Tuesday, March 28, 2017


(Feb. 26, 2015 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)    
Jobacide is a word I've used for too many years now to describe the Yankees' systemic sacrifice of young starting pitching at the altar of a cheap and steady supply of  relievers.

It's no secret the Bronx bullpen has long been the place where promising young starters brought up too soon go to die, and you could fill a whole shelf of binders with all the wildly creative story lines the Yankees have tried to peddle to media, fans and -- most sadly of all, to the players themselves -- to explain away the diversion,  marooning and pruning of so many homegrown, high-performing Triple A arms and careers there.

Photo: MLB.com
Which is why I nearly spilled my coffee on my keyboard last Thursday as I perused Mark Feinsand's lengthy Q&A with GM Brian Cashman published Thursday on MLB.com and witnessed, for the first time I can recall, an official acknowledgement of the practice.

"MLB.com: There has been a lot of talk over the years about the Yankees' inability to develop young starting pitchers. Do you think that's a fair criticism?

Photo: New York Daily News
Cashman: Yeah. It's a fact. I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the Minor League level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, "What's our best team we can take north?" Well, "We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have," and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it. And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making Draft selections and signings and stuff like that. On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else."

So there it is, confirmation that Jobacide is real --  couched between poor draft position due to past success, an owner's insistence on the best personnel playing in the Bigs ready or not, and the bright lights choke factor of the Big Apple. .

This winter Hal and Brian were publicly confident they had the young arms ready to go in the system to fill the vacant spots in the rotation.

But the ensuing spring competition has revealed nothing could be further from the truth and  re-focused giant Broadway-sized spotlights on the problem the Yankees have  finishing off their young pitchers' development.

Now that they've clearly identified they have a problem, will they allow  all the losers of the rotation competition to return to the farm and finish their development as starters -- or will they all become inmates condemned to life sentences in the Bronx Pen-itentiary?

It all depends on whether  the Yankees decide admitting the problem is the first step toward solving it or not.

So far, they've shown admirable restraint with the young position prospects by resisting the urge to fling one into the deep end ahead of schedule to patch a temporary hole at shortstop.

It would be a huge step forward for the franchise if  they could start doing the same with their scarcest and most precious commodity -- their young pitching prospects -- and outlaw Jobacide from Yankee Universe once and for all.

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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