Thursday, August 23, 2007

Joba is to Mariano what Mariano was to Wetteland

It's a pretty easy comparison, I'm sure I won't be the only one to see it.

I don't know if the Yankees have long-term plans to eventually have Joba Chamberlain go back to starting, but seeing him set up for Mariano Rivera is very reminiscent of the tail end of John Wetteland's career.

Rivera's first season as a full time setup man was ridiculous: 107IP, 130Ks, 2.09ERA, and a 0.99WHIP.

That was the last season Wetteland closed for the Yankees. It's Rivera ever since.

It's probably too early to make this comparison since Chamberlain was in college last season and in this his first season of pro ball he's been very very good as a starter in the minors. But is he does really well in this role he may prove too valuable to move back into the rotation, especially with Hughes and Wang already entrenched as "youngsters." The Yankees like having big name veterans in their rotation.

And with Rivera having his worst season since he was a rookie in many statistical categories (BAA, ERA, and his second-worst WHIP), the Yankees will want a someone that the fans can get behind.

A lot of this will be resolved in the off season. If Rivera continues to show his postseason form, then he will close again next season and Chamberlain will start or set up again. If he looks bad and costs the Yankees a game or two, or a series, then you can start to picture Chamberlain as the closer and say goodbye to the greatest closer of all time. And the greatest pitch of all time.


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