25Q/25D: What is Joba's future?

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
8:45
AM ET
25 Questions, 25 Days: Day 18

Justin Louis Chamberlain is only 26 years old, but it feel as if he has scrunched a whole career into five seasons.

Joba has gone from superstar to average to forgotten to now injured. What is the next stop on the Joba train?

Chamberlain, coming off Tommy John surgery, will likely not return until June at the earliest. Even if he comes back before then, what role is left for him? The Yankees do not consider him a starter, a closer or a setup man on their current roster so all that is left for him are the middle innings reserved for middling pitchers.

Next stop would seemingly be out the door. That could be sooner than later.

Chamberlain is first going to have to re-establish his value as a player. When he returns he is expected to be used in low leverage situations as he tries to find his form.

On a personal-level, I have always liked Joba. He is excitable and a definitely brings noise to what can be a very stoic clubhouse. While he is not the most quoatable guy, he always has been accessible, which is saying something because of how much spotlight he has had before his 27th birthday.

But, at this point, Chamberlain is a non-factor. He is an update on the blog. At most, he is what could have been topic? Though Chamberlain's personality makes you hope for more, he seems destined to have a disappointing Yankee career.

Could that change? It is not impossible, but it is really improbable. As long as Brian Cashman is the GM, Chamberlain will never be a starter again. On the reliever depth chart, even if healthy, it is hard to imagine Chamberlain any higher than the seventh inning man.

Even to be promoted to that role, Chamberlain would need some things to happen. Mariano Rivera could retire next year, opening the closer spot for either David Robertson or Rafael Soriano. If that happened Chamberlain could be the seventh inning man.

If any of the big three relievers were to get hurt, then Chamberlain might be a little more important.

First things first for Chamberlain and the first thing he must do is comeback from Tommy John. The surgery is one that can restore you to almost as good and sometimes even better than before. But it is a long process.

Guys like Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson and Josh Johnson have had a lot of success post-TJ surgery. So it can be done.

It just seems like no matter what happens from here, the legend of Joba is over. He is now just a guy on the team, trying to get back, but, still, if he does it won’t be in a very big role.

So here is the question for you: What do think of Joba’s career? What do you think he has left?

Tomorrow: Will CC be able to carry his weight?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146