Yankees GM, Brian Cash reiterated this week that pitcher Joba Chamberlain is a reliever. Cashman gave the media this quote about Joba’s 2011 role:

“a bullpen guy, for the 200th time”

This is the same Brian Cashman that said the Yankees will not sign surrender a first-round draft pick to sign Rafael Soriano. The Steinbrenners were apparently not in favor of Cashman’s plan to use Chamberlain as a set-up man for Mariano Rivera and opted to sign Soriano.

By signing Soriano, the Yankee brain trust is clearly expressing the lack of faith that they have in Joba. Joba’s steady drop in velocity and 4.40 ERA in 73 appearances last year has basically negated him to the back of the bullpen. Remember too that Joba’s first arbitration case was this season. His price will continue to go up in the next two seasons before he hits free agency. He must pitch well this season in order to stay with the team.

As of right now, I still think the Yankees should use Joba in the rotation. I don’t think Joba is that good of a pitcher, but he’s better than Sergio Mitre or Ivan Nova. Ownership has been in favor of using Joba as a starting pitcher before, so anything can happen. As we’ve seen already this off-season and many off-seasons before, expect the unexpected.