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May 302010

Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

The level of disgust in Yanklee land directed at Joba Chamberlain is palpable these days. Bill Madden referred to yesterday’s outing as “Comic relief”. The NY Post has a new nickname for Joba, calling him ‘Chamber-Lame’. Even his (always measured with the media) manager Joe Girardi effectively laid down the gauntlet in yesterday’s post game, and the frustration in his voice was evident. He said this:

“We had the game where we wanted, we had our eighth-inning guy in, we needed four outs from him … and he left pitches in the middle of the plate. He just didn’t make the pitches when he had to. Players aren’t going to be bulletproof, but he’s had some bad outings. He’s our eighth-inning guy and he’s got to get it done for us.”

Yesterday may have been the nadir of Joba’s 2010 campaign, but it wasn’t just one bad outing in isolation. He’s given up a whopping 10 ER in his last 5 IP. He’s currently sporting a 5.82 ERA and has allowed 3 runs or more in 3 of his past 5 outings. Some questioned the move by Girardi, but if you don’t bring him in there you never will. The next three batters were all right handed, and there were two outs in the inning. If he’s supposed to be the ‘Bridge to Mariano’ then he has to be able to preserve a 4 run lead with 2 men on base.

Mike Axisa of RAB has long hinted at sending him back to the minors as a much needed wake up call, and while I understand his rationale I’m not quite there yet. My take is to go in phases, burying him in the bullpen first and letting him earn his demotion step by step. He’s potentially too valuable to just give up on, and all relievers (non-Mariano division) struggle from time to time. One of the top candidates to replace Joba would be David Robertson, who’s just getting past his own early season struggles from April of this year. But that being said, I know where Mike A is coming from. Anyone who has observed Joba’s jiggling midsection as he jogs from the bullpen knows he’s not taking things as seriously as he needs to. There have long been questions about his conditioning and that was likely a big factor in why Joba lost out on the starting role to Phil Hughes this past spring. Success came very quickly and far too easily for Joba, and now he needs to learn the type of commitment it takes to maintain success at this level. If not, then he’ll just be another guy with a great arm who was a flash in the pan in the bigs.

What do you think? What’s your next move with Joba?

23 Responses to “What’s the next move with Joba?”

  1. Demote him. The Yankees had no problem doing that with Phil when he was struggling in 08 yet they have never done it to Joba. A wakeup call is what the guy needs.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    OK, who would you call up to take his place? Albaladejo? Melancon? I don’t think the team is better off with those guys on the 25 man instead of Joba. I’d rather bury him in the pen and work on getting him straightened out. Losing his role as the setup man and getting ignored by the media should get his attention, or at least I hope so.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    see but if he gradually loses his role and the earns it back wouldn’t they run the risk of having the same thing happening again. When he lost the 5th starter spot ppl said it would drive him to win the 8th inning role especially when they announced that he they will not just give it to him. Well the game it to him early in the season and his appearances have been up and down.  (Quote)

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  2. The ‘pen needs a reliable performer to step up now. However, demoting Joba doesnt guarantee that Robertson (who’s nursing some sort of strain) or Gaudin or Marte (reduced to a Loogy) actually steps in and is capable of performing an 8th inning function. There is no one in the ‘pen who’s riding sustained success. So with all things being equal, I say keep Joba as the 8th/late inning guy.

    With Aceves potentially out for the whole season, the Yanks need to promote within and get lucky with Melancon or Romulo Sanchez. The ‘pen cost us a potential sweep of an AWFUL indians squad. Now if the Yanks lose today, we’ll have an official disastrous holiday weekend.  (Quote)

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  3. We can’t demote Joba, b/c the pen as currently constituted is in shambles. If Joba and someone else doesn’t step up and pitch effectively (or trade at deadline), this team will not make the playoffs.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Well, they haven’t stepped up yet, and the Yankees occupy a playoff spot. Middle relief is important, but is unlikely to torpedo a team this talented.  (Quote)

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    eddieperez23 Reply:

    If “middle” relief were the only problem then I would agree, but right we have no middle or even a set-up RP to go alongside Mo. D-Rob looks to be turning it around perhaps, but we need at least 1 more RP solidify this team and comfortably make the playoffs. I’m not giving up on Joba, and think he can turn it around…but coming into this season, this pen was supposed to be in the top handful of the league. Instead, Joba has been Jekyl & Hyde, Aceves (key unsung RP) health is iffy for the season, Park has lost 5 MPH off his fastball, Marte is (see Joba), Mitre is miscast as a short RP, Gaudin is a marginal MLB pitcher, Logan/Melancon have been terrible in SSS. Put that all together and the Yankees now have a mediocre pen, if not worse. Should they make the playoffs, yes, but unless someone steps up, Bos/Det/TB/Min will make qualifying for the playoffs much more difficult then we thought coming into the season.  (Quote)

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  4. I’m also of the belief that you drop him gradually as he struggles. Immediately sending him to AAA is definitely an understandable position. Having anointed him “the 8th inning guy” in the first place was foolhardy. Strip him of such distinction and let him work his way back up the ladder. If he doesn’t show improvement, send him down. I would have preferred for him to be in AAA working on developing as a starter anyway, so I would say nary a word if this were to happen.

