Some MLB rumors are starting to pick up steam regarding the New York Yankees plan for Joba Chamberlain. No, he isn’t going to be made a starter, because that ship has sailed. Instead, with C.C. Sabathia slated to come off the disabled list this coming weekend, the Yankees are going to need a roster spot. Chamberlain, who has allowed 20 baserunners in only 6.2 innings, is a prime candidate to be sent down to the minor leagues to make room for Sabathia.
Since being activated from the disabled list on Aug. 1 following Tommy John surgery and a broken ankle suffered from the infamous trampoline mishap, Chamberlain has been unable to locate his pitches. His velocity is doing well, his fastball averages just a tick over 94 MPH, but he has no idea where it is going, which is a pretty common problem for pitchers coming off of Tommy John. A couple of weeks in the minors might do him well.
The Yankees rushed Chamberlain off the DL after trading Chad Qualls to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Casey McGehee right before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. Chamberlain was actually on his way from the Bronx to Trenton, where he would continue his rehab, when GM Brian Cashman diverted him back to the Bronx to fill in for Qualls in the bullpen. Things haven’t worked out for Chamberlain or the Yankees since then.
In seven appearances, Chamberlain has allowed 15 hits, four walks, hit one batter, struck out four and allowed two home runs. His ERA stands at 9.45 after last night’s appearance against the Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees can send Chamberlain down now for 10 days and recall him when rosters expand in September. Or, they can allow him to work his issues out in the minors and recall him when he is ready. If they do send him down, AA Trenton is the most logical fit because of AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Empire State’s hectic travel schedule, where every game is on the road this season.
The Yankees need to do something with Chamberlain and this is the most logical fit. With every game having playoff implications from here on out, the Yankees can’t afford to let him work his problems out at the Major League level. The Yankees rushed him back before he was ready and now need to make sure they don’t destroy his confidence. Chamberlain will still figure to be an integral part of the bullpen moving forward beyond this season but they must get him back to throwing strikes and locating his pitches.