Ever since he came up through the New York Yankees’ minor league system, Joba Chamberlain has had a troubled career. His time in New York can best be described as a wacky roller-coaster ride full of highs and lows. This has made Joba both a fan favorite and a bit of a headache. Yet heading into the last year of his contract, is there a team that is looking to pry him away from the Yankees?
The answer to that is yes.
It is being reported by multiple outlets that the Texas Rangers have been scouting Chamberlain’s appearances this spring. Considering the Rangers lack depth in both their starting rotation and bullpen, adding Joba would be a huge boost for them. The question is, do the Rangers have what the Yankees need in order for them to successfully acquire Chamberlain? Even more important, do the Rangers want to give up good players in return for a troubled reliever?
Chamberlain has impressed so far this spring, posting a 3.60 ERA in five appearances. He has allowed two runs, four hits, and has struck out three. He has also shown that he can throw his fastball in the mid-90s. History has also been relatively kind to the right-hander, as he has boasted a career 3.73 ERA as both a starter and a reliever.
Earlier this spring, Chamberlain expressed his desire to once again be a starting pitcher, something the Rangers could certainly use.
Don’t expect the Yankees to allow the Rangers to just take Chamberlain for a couple of low-level prospects, though. Based on their current injury situation, the Yankees could want the Rangers to part with Mike Olt, who is currently the #2 prospect in the Rangers’ organization.
Now let’s be real here, how likely is it that the Rangers part with Olt in order to get Chamberlain?
To me, a more likely scenario would involve the Rangers trading Mitch Moreland instead. This would allow them to move Olt over to first base, as he is currently blocked by Adrian Beltre at third. This would also provide the Yankees with a solid first baseman who could fill in while Mark Teixeira is out with his wrist injury.
Not so fast though, the Yankees aren’t so sure that they want to trade away Chamberlain at this point. According to this report in the New York Post, both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman aren’t “thrilled” with the idea of a trade. They feel that having a healthy Chamberlain will add depth to their bullpen, which has become a strong-point for the team over the course of the last few years.
Also despite the injury problem, I get the feeling that the Yankees will be content with playing Kevin Youkilis at first base, and Ronnier Mustelier at third. They have tested that set-up a bit in the last few Spring Training games, and it has appeared to work.
So while some Yankees fans would be content to see Chamberlain be traded away, it doesn’t appear likely at this point that a deal will be made. But of course, this is baseball, and anything is possible.