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What Is Joba’s Role In 2011?

Al Bello, Getty Images

Joba Chamberlain was once labeled the successor to Mariano Rivera as the Yanks closer.  That was 4 years ago – and my, have times changed.

So where does #62 fit in with the Yankees plans this season?

I don’t think Joba Chamberlain finishes the year with the Yankees.  I don’t mean he gets hurt – I think he’ll be traded at some point this season.

First off, he’s not even guaranteed to make  the Yankees out of Spring Training.  It’s all about his fit.  Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was non-committal when asked about Chamberlain’s role with the Yanks this season.

Let’s think about the bullpen right now:

  • Mariano Rivera: Duh, he’s the Yanks closer
  • Rafael Soriano: The set-up man/8th inning guy
  • David Robertson: He’ll probably be used in the 6th or 7th.
  • Boone Logan and Pedro Feliciano: Both are lefty specialists.
  • Sergio Mitre: They could keep him in the bullpen as a long reliever in case the #4 or #5 starters flake out.

The Yanks also have 5 starters so that makes 10 pitchers on the roster. So where does Joba fit in?  Perhaps in the bullpen if Mitre ends up a starter.

Mike Stobe, Getty Images

If he doesn’t make the Yankees big club, he’s not going to the minors. The minor leagues are like the “Love Boat” of baseball – you’re there on the way up and you’re back on the way down.  Do you think a player that has been in the Majors for 4 years is going to be happy with a role on a AAA team?  Joba would probably be used as a closer with “AAA” Scranton.  What purpose does that serve if you know he’s not going to be the Yanks closer of the future?

What’s Joba’s value on the trade market?  He’s lost speed on his fastball.  He’s not intimidating anymore.  Batters have figured him out.  He walks too many and has a horrible WHIP.  He’s not a starter anymore and I don’t think he’s much of a reliever.  You’d have to pair him with someone else like Montero to get some real value.

I just think his time in New York is up!!

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