Saturday, July 31 at 4:30 p.m. marked MLB's official trade deadline—well, technically at least.
New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman was hard at work trying to fix the mess the organization has made of Joba Chamberlain.
It is no secret that the Yankees don’t know what else to do with Chamberlain, but looking at his historically short career, the answer is pretty evident.
Back in 2007, Joba was Cashman’s prize pupil. The problem was no one wanted to take the time to teach the 24-year-old because of one infamous bug game.
Then in 2008, Joba had the weight of an entire city on his shoulders. Failure didn't seem to be an option, and whenever things looked bleak for Joba, he got yanked from the mound.
Fast-forward to 2010—Joba lost the coveted fifth spot in the Yankees rotation to Phil Hughes.
Joba didn't deserve it; Hughes pitched better, and he continues to exceed expectations. Hughes went to the All-Star Game, and that must have taken a toll on Joba’s confidence level..
Skipper Joe Girardi’s solution is pretty simple: "We want him to pitch at the level he's capable of pitching at. Until we get Joba right, I might look at matchups a little more." (Per NY Daily News .)
The Yankees bullpen needed help, and Cashman’s answer was Cleveland Indians pitcher Kerry Wood. He claims it had nothing to do with Joba and every thing to do with Chan Ho Park, who was designated for assignment.
This has everything to do with Joba, but in one sense Wood is a veteran who once dazzled the city of Chicago with his fastball. Wood was Chicago’s pride after striking out 20 batters in his sixth career start.
Wood’s career didn’t pan out like it should have, as he has served 14 stints on the DL in his 13 seasons—his latest just days before he landed in New York.
Wood has 62 saves over the last three seasons with 165 strikeouts; he appeared in 146 games out of the bullpen.
For now, Wood is a walking liability, but with an upside that might be worth the risk. Wood’s experience could be just what the doctor ordered for changing Joba back into the phenomenon everyone witnessed in 2007.
Wood has been in Joba’s shoes, as he has yo-yoed from starter to reliever like musical chairs.
The other hope for Wood is to help down the stretch out of the bullpen in getting to Mariano Rivera. The fact is, Wood is an upgrade from Chan Ho Park.
So, Cashman covered his ass there. Maybe the Yankees secretly banned Wood from the DL list. Who really cares, because this could work.
This leaves many questions unanswered. For example, could Brian Cashman have killed two birds with one stone?
My bet is yes, and Cashman will be deemed a genius because the concept is just shy of being too good to be true.