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.