MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Ways for the Yankees To Replace Joba Chamberlain

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2011

MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Ways for the Yankees To Replace Joba Chamberlain

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    Joba Chamberlain was in the midst of a solid season out of the New York Yankees bullpen until a pop in his elbow ended it all.

    Now, he joins the ranks of Rafael Soriano, Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte as injured arms in the Yankees bullpen.

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman has already come out and said that Phil Hughes will remain as a starting pitcher once he returns from his stay on the disabled list, so he is not an option to replace Joba.

    With an already hefty load on the shoulders of David Robertson, and other internal candidates simply unproven, the Yankees really have no choice but to look outside the organization for a replacement.

    Let's take a look at 10 potential acquisitions the Yankees could make to take some of the burden off of Robertson and Mariano Rivera and slide into Joba's spot in the bullpen.

Mike Adams, San Diego Padres

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    Since joining the San Diego Padres in 2008, right-handed hurler Mike Adams has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. 

    Over 196.2 innings pitched, Adams has posted a 1.74 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 4.17 SO/BB ratio while setting up closers Trevor Hoffman and Heath Bell.

    This season, his numbers are even more impressive: 1.30 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and a 8.25 SO/BB ratio.

    Adams, who turns 33 in July, is one of three Padres relievers expected to be made available by the team in the near future.

Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics

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    A right-handed pitcher out of the Oakland A's bullpen, 33-year-old Grant Balfour could be a more attractive choice for the Yankees than his teammate Michael Wuertz.

    Prior to joining Oakland this season, Balfour spent four fairly successful years with the Tampa Bay Rays, posting a 3.33 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 2.6 SO/BB ratio.

    Not shabby considering the lineups he had to face in the AL East.

    With the A's in 2011, Balfour has remained fairly consistent with his Tampa numbers: 2.81 ERA, 1.2 WHIP and 2.1 SO/BB ratio.

    While Balfour may not be a "flashy" acquisition, he could be a relatively cheap one, and with his past success in the division, a player the Yankees should keep an eye on.

Heath Bell, San Diego Padres

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    Sure to be one of the most sought-after pitchers when the San Diego Padres make him available in a trade, 33-year-old closer Heath Bell will be near the top of the Yankees wish list.

    After starting his career in Flushing with the New York Mets, Bell has flourished with the Padres—first as Trevor Hoffman's primary setup man, then as Hoffman's replacement after he left the Padres.

    Bell has not shown any signs of slowing down as he is once again having a solid, if not spectacular season for the slumping Padres, posting a 2.33 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and SO/BB ratio of 2.44 to go along with his 17 saves.

    Bell will not come cheap and other teams, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, will most certainly be trying to acquire the two-time All-Star as well. Brian Cashman will have to decide rather quickly whether or not moving one of his prized prospects for him is the route he wants to take.

Brian Bruney, Charlotte Knights

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    From 2006-2009, Brian Bruney called the Bronx home.

    Currently, the 29-year-old Bruney finds himself the closer for the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights.

    Bruney has been impressive in the International League: 1.31 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 30 SO in 20.2 IP to go along with seven saves.

    Would the Yankees entertain bringing Bruney back?

    Seeing as how he isn't even in the majors right now, one would think that the asking price from the White Sox would be minimal.

    Bruney could be worth a flier, as the Yankees are familiar with him and know what he can do.

Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    After spending the first few seasons of his career setting up Eric Gagne, Jonathan Broxton has been moved in and out of the closer's role for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Currently on the 15-day DL with an elbow issue, Broxton is having a downright terrible season, with an ERA nearing six, a WHIP nearing two and little resemblance to the pitcher who was an All-Star in 2009 and 2010.

    Perhaps, like another player on this list, Broxton simply needs a change of scenery.

    It's apparent that the Dodgers are not convinced that he should be, or even can be, their closer going forward.

    As they fall further out of the race in the NL West, compounded with their financial issues, moving Broxton and his $7 million salary may be the smart move for all parties involved.

