Surprisingly, there is a lot of debate on whether to turn Joba back into a starter. First off, the only reason he was used in the bullpen was because it allowed the Yankees to get the most out of him before he reached his innings cap.
But the thing is, Joba is no Papelbon, and I say this in a good way. Joba has four pitches: fastball, slider, curve, change. He showed only two of these (fastball, slider) as a reliever because that’s all he needed. He has the kind of stuff that should allow him to get through the order multiple times. The Yankees have to give him the chance to do that.
Look, if he becomes a starter and struggles to maintain velocity late in games or get through the order a second and third time, the Yankees can move him back. I’ve already heard the argument, “who do we trust who can replace him?” And the answer is probably no one. But only Pettitte put together a good start against the Indians. What if Joba was an option rather than bringing Wang back on short rest? You wouldn’t sign up for that? Quality middle relievers can come from anywhere (Okajima, anyone?).
The Yankees have had great middle relievers before in Stanton, Nelson, even Mendoza for a time. Would you trade them for a Clemens or a Santana? Or even a Pettitte or Carmona? In a heartbeat. And from what we’ve seen of Joba, he has the chance to be in that category.