Reliever Joba Chamberlain makes sense as a possible target for his former club the New York Yankees after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians Monday.
Aside from the vaunted late inning triumvirate of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances, the Yankees bullpen has actually been a mess this season. No member of the Scranton Shuttle has found consistent success at the big league level this year.
The club has used their remaining four bullpen spots as a revolving door for Quad-A journeymen and fringe prospects, hoping to find someone to help bridge the gap between their starters and the big arms at the end of the game. The team declined to bring in any veteran bullpen depth this winter, and that cost-cutting move has hurt them.
A familiar face could provide them with at least a partial solution, as former Yankees wunderkind Joba Chamberlain finds himself a free man after being designated for assignment Monday by the Cleveland Indians. Although he’s now 30 years old and far removed from his days as the most touted young arm in the organization, Joba still appears to have something left in the tank.
More from Yankees News
- What does Carlos Rodón’s new jersey number mean for Domingo Germán?
- Red Sox living in different financial ‘galaxy’ than Yankees Killer Rafael Devers
- Yankees slice surprising fan favorite off roster to make room for Tommy Kahnle
- Yankees announce corresponding move, make Carlos Rodón signing official
- Aaron Judge puts more pressure on Yankees after being named Captain
Chamberlain was actually having a pretty nice year for himself in Cleveland before the DFA, pitching to a 2.25 ERA in 20 innings and striking out 18 in that time. He was struggling with his control at times, issuing 11 free passes. You only have to look back to 2014 to see the last time he was an effective setup man, when he had a 3.57 ERA and 3.16 FIP in 63 IP for the Tigers.
With a four-seam fastball that has averaged 93.4 mph this year (just a tick below the 94-95 heater of his Yankees days), Joba can still throw gas. His mid-80’s sweeping slider is an effective secondary pitch, and he will mix in an OK curveball as well.
It’s difficult to say whether Joba Chamberlain’s seven years of history in the Bronx helps or hurts his chances of returning this year. Both sides know each other well, but Joba was sometimes a…colorful figure during his time in New York. Presumably he left behind a bad taste in at least one or two executives mouths.
The Yankees have been on something of a nostalgia kick in 2016, bringing back Nick Swisher and Phil Coke from the 2009 championship squad. Joba would fit right in on the Scranton Wilkes-Barre roster and would probably be an upgrade over guys like Kirby Yates and Anthony Swarzak in the big league bullpen.