Joba in the ‘pen for 2010 – and beyond?

Yankees director of pro scouting Billy Eppler appeared on WFAN Saturday with host Evan Roberts and, among other topics, was quizzed on the future of Joba Chamberlain now that he has been restored to the bullpen.

Eppler splashed cold water on the idea of Chamberlain returning to the starting rotation at any point in 2010 and, it would appear, beyond that as well — at least, while he’s wearing a Yankees uniform.

Here is the transcript of the exchange that concerns that topic:

Roberts: “Where do you guys envision Joba Chamberlain now? I mean, he’s going to be the eighth inning guy, and he’s probably gonna be damned good at it. He was so good at it in ’07, he was so good at in ’08. There’s good reason to believe he’ll go there, he’ll be lock-down. Is this his future? As a reliever, and eventually replace Mariano Rivera when he is set to retire?”

Eppler: “Yeah, not to get too ahead of ourselves there. You know, I don’t think Joe has quite anointed him the eighth inning guy right now. I understand that there would be beliefs and that a lot of people would think that he should be in that role. I think, obviously, you know, even with the good outing today he’s got to demonstrate the ability to hold that role. But I think there are some other guys in our ‘pen that are that are capable of that as well. It’s kind of a nice problem to have, for lack of a better word. With Joba though, I do believe he could be a starter. You know, just in the environment that we’re in, you’re trying to break with with the twelve best. That’s not to say the other clubs aren’t trying to do that. I think if we were in a different setting, a different situation, you might see Joba Chamberlain in the rotation.”

Roberts: “Yeah; you know, honestly, I think like every other team maybe besides the Yankees and the Red Sox, he’d probably be in the rotation. I mean, he’s got a great arm, it’s just that you guys are so deep. You know, when you when you can go and have Javier Vazquez as your fourth starter. That’s as deep as anybody. I guess, is there a situation where he starts again this year? I’m under the assumption that he’s the eighth inning guy, and that’s it. The debate is over. I know he could still start, like I mentioned – he could certainly start for the Mets, my team.”

Eppler: “In the here and now, I don’t foresee any situation. Obviously, that’s for Brian and Joe, but I don’t think they foresee a situation where he would go into the rotation. He is going to be a reliever, and obviously we’ve seen what he’s been able to do in that role. He’s been able to be very dominant in that role. I don’t foresee a situation where he would be starting at all.”

Roberts: “Right. But does the question get re-asked next year, in 2011, like, is Joba a starter? Do you think that question will be asked again? Maybe he’ll compete for a rotation spot next year?”

Eppler: “Um… I wouldn’t consider that likely, no.”

Thanks to The Yankees Universe for the find.


It’s seems to me that Joba is one of those players who can’t make it in the Bronx. Maybe the Yankees expected too much from him or he can’t perform on the big stage. He is a very talented young man who the Yankees might need to trade for someone they need to fix a short term problem and win the division if it came to that.


It would be nice for the Yankees to pick one job for Joba and stick to it. I dont know if he would have ever made a great starter but its hard to tell when he’s the set up man for 5 minutes, then he’s a starter for 10 minutes. It hasnt been to his favor to be moved arond that much especially in just one season or two. He needs to be given a specific role and then werk on that role and only that role. I think he would be a great 7th-8th inning man if given the proper chance. I could also see him replacing Marino when the time comes if he’s proven himself in the set up spot. I wouldnt count him out yet!


Joba had his chance last year and blew it big time. He is so overrated it’s ridiculous. The guy is ok coming out of the pen but he can’t go more than once around the lineup. No way will he be a Yankee forever. Ever since he made fun of Yogi, and his off field behavior, I lost any love for the guy. He has turned out to be a punk. Trade him while you can for a left fielder.


Hey Brian, Steve from TYU here. Thanks for the link, much appreciated.


I agree with the suggestion that Joba has all the makings of a great 8th inning reliever. Could he or should he be a starter? I’m still not completely convinced of his ability to withstand the long run of at least 6 or 7 innings before he’s relieved and that, for at least half of the season. I think he would turn out to be a fairly good starter but with the likes of Petitte, Burnett and all the other great one the Yankees have, why risk anything? The club might profit better from an excellent relief pitcher than from a good to average starter. But then again, I’m not Joe Girardi!


OK, Joba is a reliever..for now. Remember, injuries can occur and he could be counted on to go into the rotation. And let’s not forget that Andy Pettitte won’t be around forever. He probably will retire after this season and his replacement is already on the team..Joba. Just leave him alone and let him go about his business in the rotation. Stop messing with his head by shifting him from the rotation to the bullpen and back again. On the other hand, he COULD turn out to be another Jonathan Papelbon, who has certainly excelled as a closer. This of course, when Rivera hangs them up.


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