It’s a throw-away line at the bottom of this story and I wasn’t able to confirm it via video of today’s postmortem press conference held at Yankee Stadium but it appears as though the Yankees have decided that RHP Joba Chamberlain is better suited to the bullpen long term.
I spent all of last winter arguing that the Yankees needed to send Chamberlain down to the minor leagues to do with him what the Red Sox did with Clay Buchholz in the first half of 2009. Instead, the Yankees essentially rigged the competition for fifth starter by giving Phil Hughes the job and returning Chamberlain to the bullpen. Much was made of Chamberlain’s spectacular failures in relief this year and, by all accounts, it appears that the organization has lost faith in #62, not only as a starter but as a high-leverage late inning reliever.
I expect this is the first move that sets in motion a plan towards eventually trading Chamberlain to a team with an unaffordable asset that the Yankees covet.
As an unabashed critic of Chamberlain’s, I can’t say I disagree with this decision. If the team is not committed to returning him to the rotation and if Chamberlain himself is unwilling or unable to make the adjustments required of an MLB-level starting pitcher, the Yanks are left with few options. If they can get something for him, the Yanks should trade Chamberlain.