The difference between the NL and AL is not that big. You don't add 2 runs to a guy's ERA. He was one of the best pitchers in the NL last year. I realize his years in the AL were not great. Well, actually, he did not have a pretty good 2007. Anyway, even if you want to add a run and a half, that's still lower than 4.50. That is gonna get you double digit wins easily with the Yankees.
I just think past performance is a better indicator than some arbitrary +1 assumed difference. It's hard to say how he's going to do back in the AL. Was last year an sign that he's turned the corner in terms of being a "pitcher" rather than a "thrower"? Maybe. Or did he benefit from a 7-9 that couldn't hit their way out of a wet paper bag? Maybe.
But it is only a one year trial, so if things don't go well, he could be out the door by the ASB. At the end of the day, starting pitching is always worth more than a weak hitting outfielder, so even if the Yanks just acquired a trade chip, it's not a bad deal.
As far as the Joba debate goes, here is how I have seen it...the way I've seen it from the beginning. To me, it doesn't really matter what he was in amateur ball or the minor leagues. If you establish yourself as something in the big leagues, that is what you should do. I mean, we see people change position in football the time when they make the jump to the next level. The game is different, and you can no longer get by on just physical talent. The same applies here. In lower levels, Joba could get away with more as a starter. He probably just blew everyone away in a few pitches, so he didn't have to hold back. Now, batters work him and ring up the pitch count. It's obvious to anyone that watches the Yankees that he holds something back when starting. How many games did we see him hitting 90-91 on the gun...then suddenly when he went back to the pen, he was around 95. The most important point is that the Yankees have a need for a set-up man and a replacement for Rivera. Joba definitely has the attitude and stuff of a top-flight reliever. I'd leave him there.
I agree with you here. But I don't see how that's any different than any learning period any player in the history of time has had to go through. At some point, EVERY player has to recognize it takes more than talent to succeed at the highest level, and start putting in the work (I'm still waiting for Cano to figure this one out). IF Joba learns how to pitch, I don't see why he can't be a successful starter. There's nothing wrong with his curveball or his slider. He just needs to put in the work to gain better control of them.
At this point, it's on him though. No more babying, no more innings limits, no more extended rest. That's why I say give him one full year as a starter, with regular rest, and if he can't hack it, then send him to the pen. But I think he at least deserves a fair chance.
Honestly, from the beginning, I've associated the Joba situation with the issue the Red Sox went through with Papelbon. The difference is, the Red Sox needed a closer, not a setup man. And Papelbon stepped into a more prestigious role.
But so far, Joba doesn't seem interested (and I can't say that I blame him after Mo recently stated he wants to pitch for 5 more years). But like I said, if he really wants to start, it's on him to put in the work and prove that he can. Because in the end, pitching in the 7th/8th inning is better than not pitching at all.