Free Agent Forecast: Joba Chamberlain
I've never seen a pitcher make a splash quite like Joba did for the Yankees in 2007. He threw 100 MPH and had a devastating breaking ball. He was also great in 2008, but it's gone downhill ever since. The Yankees experimented by making him a starting pitcher in 2009, which failed. The "Joba rules" didn't work, and he ended up having Tommy John surgery in 2011. In 2013, his stuff was back to what it once was. Good velocity on the fastball and a slider with plenty of movement. Joba's problem, though, was command and control. He gave up more home runs and walks per nine innings than he ever had, and his role was reduced to late-game mop-up. Originally from Nebraska, Joba has struggled with his weight and also famously dislocated his ankle in 2012 on a trampoline with his son.
It's been reported that dozens of teams are interested in Joba. I'm sure the thinking is that if they can somehow harness his stuff, he has a chance to be a solid 7th-8th inning guy. The Yankees, however, are reportedly not one of those teams, which isn't surprising. He's been so inconsistent that he can't be considered an option for the bridge to Mariano, which has to be one of the Yankees most important holes going into 2014. Despite that, his velocity is still very good and he's only 28-years-old, which means that somebody will surely take a chance on Chamberlain.
I could see Joba leaving the American League all together, but not for any particular reason other than a change of scenery. It's all going to depend on who is interested, but I could see Joba ending up with the Phillies, Cubs, or Giants. All three teams are thin in relief pitching and could use another arm. In terms of money, Joba isn't going to get anything significant, but I would assume he'll get a multi-year deal because of his young age. I would predict a 2-year deal worth $2 or $3 million.