He was once the crown jewel in the farm system of the New York Yankees and considered perhaps the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. Today, Joba Chamberlain is not even a primary setup man for the Bronx Bombers, almost an afterthought in the bullpen. Sunday’s latest fiasco, giving up a three-run home run to Adam Jones during a 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, is the latest low in a career that started with such fanfare, including the use of the “Joba Rules”.
When he was called up for the stretch run of the 2007 season, Joba instantly created a tremendous buzz. Armed with a 98 mile per hour fastball and nasty breaking stuff, Chamberlain racked up 34 strikeouts in 24 innings, sporting a miniscule 0.38 ERA. New York was home to Joba Mania and there was such high hopes for the young righty. However, the Yankees couldn’t seem to make up their mind about making him a starter or keeping him a reliever. For the record, I supported putting him in the rotation. Over the next two seasons, he started 43 games out of 74 appearances with only moderate success. In 2009, his ERA was a messy 5.38 and if you count this season, that ERA has been above 4.00 in three out of the past four seasons. Injuries have played a role in his demise with elbow surgery during the 2011 season and a dislocated ankle in Spring Training in 2012. For his career, Joba is a 23-13 record with a 3.78 ERA, allowing 426 hits with 175 walks and 443 strikeouts in 441 innings pitched.
Joba Chamberlain will be a free agent at the end of the season. He was once considered the future of the Yankees’ pitching staff. Now, he will be very lucky to be back in the Bronx in 2014.
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