The New York Yankees, according to Joel Sherman, are sick and tired of Joba Chamberlain’s act. Yesterday, Chamberlain voiced his opinion about his ability to start or close.
This was promptly dismissed by Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman, who said there was an opening in center field.
Maybe Sherman is right. and the Yankees do have Joba fatigue. However, it is of their own creation.
When Chamberlain came up in 2007, there was a ton of hype surrounding him. A few members of the Yankees brass even compared him to Roger Clemens. They allowed Chamberlain to come in as a reliever, pump his fist after every out, and cultivated this cultish hero.
The Yankees decided early on that they would keep Chamberlain as a starter and then reneged on that after the “Joba Rules” controversy that caused a ton of headaches, and ultimately did not save Chamberlain from having to eventually undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow.
The Yankees abandonment of the Joba as a starter experiment lasted just 43 games across two seasons before Cashman and Girardi decided it was better to have Joba in the bullpen.
Meanwhile, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova were given much longer auditions and Nova, despite coming off of a year much worse than Joba’s as a starter, is being given another opportunity to win a spot in the rotation.
The writing is on the wall. The Yankees want to get under $189 million for next season, and won’t be able to afford Chamberlain in all likelihood. It is obvious that the Yankees don’t view Chamberlain as anything more than a middle reliever.
So, my question is this, if the Yankees, who have enough candidates to fill out the middle relief corps, don’t view Chamberlain as a long-term option, why don’t they trade him? What sense does it make to let Chamberlain walk away at the end of the year and get nothing in return? Why not trade him and realize some value in return? Maybe there is a right-handed hitting outfielder out there that can be had.
Maybe the Yankees do plan on trading Chamberlain. Maybe they will be stubborn and keep him on the team all year in the hopes that they go deep into the playoffs and make a run at a World Series title. However, with Cody Eppley, Shawn Kelley, David Aardsma, David Robertson, and a fast-approaching Mark Montgomery, the Yankees don’t need Chamberlain. Maybe now is the time to part ways with him and get something in return that can help the team this year or in the future.
If the Yankees are sick of Chamberlain, and are not going to re-sign him, then trade him already.
The Yankees have handled the Joba situation all wrong. They never should have made him a middle reliever and should have kept him as a starter until it was absolutely clear he couldn’t hack it as a starter.
Instead, the “Joba Rules” that the Yankees created seemed to wear down the front office and they grew weary of answering questions about Chamberlain. Now, they have this current situation to deal with – also of their own making.