The Yankees should trade Joba Chamberlain.
Yes, I said it. Now, before I am criticized – such a response is understandable – or, at the least, ridiculed for that statement, allow me to explain my perspective. First, from a macro standpoint, good starters are generally more valuable than good relievers. Let’s establish that much, at least. As Dave Allen of FanGraphs notes, “an elite reliever is worth about the same as a just slightly above average starter,” which underscores this notion of good starterdom versus good relieverdom, with good starterdom winning every time. With that said, moving from macro (general) to micro (specific), Joba Chamberlain’s value is intimately tied to his role on the Yankees. As a reliever, even an elite reliever, he is just not as valuable as he would be if he were an above average piece of the team’s starting pitching. Joba has that ability, though – to be an above average starter – and other ballclubs know that. They have seen it.
So, if the young righty is “stuck” in the Bronx bullpen, why not cash in?
Despite the face saving comments made recently by Yankee GM, Brian Cashman, now that Joba will be reinserted into the back-end of the bullpen, I, like Billy Eppler, truly doubt we will see him in the rotation in 2011 or beyond. It appears as though his Yankee career is destined to be that of a setup man, bridging the gap to the impregnable Mariano Rivera (until Rivera retires, at that point, if Joba is still around, the closer job would be his). If that is the case, why not move Joba now, while his value as a starter – his potential in that regard – is still high? Relievers are just not that valuable and can often be replaced. So, trade him for something more important than a reliever (this post can be applied later in the season, when a true need arises). If he were moved, I’m sure that a David Robertson, a Chan Ho Park, a Damaso Marte, or a Mark Melancon could replace his current role on the team.
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