Joba Chamberlain has been awful this season and, as a free agent destined for another team in 2014, there doesn't seem to be much of a point to keeping him around if he's not going to provide adequate value. The Yankees have a strong bullpen, but he's quickly become the weak link and it's probably time to do something about it, but what can they do?
1) Let him figure it out: Before going on the disabled list, Joba had a 3.86 ERA, a 3.48 FIP and batters were hitting .278/.372/.306 against him in 9.1 innings. Since coming back, he has a 9.00 ERA, 6.77 FIP in June and batters have hit .357/.400/.667 against him in 9.0 innings. The Yankees could wait for his numbers to even out and perhaps add some value to the bullpen. Despite a 6.77 FIP, he actually has a 3.02 xFIP because of the three home runs he gave up this month, so he could be much better.
2) Option him: A 6.38 ERA with a 5.07 FIP should not guarantee you a spot on a major league roster, yet here we are. He's been terrible and has even lost his spot in the seventh inning to Shawn Kelley. Only Brett Marshall has provided less value (-0.2 WAR) than Joba Chamberlain (-0.1 WAR) and sending him down would allow them to bring in someone else who might offer more, while letting him get out of the Bronx to figure himself out. One of Vidal Nuno (1.44 ERA, 2.08 FIP in 25 IP in Triple-A) and Dellin Betances (2.81 ERA .178/.257/.300 25.2 IP as a reliever) should get the call first.
3) DFA him: Joba has absolutely no trade value as a 0.3 WAR player since 2011. Teams might still take a chance on him, but they're not going to pay anything for him, so there's no point in thinking they can trade him. After the organization's response to his outburst during spring training and now the fans' response after the incident with Mariano Rivera, it's clear that no one likes him and since he hasn't been any good for awhile now, there's no reason to hold onto him. Any other player would have been gone, but for some reason the Yankees hold onto him. Maybe they hope they can salvage some kind of value from him before he leaves New York as another failure of the farm system. Teams in and around contention, like the Cardinals, Reds, Giants, Pirates, Braves, Indians, and Padres could pick him up and hope that he figures it out in another ballpark, but he might also have to make do on a team like the Astros, who could use anyone, and hope that he impresses someone enough to sign him in 2014.
Joba Chamberlain was exciting in 2007, but that was six seasons ago. Not surprisingly, he was most valuable as a starter in 2008 (3.2 WAR), but then injury and Phil Hughes relegated him to the bullpen. We can blame whoever we want, but in the end Joba has just not been a good pitcher. Maybe he can rebound with another team and get a second chance to start or maybe he's just destined to play the part of a middle reliever. Whatever the future holds for him it doesn't involve the Yankees, so I wish they would just move on and not worry about him at this point.
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