With all the news about Joba Chamberlain’s trampoline accident, it made me look hindsight into the treatment the Yankees had for Joba during the last few years. In 2007, he was the pride of Yankee town. Imagine New York having a Jeremy Lin or a Victor Cruz on the Yankees? You didn’t; have to because he was that guy! Chamberlain lit up New York with a high 90’s fastball and had fans envisioning the future Mariano Rivera.
The Joba rules were put into effect by the organization during that season and the image people still have of Chamberlain loomed large for a negative reason. To this day, I can remember the night in Cleveland where the midges ruined a potential tied series with the Indians going back to Yankee Stadium.
Then, there was 2008. New York was desperately looking for some starting pitching. When they made Chamberlain into a starter, the Bombers’ starting pitching ERA was just a little south of five! The move had to be made, but this turned out to be a big mistake. What made it worse was the expectations placed on Joba during that season from New York’s new boss. Hank Steinbrenner tried to be like his father and make a bold statement that would make New York tabloids.
At the time, Red Sox’ pitcher Josh Beckett was coming off of his second World Series title and winning Boston its second World Series title in four years. He also was the driving force behind Boston’s 3-1 series comeback against the Cleveland Indians in the 2007 ALCS, leading to his only ALCS MVP award. New York had no Beckett-like pitcher then, so Hank, as many Yankee fans thought, saw that potential in Chamberlain. However, maybe it was not smart to go out to the media and say that Joba is “our Josh Beckett” BIG MISTAKE!
Through innings’ limits and a Tommy John surgery, the move turned out to be a complete failure for Yankees’ management. As far as this recent accident goes, I am proud of Chamberlain for being that good father that is playing with his son while rehabbing from his injury and I feel that New York should still pay him the money that he is owed during this 2012 season.
Now, Major League baseball is having the same dilemma across other Major League teams. Organization such as the Reds (Aroldis Chapman), Rangers (Neftali Feliz), and even the Nationals (Stephen Strausburg) are trying to decide what the best way to handle their young flamethrowers is. I look at what Nolan Ryan is doing with the Rangers and the best way to handle the transition from bullpen to starter is to LET THEM PITCH!
Will Joba be back in 2012? That remains to be seen. The fact is that teams need to look at the handling of Joba Chamberlain because if you ignore history, you are doomed to repeat it (i.e Phil Hughes). We, at Yanks Go Yard, wish Joba the best of health and at least when he comes back, he will finally have one role (middle relief). It just makes you wonder what you have happened if the Yankees had just left Chamberlain in the 8th inning role, how much more dominant would the Bombers’ bullpen be?