The Joba Question, or Just How Devious Are the Yankees?

I was looking at Cot's Baseball Contracts today, and I had one of my crazy ideas.

Joba Chamberlain is entering his first year of arbitration. He is in line for a pay raise.

Here's what he did in a full season as a starter: 157IP, 4.75 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 7.6 K/9

Here's what he did in a full season as a reliever: 71IP, 4.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.7 K/9

According to traditional measures, he performed better as a reliever- though there is a more nuanced argument to be made that his relatively solid numbers were ruined by his autumn collapse as the Yanks jerked him around trying to figure out how to manage his innings in '09.  That's not what I'm thinking about though...

In their first arbitration years, starters like Wandy Rodriguez and John Danks brought home around $3M.

On the other hand, non-closer relievers like Rafael Perez and Manny Delcarmen earned less than $1M.

Are the Yankees calculating enough to take a "Joba to the pen" stance to save themselves a couple million dollars? Once Joba signs (or goes to arbitration in February), will their public position soften to "allow" Joba the chance to compete for a spot in the rotation?

If I'd thought of it, I'd do it.

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