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Oct 112010

Even when he’s not pitching, Joba Chamberlain makes news. He didn’t make an appearance in the ALDS vs. the Twins, and some found it at least curious. Steve touched on it yesterday and so did Ben Kabak. For some reason, I enjoy writing about Joba (and people seem to enjoy rooting for him) so I’ll give my thoughts on the possible paths for Joba.

There are three distinct paths I can envision for Mr. Chamberlain. One is the trade path, one is the back to starting path, and the last is the stay the course as a reliever pat. Two of those three–one and two-require a lot of things to happen, so we’ll discuss them as we move forward.

As Ben noted, Chamberlain is about to be arbitration eligible and that means he’s going to get a raise. If Joba is indeed a reliever, the Yankees may determine he is too expensive (as they did with Melky Cabrera) and ship him on out. At the end of the day, I think this is relatively unlikely. Even though Joba closed on a hot streak, he’s perceived to have had a bad season and his value is most certainly at its lowest. The fact that he had this “mediocre” season out of the bullpen also hurts his trade value. Despite his youth, he’s still “just a reliever” and there isn’t a lot to be had for relievers in trades. Even if the team the Yankees are trading with views Joba as a starter in the future, that team has no incentive to admit that and give the Yankees more in a trade.

Though I brought it up, the Joba-as-starter ship has more or less sailed. There is likely no way that Joba will ever start another game for the New York Yankees. It’s sad to say that, but there are only two real ways that Joba starts again in pinstripes: the Yankees don’t sign Cliff Lee OR Andy Pettitte does indeed retire. If either one of those things happens, I think Joba will at least get a shot to be the fifth starter. I’m not going to hold my breath on it, though, and I encourage you to do the same.

And that brings us to the possibility that is most likely: Joba stays with the Yankees as a reliever. It doesn’t seem that the Yankees will get anything great in a trade for Joba at this point and there isn’t much room for him to start. Hell, even if they want him to start mid-season next year, they can’t; Joba’s out of options and can’t be sent down to stretch himself out. As of right now, he’s worth more to the Yankees as a relief pitcher than he is as a trade piece.

9 Responses to “The Future of Joba”

  1. And that brings us to the possibility that is most likely: Joba stays with the Yankees as a reliever. It doesn’t seem that the Yankees will get anything great in a trade for Joba at this point and there isn’t much room for him to start.

    I’m not so sure about this. Joba still has trade value and could be packaged in a deal to fill some major need. Don’t forget, everyone said IPK had no trade value after stumbling in 2 abbreviated MLB stints and he wound up being a key piece in the Grandy deal. Other teams understand that NY is a different place to play, and would buy banking on his upside.

    Also, if we’ve learned anything in recent years it’s that Cashman tends to sell low on his top prospects. He sold low on IPK, Tabata, and had a deal in place for Montero in the midst of a bad year when Cliff Lee became available. The “never sell low” crowd frankly isn’t paying attention. Also, selling low is pocket cahange for a team that operates the way the Yanks do. They wants stars, top performers, and if someone looks like his ceiling is lower than that (or will take too much time to get there) they’ll gladly cut bait and not lose any sleep over it. The unfortunate fact of the matter is Joba Chamberlain is a rounding error on a team like the Yanks.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    What are you trying to get in return? The outfield is full, the infield is full, you won’t trade Joba for any starter if actual value because he isn’t a starter of actual value and I don’t see anyway in hell the Royals are trade Soria for Joba Chamberlain.  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    Not 1-1, but as I said he could still be a key piece in a package deal. And Soria is exactly the guy I’m thinking of. Joba, another good prospect arm (Nova, Noesi, Stoneburner) and a good MLB-ready position prospect (Romine) could be too much for the Royals to pass on. Fill 3 needs with one deal, they’re better off as a team that’s rebuilding.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Matt Imbrogno Reply:

    Maybe it’s just my bias since I’m not a huge fan of trading for Soria, but if I’m the Royals, I probably say no to that deal. Joba’s stock is down, Romine’s is even farther down and he’s definitely not ML ready, and Nova’s got limited upside. Noesi and Stoneburner are solid, but still far enough away that they wouldn’t push anything over the edge.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    I agree with Matt on this one the Royals only have one known player to anyone outside of that town and it’s Soria there is no way they trade him for him a reliever could be a starter were not really sure, a catcher who has never been above double A and was only a star prospect in A ball and 2 limited upside arms like Noes and Nova.

    I imagine any trade talks for Soria are going to start and end with the names Brackman, Banuelos and Bettances. Everyone knows about them and everyone knows about Joba’s problems now if you want to throw in Joba with one of the above I’m sure they would do it but at that point I’m backing out of the deal.  (Quote)

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  2. Basically you outline what people have feared ever since Joba got sent to the bullpen and that is he has very little “future” in the big leagues as anything more than a middle reliever… What a far way for his star to fall from the once crowned Ace/Heir to Mariano down to the level of a Brian Bruney type, it almost makes me wish he would get traded so he could at least attempt to start but I don’t want to get nothing in return and do him a favor because it’s a business.

    At this point I don’t see anyway he heads into next season ahead of Robertson on the setup list and if somehow they bring back Wood (as unlikely as it is) then he would be behind both of them and with Aceves hopefully on the rebound for next year (back problems worry me with him) he looks to be nothing if not a last option in a serious situation.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    You basically laid out his future with the team. He has no future with this ball club and I wish it wasn’t the case. Some of it rests on his shoulders but also part of the blame falls on the shoulders on of the yankees. The crap they pulled in Aug/Sep of last yr was a joke and now we have a middle reliever great job guys  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    The guy never even had any triple A playing time… He ended up with like 17 innings or so total in triple A and most of that was in relief preparing to come up to the bigs. His developmental time was shot from the gate.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    Thats true his development has taken a major step back and all this bullpen stints haven’t helped either. All of this work for a middle reliever that won’t have a role once Aceves comes back WTF  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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