To: Brian Cashman
From: Andrew Marchand
Re: Joba Chamberlain
CC: Ivan Nova
Anytime someone recently has asked, "Could Joba Chamberlain start again?" You have very publicly answered the question by saying, "No." But that may be in large part because you and Joe Girardi are sick of being asked the question so you have decided to table it.
Now, though, after the Rafael Soriano signing, it seems it can not be completely removed from discussion.
There are strong voices in the Yankees hierarchy who think that Andy Pettitte may comeback, but if he doesn't you still have very serious rotation issues. Are you really going to have Ivan Nova as your No. 4 starter with Sergio Mitre as your No. 5 and then a host of unproven, if highly touted prospects in the wings?
With a payroll currently in the $180M that seems like a risky plan for 2011. Right now, Chamberlain is just another guy in the bullpen. He will pitch the sixth or the seventh, which are not high leverage innings.
The worry on Chamberlain is that he has not been able to throw enough strikes to go more than five innings as a starter. He was pushed to the bullpen last year because there are important decision-makers in your organization who think he is better in short bursts and that at best he is a No. 3 or worse starter.
Even if this is all true, would you be better served with Chamberlain as a starter? Forget that it is Joba -- with his magnetic ability to spark conversation -- and think if this were just a 25-year-old, talented pitcher. If he were just another prospect, it would be a no-brainer.
Right now, Chamberlain's trade value is low. The only way to increase that is to put him in a more important role. So not only could he solve your biggest problem, he could be used to address your next one. Seems like a win-win.
But consider this, as a starter in his career, Chamberlain is 12-7 with a 4.18 ERA in 43 starts. Nova is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in seven starts. We won't even get into Mitre. Seems like an easy call, even if Pettitte comes back. You have to make Chamberlain a starter.
Besides bring up the whole Rules thing, is there really a good reason not to?