Wanted: Job[a] in the Phillies Bullpen


It’s been a lost year for Yankees RHP Joba Chamberlain, whose fans would like to see him leave NY for good. Photo credit: Getty Images

Last week, I took a look at how the Yankees and Phillies match-up well for a trade for immediate relief and future considerations, and as it turns out, the Phillies are interested in Yankees reliever-once-acclaimed-starter Joba Chamberlain.

As Feinsand points out, the Phils would be interested in dumping the salary of Michael Young (the Phillies are on the hook for $6M), which would likely mean Freddy Galvis or Cody Asche would be called up into everyday duty. In 88 games with AAA Lehigh Valley, Asche has 21 two-baggers, nine steals, eight homers and a .787 OPS. Galvis has underwhelmed, slashing just .217/.250/.304.


If Joba were acquired by the Phillies, Michael Young and his .329 wOBA would probably become the Yankees’ new corner infielder, similar to what Kevin Youkilis was supposed to be. Photo Credit: H. Rumph Jr. of the AP.

When the husky 21-year-old right-hander from Nebraska burst unto the scene in 2007 with an electric slider and even more jolted fastball, the Yankees thought they had the next Roger Clemens on their hands (0.38 ERA in 24 IP with a SO/BB Ratio of 5.67 and .75 WHIP). “Joba Rules!,” Yankees fans cried, as the actual rule initiated by Yankees hierarchy prevented him from throwing consecutive days and an extra day of rest for each IP in an outing.  The following year, Chamberlain’s ’08 campaign showed continued signs of success– 10.6 SO/9 with a 2.60 ERA in 100 IP, with 12 starts (ironically, his first start came against none other than Roy Halladay) under his belt. As you’re surely aware, Chamberlain’s ’09 campaign as a starter was pretty disasterous (4.75 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, career-worst 1.75 SO/BB ratio), which prompted the Yankees to shift Chamberlain to setup man in 2010.

A tale of two halves, Chamberlain struggled mightily in the first half of 2010 (5.79 ERA in 37.1 IP with a 1.50 WHIP), losing his setup job to David Robertson, who has it to this day. After the All-Star Break, however, Chamberlain once again proved to show signs of that electric Mariano heir: 34.1 IP of 2.88 ball with an opposing OPS of .648 and 4.63 SO/BB rate. Losing his spot in the pecking order to Kerry Wood towards the end of the season, Joba hasn’t been the same since.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011, suffering a freak trampoline accident in 2012 and telling noted-gentleman-and-greatest-of-all-time Mariano Rivera to “don’t shush me,” it’s pretty apparent Chamberlain has worn out his welcome in NY, with a 4.13 ERA (ERA+ of 103), WHIP of 1.40 and 3 BB/9 since 2011.

Likewise, Phillies utility infielder Kevin Frandsen could also receive expanded playing time, and it’s worth noting he hit .338/.383/.451 in full-time duty last year (1.6 WAR in 55 games last year according to Baseball Reference). But in the land of hypothetical, what would the Phillies be getting in Joba Chamberlain?

With Phillippe Aumont sent back to Triple-A due to command issues, Mike Adams’ three tears in his shoulder ending his season and an otherwise shaky relief corp very similar to the one that contributed to last year’s worst eighth inning ERA in MLB, the Phillies would have to be confident in their ability to re-sign Joba in the off-season if they were to deal for him.  Assuming Chamberlain’s ceiling is the second half of 2010 (keep in mind, Chamberlain is still only 27), he’d be a nice piece to have next to Papelbon. All this is dependent on whether or not the Phillies see themselves as buyers or sellers, but so far so good in this crucial home-stand. Remember, the thinking among the Phillies is that they can still contend with names like Lee and Papelbon next season while the Michael Youngs and Carlos Ruizs of the world are expendable. Of course, the Yankees would likely have to send over a controlled piece over, such as a C prospect like 2b Angelo Gumbs.

Ultimately, however, for two teams on the fence of contention and mediocrity, this is a match-up that would help both; the Phillies would aide their bullpen woes while getting younger dumping Michael Young, while the Yankees would get consistent production from the right-handed side.



One Response to Wanted: Job[a] in the Phillies Bullpen

  1. Pingback: Potential Trade: Young for Joba | GET REAL BASEBALLGET REAL BASEBALL

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