Great story on Joba in the Daily News today; it comes highly recommended.
Cue up the Yankeeography!
(gotta love the passion)
According to reports out of Omaha, Nebraska (linked above) and ESPN TV, Joba Chamberlain is heading to Toronto to join the Yankees. It’s a move that we have been anticipating for a while, and a move that, if Joe Torre can handle it, should pay dividends for the Yankees nearly immediately.
Harlan Chamberlain, Joba’s dad, broke the move to the Omaha World-Herald. “To be happening this quick, it’s just a dream,” he said to reporter Mitch Sherman. “It’s a dream that was always there, but to achieve it this quick, it’s unbelievable. It’s surreal.”
In a corresponding move, according to ESPN, the Yanks will keep Jim Brower around and send Jeff Karstens, who was shaky during his first appearance back from the DL last week against Chicago, to Scranton. There is still no word on who will be dismissed when Jason Giambi is activated tomorrow, but we’ll have more on that when it happens.
The Yankees’ Front Office would like Joba Chamberlain to become the 7th or 8th inning guy for the Yanks. He’ll replace Kyle Farnsworth outright. Farnsworth will now be the mop-up man for all intents and purposes. Chamberlain will also take some pressure off of Luis Vizcaino, the current set-up man who has been great recently but has appeared in 33 of the Yanks’ last 59 games. Vizcaino, in danger of becoming this year’s Steve Karsay or Ron Villone, is rapidly approaching career highs in innings pitched and appearances.
Chamberlain, 21, is pitching his first season of professional baseball this year. He has rapidly moved up the list of Baseball America’s top prospects and is currently regarded as one of the top five best players not in the majors. In three levels of Minor Leagues, his numbers are downright nasty. He’s struck out 135 in 88.1 innings and opponents are hitting just .198 against him. Impressively, he’s walked just 27.
As a reliever over the last few days, he’s been flat-out nasty. He’s thrown 4 innings and has gotten 10 of those 12 outs through a strike out. He’s given up one hit, and that’s all.
While many people are concerned that Joe Torre will ruin Joba, I have to think that Brian Cashman won’t let that happen. While Torre seems to be a lame duck — and trading and releasing his crutches proves that — Cashman will exert influence to keep his prized possessions in a good start. There just isn’t enough of the season left for Torre to run Joba ragged.
For the team, this is huge. They’ve got a bona fide power pitcher — and not a power thrower like Bruney or Farnsworth — coming out of the pen. He can dial it up to 98 and mixes in some stellar off-speed pitches. Considering how bad the Yanks pen looked a few weeks ago, things are looking up for the Yanks.
We’ll see your Eric Gagne, Boston, and raise you a Joba Chamberlain.
We just can’t quit him. Jenny Vrentas has the latest on Joba the Reliever at Ledger on Yankees. The Yanks will have Chamberlain pitch two innings tomorrow on two days’ rest. The Yanks have yet to set a date for Joba’s arrival in the Bronx, but the longer Kyle Farnsworth continues to smirk his way off the mound after giving up two home runs in an inning, the sooner Chamberlain’s ascension will come.
Update by Ben: Mike, on vacation, points us to the BA hot sheet where the Yankees have not one but two pitchers in the top five. The BA staff feels that, as good as their number one hot sheet pick Chamberlain’s been, number five Ian Kennedy has been even better. Check it out.
Update by Joe: Someone asked about Gardner. He’s on the 7-day DL with what they’re calling a lower body contusion (I think Ajax missed time with that this year). He was hurt last week when running into a wall. The ball was trapped between him and the wall, leading to the contusion. It’s not serious, but he’s going to need the 7 days.
Triple-A Scranton (3-2 loss to Rochester)
Kevin Thompson: 0 for 3, 1 K
Justin Christian: 2 for 4, 1 3B
Erubiel Durazo: 0 for 3 — hitting .209 so far
Eric Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 K, 1 BB
Alberto Gonzalez — 0 for 2, 1 BB — not a very triumphant return
Wil Nieves: 0 for 3, 1 K — not missing a beat
Steve White: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K — those 3s are not a typo
Joba Chamberlain: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K — look out American League!
Scott Williamson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
I don’t like this move, but as I sit here and suffer through a Kyle Farnsworth implosion in a six-run game, I guess the Yanks have no choice. As everyone watching the game knows, the Yanks are moving Joba Chamberlain to the bullpen.
Here’s how the move is breaking down: Chamberlain, scheduled to start tomorrow, will instead work out of the bullpen at some point during the game. He will then relieve again on Wednesday, and the Yankees will evaluate the 21-year-old at that point.
I’m not a huge fan of this move. Chamberlain is pitching in his first professional season, and he’s been starting all year. Now, in August, the team is moving him to the pen because the pieces Brian Cashman has put in place on the big league level aren’t getting the job done. Someone’s gotta step up and
cover Cashman’s ass get the job done. The Yanks are hoping it’s Joba. And that’s not even touching upon the injury risk.
Meanwhile, as Ed Price notes, the Yankees insist that Joba’s future remains as a starter. That is a no-brainer really. I would always take 180+ innings per season of Joba the starter than I would of 70 IP of Joba the reliever. I hope the Yanks aren’t lured into using him as a middle reliever/set-up guy for too long.
At this point, I guess we should expect Chamberlain to arrive in the Bronx sometime after Hughes’ return in August. I’m guardedly skeptical of this decision.
In his AAA debut tonight, Joba Chamberlain made it look easy. He went 5 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 walk. He allowed no runs and 10 of his 15 outs came via the good ol’ strike out. So that line looks like this: 5, 4, 0, 0, 1, 10. So much for that three home run start in Trenton last week. For on-the-scenes reporting and analysis, check out the game post at the SW-B Yankees blog. Now the Yanks have two pitchers at AAA who are better than Kei Igawa.