A little controversy and questions still surround the future of Joba Chamberlain and which role on the pitching staff he should hold. Joba claims he wants to start and has been prepared to assume that role in his pre-Major League career.
Yet he also says if asked to pitch in the 8th inning, will do whatever is in the best interest of the team. Many Yankee fans and sports experts seem to have varying opinions on which is the more necessary role on the Yankees staff.
Should he be groomed as the heir apparent for Mariano, who has at best maybe two more years to his career? Or does he really have the goods to be a prime time player as a solid starter who can dominate the game into the 7th or 8th inning on a consistent basis?
Coming off a year when he was guided through his starts on a strict pitch count, we saw glimpses of the potential he has, then a shoulder/arm problem developed which caused a set back. The current plan is to have him join the elite new pitchers added through free agency, with Wang (coming back from a major injury).
If Phil Hughes finally steps up and they do sign Petite, that would open the door to put Joba back into the 8th inning role.
If Joba stays in the rotation, there is a void as to who will end up filling that role in the bullpen. The one certainty is a decision has to be made soon, you can't switch him from one role to the other. Depending on whether the team decides to bring back Petite or another experienced 5th starter, we should have the answer in a few weeks.