After the Yankees agreed with Rafael Soriano, rumors began to swirl about Joba Chamberlain’s role on the team. Chamberlain, who has been the media’s favorite whipping boy, has bounced back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation over his first four years with the Yankees. With Soriano and Pedro Feliciano now in the fold, Joba will theoretically receive fewer meaningful opportunities. We have all seen flashes of brilliance from Joba. We have also seen his constant mental lapses. Ultimately, the Yankees will have decide between four potential choices for the 2011 version of Joba Rules…

Choice #1: Put Joba back into the rotation

As of right now, the Yankees have Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre slotted as the fourth and fifth starters. Nova has only start seven games, posting a 1-2 record and 4.50 ERA while Mitre only started three games last season. Neither pitcher exactly strikes fear into the hearts of Red Sox Nation. On pure intimidation alone, Joba deserves to be in the rotation over these two pitchers. As a starter, Joba has a 12-7 record with a 4.18 ERA in 43 career starts. He has posted a K/9 of 8.4 Joba’s strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.04) is a little low and his control definitely needs to improve. Based on the Yankees’ current options, Joba seems like a good fit for the rotation.

Choice #2: Send Joba back to the minors

Before I get ahead of myself, Joba is out of minor league options. The Yankees would need put Joba through optional waivers, where teams virtually never claim players. Even if another team put in a claim for him, the Yankees could quickly pull him back.

By sending Joba to the minors, the Yankees could stretch him out again. It would improve his confidence and command by facing inferior hitters.

Choice #3: Trade Joba for another ‘viable starter’

Last week, we heard that the Yankees would be willing to move Joba for a viable starter. Well, we’ve gone through about viable option on the trade market and any logical choice at this point would not warrant the Yankees surrendering an undervalued Joba. If the Seattle Mariners called, wanted to trade King Felix for Joba, I’d drive him to the airport myself. But that would never happen. Clearly, the Yankees are just seeing what the market for Joba currently is. I’m sure they’ve gotten some calls, but I highly doubt he’ll be moved before the season starts.

Choice #4: Keep Joba in the bullpen

Probably the most pointless move at this point. The Yankees virtually have the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings locked down with four very good relievers. Joba would virtually serve as a mop man/long reliever. Remember, Chad Gaudin and Dustin Moseley are no longer on the team, so why not have Mitre do the dirty work? Plus, if the Yankees wanted to build Joba’s trade value, having him pitch in the sixth inning of a blowout won’t do much. It just doesn’t make any sense to keep in the pen at this point.

The Verdict:

As of today, moving Joba to the rotation is the right move for the Yankees. Heck, send him down to the minors to start the season and let him build up his confidence. Given the Yankees current rotation, moving Joba back to the rotation makes the most sense. The Yankees need to have their best potential starters, starting. Let Joba have another crack at the rotation.

What do you think the Yankees should do with Joba?