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Joba rules trade rumors

The Yankees undoubtedly would trade pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

The larger issue: To who and for whom?

What Chamberlain has proved in his Yankee career is that he is neither an effective starter or, in the long run, reliever. He is lights out or gets lit up. That’s lethal on the Yankees.

Last spring, Chamberlain couldn’t beat out Phil Hughes for a spot in the starting rotation. He had middling success in 2009 as a starter before the Joba Rules limiting his innings seemed to undo him.

Last season, Chamberlain couldn’t cut it—despite his ability to strike out batters--when given the opportunity to be the eighth-inning setup to Mariano Rivera. He's even too erratic to own the sixth or seventh inning.

Chamberlain is 18-13 with a 3.77 ERA. He has struck out 362 batters in 353 1/3 innings. That’s all good, but the signing of Rafael Soriano as the bridge to Rivera--and perhaps one day becoming the closer--speaks volumes on the Yankees’ plans for Chamberlain. At least in a significant role. 

That is not to say Chamberlain would not coveted by other teams, Any 25-year old with a live arm (and relatively modest salary of $1.4 million)) would be welcomed, but what could the Yankees expect in return?

The goal of obtaining a starting pitcher is a lofty one in that few, if any reliable ones, are available. The Cubs, one of a few teams with some excess, traded lefthander Tom Gorzelanny to the Nationals for three prospects. The Yankees probably figured a deal that included Chamberlain would have to yield a better candidate.

Forget the Web chatter that suggests Chamberlain going to the Mets for Mike Pelfrey. Why would the Mets want to do that?  

The Yankees have been reluctant to give up on Chamberlain but he certainly needs a change of scenery. There are takers. The Yankees need to decide on the best one and move on.


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