    It would behoove Brian Cashman to check in and see if Broxton is available, and if so, what it would take to bring him to the Bronx.

Matt Capps, Minnesota Twins

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    While it is widely regarded that the American League is a harder league to pitch in, 27-year-old right-hander Matt Capps started his career in the National League, but has slightly better numbers in the AL.

    In the NL (with the Pirates and Nationals): 3.48 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 4.17 SO/BB ratio

    In the AL (with the Twins): 3.27 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 3.80 SO/BB ratio

    Currently the closer for the injury-depleted Minnesota Twins, Capps ERA this season is up from his usual numbers (4.50), but his WHIP and SO/BB ratio are better than they've been previously.

    Should the Twins decide to re-tool as they fall further out of the race in the AL Central division, Capps could become a valuable asset.

Luke Gregerson, San Diego Padres

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    Since breaking onto the scene in 2009, 27-year-old right-hander Luke Gregerson has been the model of consistency for the San Diego Padres.

    In his role out of the Padres' bullpen, Gregerson has shown an ability to make batters miss throughout his short career, with 9.8 SO/9 and a 3.63 SO/BB ratio.

    He was off to another solid start to this season before being derailed by an oblique strain and currently sits on the Padres' 15-day disabled list.

    Upon his return to action, Gregerson is sure to be a sought after commodity, one that Brian Cashman will most assuredly check in with the Padres about.

Francisco Rodriguez, New York Mets

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    Currently the closer for the cash-strapped New York Mets, Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez is an intriguing option for the Yankees to consider.

    Having been a successful pitcher in the American League with the Angels, both as the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, K-Rod has surely underwhelmed during his time with the Mets.

    That being said, the 29-year-old has still put up respectable numbers out of the Mets bullpen: 2.99 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and a 2.38 SO/BB ratio.

    While rare for the crosstown rivals to trade with each other, it has been done before, and in this case, could prove to be beneficial to both clubs.

    The Yankees would get a solid reliever to slide into Joba's spot, and the Mets would get a mid-level prospect along with financial relief.

Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals

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    Recently replaced as the closer for the Kansas City Royals, 27-year-old right-hander Joakim Soria may simply need a change of scenery.

    Through his first four years in the majors, his career-worst ERA was 2.68, which came in his rookie season of 2007. Twice, his ERA was under 2.00.

    Not bad for a young pitcher on a team that seemed to be stuck in a perpetual rebuilding process.

    This season, Soria has fallen on hard times. His ERA has ballooned to 5.14, his WHIP to 1.43 and his SO/BB ratio, which entering this season stood at 4.04, is a meager 1.91 through 28 games.

    Rumors abound that the Yankees have tried to acquire Soria in previous seasons to no avail. With the Royals seemingly turning a corner this season on their way back to respectability, perhaps they would be more receptive to talks involving one of the Yankees better prospects.

    Whether or not Brian Cashman would consider including one of his gems, such as Jesus Montero, in a deal for a reliever remains to be seen.

Michael Wuertz, Oakland Athletics

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    32-year-old right-hander Michael Wuertz, while not an elite relief pitcher, has shown himself to be more than serviceable.

    After spending five seasons in the NL Central with the Chicago Cubs, Wuertz has come out of Oakland's bullpen since 2009.

    Like Matt Capps, Wuertz actually has better numbers in the AL than the NL.

    With the Cubs: 3.57 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 2.11 SO/BB ratio

    With the A's: 3.11 ERA, 1.1 WHIP, 3.04 SO/BB ratio

    Should A's GM Billy Beane decide to make some of his relievers available, Wuertz could be an inexpensive acquisition for the Yankees.

Closing Thoughts

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    By no means are these the only pitchers that the Yankees could look to acquire—the closer we get to baseball's trading deadline, the more players who will become available.

    However, adding any of these arms to the bullpen could go a long way in solidifying things and lessening the departure of Joba.

    Yankee nation, what are your thoughts?

    Fans of the Dodgers, White Sox, Mets, Padres, Twins, Royals and A's—how about you?

    Would you be willing to move these arms?