Heller

    So you’re in the “no” column on Lackey, Babu? Which low risk guy are you thinking of? I still have a feeling we’re in the Lackey sweepstakes. Cashman seems to be taking a wait and see approach.

    I don’t think Mauer will leave Minny, dj. He’s a hometown boy and I bet the Twins will move heaven and earth (relatively speaking) to keep him. As much as I’d love it if he were a Yankee, I wouldn’t want to break your son’s heart! Thanks for the vote. I’m flattered that you read the blog regularly. I love the camaraderie too. It’s my favorite part of doing this. How sweet that your co-workers gave you copies of SI. You should feel special.

  26. Jane Heller

    Interesting theory, denyankfan. On Halladay, I think he’ll be traded soon and given a contract extension by his new team, so he’ll be off the market. And why wouldn’t the Phillies do everything in their power to hold onto Cliff Lee? It’s not as if they’re a small market team with no money. They’re in the Halladay sweepstakes right now. On Hughes, I’d like to see what he can do in the rotation for a full season. He just might blossom.

  27. denyankfan

    I would choose Joba and here is why…Mo won’t pitch forever. Joba has closer stuff. While I think Hughes will give quality innings, I don’t see him being dominant. Does anyone really believe the Yanks won’t make a serious run at Halladay and or Cliff Lee in free agent land next season? I would keep the guy that is your future closer and part with Hughes who will be replaced next off season anyway.


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