The other day, Steve wondered what the Yankees’ next move for Joba Chamberlain will be. He left it open-ended and there was a wide variety of responses in the comments section. I was away for the holiday weekend, so I was unable to respond. Consider this my extended response.
The first thing that could cross one’s mind is to trade Joba Chamberlain. Put frankly and simply, this isn’t going to happen. The biggest impediment is that Chamberlain is struggling right now and trading a player at his lowest point is just a silly move (see: Swisher, Nick). Chamberlain’s poor May further lowered his value that was essentially shot in Spring Training when the Yankees decided to make him a reliever for the 2010 season. Basically, a player’s value could not be lower than Chamberlain’s is now (non-Randy Winn/Gary Mathews division). There’s no way Joba gets traded for anything decent at this point.
Option number two is to send Chamberlain down to the minors. I don’t see this happening and, frankly, it’s not that desirable. David Robertson is banged up and Damaso Marte has been spotty, so there wouldn’t really be anyone to fill in for Chamberlain, especially given the absence of Alfredo Aceves. Getting bullpen work in Scranton will not help. The only way Joba should be there is if he’s starting, which, sadly, isn’t likely to happen.
The third choice is to just keep throwing him out there and hope he does well. He just finished a perfect inning and it’s worth noting that now 11 of his 14 outings have been scoreless. The only way he’s going to get better is by pitching. However, it’s not that easy, especially considering how few innings he’s thrown. He threw 10.1 in April and 11.1 in May. It’s hard for a pitcher (again, non-Mo division) to learn good delivery repetition and get a feel for pitches when he throws that few innings. If the Yankees want Joba to get better, they need to just let him pitch. It seems like the Yankees have done anything but that since 2007, but like they say, better late than never.
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