Has anyone fallen from grace faster than Joba Chamberlain? He was once viewed as the heir to Mariano Rivera‘s throne, but now, the New York Yankees are lucky if he can get through an inning cleanly. He is no longer the dominant reliever he once was, and if the Yankees truly want to make a run towards the playoffs, it might be in their best interest to sever their ties with the former first round draft pick.
On the surface, Joba’s numbers this season aren’t terrible, but they’re far from good. He’s 2-0 with a 4.84 ERA in 34 total appearances. The thing that jumps out at you first is obviously his bloated ERA. For a Yankee bullpen, which over the past few seasons has been heralded as one of the best in baseball, his numbers just don’t fit.
He also doesn’t have the trust of Joe Girardi. Joba has been used less often in big situations, and now really only comes in in a mop-up role.
In fact, take Friday’s game against the Boston Red Sox for example. The Yankees had a seven run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, when Girardi brought Joba in to get the final three outs. Joba was able to get two, but then loaded the bases. Joe Girardi didn’t have enough faith in Chamberlain to get out of the jam with the final out of the game, so he took him out for David Huff.
Let the fact that Huff has an ERA of 12.46 sink in for a moment.
It’s amazing that Joe Girardi would trust Huff of all people to get out of a bases-loaded jam instead of Joba.
Now I’ll give credit where credit is due, as after his first abysmal stint with the Yankees, Huff was sent down to Triple-A in mid-May, where he did find success. He was 1-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 13 games. Obviously the record isn’t pretty, but pitchers have very little control over the wins that they get – that’s up to the offense.
When the Yankees sent down Preston Claiborne a few days ago to make room for Mark Reynolds, the team was questioned as to why they didn’t get rid of Joba instead. The reason, as it turned out, was that Joba had no options; he would have to clear waivers before he could be sent down to Triple-A, and then there was the risk that the Yankees would have to outright release Joba.
But Joba has been so ineffective, that it wouldn’t really hurt to just get rid of him.
Claiborne has been much better than Joba this year, and has been a quiet surprise for the team, boasting a 2.88 ERA in a little over 40 innings pitched. Just the fact that he has pitched more innings than Joba shows that Girardi trusted Claiborne more.
To put it simply, Claiborne gave the Yankees a better chance to win coming out of the bullpen than Chamberlain currently does.
So why don’t the Yankees just bite the bullet and get rid of Joba? He’s ineffective, and has seemingly lost the trust of his own manager, who has stuck by him for years.
The Yankees need to win games if they want to contend down the stretch. Does it make sense to keep Joba in a mop-up role? I don’t think so. They’re better suited keeping Claiborne on the team, that way Girardi has another arm that he can turn to in the bullpen in close games, instead of using another reliever, and run the risk of tiring them out.
Joba’s time in New York has reached its end. The Yankees obviously aren’t going to get anything for him, or give him a qualifying offer in the offseason, so it’s time to bid farewell to the former flamethrower.