Aside from being ridiculously painful, Joba Chamberlain‘s injury obviously pushes back is return from Tommy John Surgery. Before this, there was the sense that anything the Yankees got out of Chamberlain in 2012 would’ve been fantastic; that sense is even more heightened now. And regardless of the semi-forgiving title of this post, there is no way to spin Joba Chamberlain’s injury positively. Well…nearly no way. If one thing has come of this, it’s reassurance in the quality of the Yankee bullpen.
Had this injury not happened, the Yankees still would’ve been without Chamberlain until late June at the earliest. The loss of a reliever of his talent and ability would be damning to just about every team. The Yankees, though, were and are in a position to overcome such a loss. The Yankee hallmark has (almost) always been a powerful lineup, but under manager Joe Girardi, the bullpen has been a source of great consistency despite the usual volatility of that part of the team. Despite Chamberlain’s absence, the 2012 bullpen should be no different than the bullpen of the last four seasons.
While having Joba Chamberlain at all is most certainly better than not having him at all, his injury and upcoming rest and rehab show us that the Yankees don’t necessarily need him. The three-headed, late-inning monster of Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, and Rafael Soriano is arguably the best bullpen trio in the game. It’s also worth noting that the Yankees’ strong rotation will make their bullpen look even better.
None of this is to say that I don’t (or the Yankees don’t) want Joba back as soon as possible because he’d certainly be an upgrade over, say, Cory Wade, but the relief corps is well equipped to guide the team through his absence, no matter how long it takes.
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