When San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy was asked for his input on the trade market late last month, he surprised many by saying that the Giants’ greatest need was in the bullpen. It appears that the Giants front office agrees with Bochy’s opinion, as George King of the New York Post reported Tuesday that the Giants have sent scouts to watch New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain.
With the Giants’ current bullpen situation, it is not a huge shock that they are pursuing additional help. Righties Sandy Rosario, Jake Dunning, and George Kontos are rather inexperienced, and though they should eventually be replaced by the more experienced Santiago Casilla and Chad Gaudin, it would be nice for the team to have another pitcher with more experience in crucial situations. As the cliché often goes in baseball, “you can never have enough pitching”, and a veteran like Chamberlain would provide some help in the event that the Giants sustain more injuries or poor performance from their staff.
It can be argued that with the numbers Chamberlain has put up this year, he is no better than anyone the Giants have right now. He has a 5.75 ERA over 20.1 innings and has 22 strikeouts against 10 walks. Chamberlain had a decent start to this year, but after returning from the disabled list, he struggled immensely, putting up a 9.35 ERA in June. He has regained his form to a degree over his last two outings, however, as he has put up two consecutive perfect innings. The 26-year-old has maintained his fastball velocity and topped out at 96 MPH on Monday night. According to King, Chamberlain’s issues have lied in his inability to throw his slider effectively.
If the Giants can get Chamberlain without having to give up too much in return, which is likely since the Yankees seem somewhat eager to get rid of him, he could be a quality acquisition. Though he has struggled at times this year, a quick fix is all he needs to get back on track. The Giants made a similar deadline move for a struggling righty in 2010 with Ramon Ramirez, who had put up a 4.46 ERA in 44 games for the Boston Red Sox. All he went on to do was have an 0.67 ERA over 25 appearances for the Giants and help boost the team to a World Series victory. With a pitcher who has as much ability as Chamberlain does, it’s worth taking the risk.