Pat Borzi of the New York Times posted a piece in the Bats blog on Friday, which had opened with a noteworthy exchange between the Joba and Mariano Rivera. He writes:
(h/t to Mike Silva of NYBD for the link)
Rivera, even at 40, remains the most feared closer in baseball. Chamberlain was waiting by the door of the clubhouse to be taken to an autograph session when Rivera walked by. Chamberlain, already in a chatty mood, suddenly fancied himself as Rivera’s successor and started bugging Rivera about retiring.
“You’ve got to pass the torch, four-two,” Chamberlain said, using common baseball parlance for someone’s uniform number.
By then, Rivera was nearing his locker on the far side of the clubhouse. He turned to Chamberlain, smiled and said paternally, “Your time will come.”
Chamberlain answered back, “You might be 50! I might be done by then.” Rivera, ignoring the last part, responded, “Then it’ll still come,” with an equally big smile. That did not make Chamberlain feel any better. “He might pitch until he’s 106,” he said.
Not sure how much I want to read into this. Maybe Joba is being chatty and a little cocky, and this is just some harmless banter with Joba playing up the much-discussed topic. Or perhaps these two know something we don’t. In any case, the quotes are what they are and people can draw their own conclusions. Mariano has recently stated in a WFAN interview with Mike Francesa he thinks Joba should be a reliever, while Joba has stated numerous times in the past that he wants to start. I would take the fact that Joba is currently battling for the #5 spot more seriously than some light-hearted exchange. Hopefully, one of the beat writers will see one of these posts and get Joba on the record again, one way or the other.