    One way or another, you can’t continue to get burned in high-leverage situations like we have because of some ridiculous unearned role he’s “supposed” to be in.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    The should have sent him down from the beginning and kept him stretched out. I guess they assumed he would take to the role of relieving and just fit right in. Unfortunately when he takes the mound we have no idea if he’s going to be on or off today.  (Quote)

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  5. He needs to earn the 8th inning role. He looks more and more like a guy who needs the stick more than the carrot. I’d use him in low leverage situations. If he remains ineffective, I’d send him to AAA and start him on the 2 inning regimen. He really needs to get into better shape. He looks like Ruth at age 35.  (Quote)

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  6. This Yankee team as constructed will not make the playoffs.The bullpen is flat out terrible.I never believed in Joba or Robertson, think Park is mediocre and a Naional league pitcher, think Mitre has pictures of Girardi in a compromising position and think Cashman under rated the 2 lefties he trade away in Coke and Dunn.Except for the Series what has Marte ever done in pinstripes ?  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Yup, they are so far out of the playoffs right now, it’s crazy. Wait, what?  (Quote)

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  7. The thing with demoting him is that it sends a message to the kid. If you demote him for 2 weeks and have Melancon come up to pitch I don’t think the team is going to implode. I think right now Melancon has just as good of a chance to match Joba’s lines.  (Quote)

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  8. Well, we’ve come a long way from the “Girardi/Cashman made the wrong call in spring training” stance have we?

    LOL…. now he’s a candidate for demotion and we haven’t even hit June? Man, Yankee fans never cease to amaze me. You guys turn quicker than doorknobs….

    Let’s start of by saying they made the right call and you were wrong. This isn’t aimed at anyone in particular, you know who you are. Sometimes the stats do lie and the eyes do not deceive. I didn’t have the kneepads out for this guy from jumpstreet so I’m cool with cutting the cord. I said a while ago this guy could be the next Hideki Irabu/Jose Contreras.

    I say trade him while he still has some value. Some small market team will be happy to take him off our hands and allow him to grow into a starter. He’s just not suited for the big pressure environment he was thrown into. This is all he’s ever gonna be for us, he’s rich man’s Kyle Farnsworth at best, that’s his ceiling in pinstripes. We need at least a poor man’s Jeff Nelson.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Good luck with giving up on 24 year old pitchers. Always a good idea to just give those guys away for no reason.  (Quote)

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    BxBomber Reply:

    You guys are gonna stick with him to the bitter end huh…. Listen, he’s had 3 years to demonstrate staying power in the bigs…. You don’t give up on 24 year old pitchers when you’re the Marlins or Royals. When you’re the Yanks, if you don’t bite as a pup, you’re not gonna bite ever. Worst part is, this guy was biting hard as a pup but regressed. That alone is a warning shot across the bow that he may have reached his ceiling early in his career. It happens. Some dudes just max out early then flame out after. See Dontrelle Willis and he was better than Chamberlain ever was. Those guys you need to get what you can for them when you can.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    trade him when his value is at an all time low??

    “Those guys you need to get what you can for them when you can.”

    what can you get for an inconsistent middle reliever with poor mechanics and velocity that fluctuates from appearance to appearance  (Quote)

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  9. I will give you a very good reason to send Joba to the minor. That’s he has a high performance ceiling, and he will never be able to achieve that by pitching in the bullpen. What Joba needs is IP to work on his mechanics and consistency. Heck he had less than 100 IP in the minors total! He’s not getting IP in the bullpen. I don’t claim to be a pitching expert, but I know a lame duck when I see one. Any other team by now would have sent Joba down, but the Yankees are unfortunately concerned about now instead of the future. The Yankees have really screwed up Joba’s development.  (Quote)

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    BxBomber Reply:

    There is no development. The dude doesn’t have what it takes to cut it in the bigs over a whole season. The scouting report is out on him, his conditioning is ass, he doesn’t perform in pressure situations, and he’s way too inconsistent to be counted on. The wake up call for him was losing the 5th starter battle after it was all but handed to him last year, if that didn’t wake him up that he needed to step his game up, nothing will.

    I don’t understand the infatuation with this dude. At best he might be an average 5th starter in the league. That’s his ceiling. Who wastes energy trying to “develop” those guys? Anyone who thinks he has Sabathia/Burnett/Beckett potential is blind.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    He was fine until he got injured. Thats when the wheels fell off. Sending him down is the ultimate wake up call because players like joba don’t want to touch the minors ever again. Chamberlain would rather be in the pen in the bigs than be in scranton.  (Quote)

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    Ken (OR) Reply:

    Hi, BCD…

    Chamberlain would rather be in the pen in the bigs than be in scranton.

    I agree with you and have all year, as far as sending him down. He needs to get in shape and work on his stuff and…..heck everything! Getting in shape is step #1, #2, and #3!  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    Hey Ken whats up.

    Yes you and I have been on the same page since he lost the battle for the 5th spot. He does need to get in better condition. Joba will always be a big guy but losing a few lbs isn’t a bad thing. Contrary to popular belief working out of the pen doesn’t offer the opportunity for him to fix his issues.

    This morning kim jones and mark malusis were hosting a show on wfan and a caller brought up the idea of sending him down because the yankees did the same thing to hughes. Unfortunately Marc and Kim shot the idea down.They believe sending him scranton would be a bad move because who are they going to replace him with. Kim Jones made the statement “Ppl forget the majority of joba’s appearances have been lights out its just these last few appearances where he has struggled” Marc and Kim feel that chamberlain can work through his struggles.

    LOL don’t ppl understand that as a reliever in the big leagues he’s on call every couple of days. How much work on the side can he do when he has to be the bridge to mo. And message to kim this isn’t a week and half of joba struggling. He has been up and down all yr.  (Quote)

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  10. I see a deal for a reliever as soon as a team with a good one is out of it.  (Quote)

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