Many players change hats during the free agency. However, not many former ‘top prospects’ leave their first team at the age of 28. Free agent RHP Joba Chamberlain agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers. Detroit also inked closer Joe Nathan in free agency so Joba is expected to compete for a 7th or 8th inning role. Joba was terrible last season, posting a career worst 4.93 ERA in 45 appearances. Still, many wonder what ‘may have been’ if Joba’s role was clearly defined when he first joined the Yankees in 2007. During the second half of the 2007 season, Joba captivated New York with his 100 MPH fastball and devastating slider out of the Yankee bullpen. During his six season in pinstripes, the Yankees weren’t sure whether they wanted to utilize Joba as a starter or reliever and this may have led to his inconsistencies. Randy Levine once called Joba the Yankees ‘answer to Josh Beckett’, which seems comical now.
Even though he became an afterthought at the end of his Yankee career, I’ll always have fond memories of Joba. Joba’s infamous ‘bug game’ in Cleveland will always have a special spot in baseball history. No one could question his heart or determination as he delivered passionate arm pumps after recording big outs. Don’t forget about ‘Joba Rules’, either. Alike Phil Hughes, maybe a change of scenery will help resurrect Joba’s career.
Joba wasn’t the only member of the Yankee bullpen to leave. LHP Boone Logan agreed to a three-year, $16.5 million (!) contract with the Colorado Rockies. Logan was known as a lefty specialist with a plus fastball who struck out 202 batters in 176 innings as a Yankee. Despite a high strikeout rate, Logan’s inconsistencies drove Yankee fans insane. Logan also had issues with his left elbow during Spring Training and he had bone spurs removed in October. During his four seasons in pinstripes, Logan’s appearances greatly varied year-to-year. Logan went from 51-to-64-to-80-to-63 appearances which displays erratic usage by Joe Girardi. We don’t know if the Yankees made him a formal offer, but Colorado definitely paid a premium since the allure of left-handed, strikeout artists are rare, regardless of their inconsistencies.