After turning out a solid season in 2011, expectations were high for Joba Chamberlain to be a reliable contributor out of the bullpen again this year. But due to a freak offseason injury that left Chamberlain with a broken ankle, he was forced to sit out for the majority of 2012. Since his return to the pen the beginning of this month, he’s struggled to settle in or maintain any kind of command on the mound.
During his six rehab starts in the minors, Joba looked more than ready to rejoin the Yankees after going 3-0 and giving up just four hits, allowing only one home run, and finished with a 0.96 ERA. After dominating performance like that, the Yankees looked for the same to continue in the majors, however, it seems as though Chamberlain has regressed since coming back to the Bronx.
When he made his first appearance in 2012 against the Baltimore Orioles on August 1, the crowd at Yankee Stadium rose to their feet to give the reliever a warm welcome salute, however Joba couldn’t return the favor. In 1.2 innings pitched in that game, he looked rusty after allowing four hits, one homer, and two earned runs. Thanks to the powerful bats on display that day, the Yankees still managed to pull off a win, but Joba’s woes still continue.
He’s been called to the mound in seven games thus far, and has shown no signs of improvement yet. With 6.2 total innings pitched since being reactivated, he’s been hit 15 times, two of which being home runs, along with seven earned runs being tallied against him, all of which has earned him a whopping 9.45 ERA. It seems as though every time called on so far, he’s failed to produce a single quality performance.
Since getting called up to the big show in 2007, Chamberlain looked to be a promising young reliever who could consistently contribute out of the bullpen for the Yankees for many years to come. But the club has since bounced him around the roster numerous times, utilizing him in different roles as both a starter and a reliever, which may have made it difficult for him mentally and physically to find any kind of comfort zone with the team.
In 2008 the Yankees began to insert him into the starting lineup, as he started 12 games that season. In 2009, they transitioned him entirely, making him strictly a starter. Chamberlain finished out that year with an decent 9-6 record and 4.75 ERA in 31 starts. Much to the surprise of fans and likely Joba himself, he was once again yanked from the starting rotation and pushed back into the bullpen.
He’s had his share of good and bad days along the way, but with all of the back and forth in his role with the team, it’s led to plenty of inconsistency in between. It’s clear to see now that the organization wants him to be a top reliever, but with performances like he’s put on lately and the end of his contract nearing, Joba’s days in pinstripes may be numbered.