Joba Chamberlain topped Fantasy Baseball Dugout’s American League list of top prospects for the 2008 campaign, but today Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Chamberlain will begin the season in the Yankees pen as a “backend reliever.”
Girardi ended weeks of speculation in the Yankees’ spring training camp and on fantasy baseball worksheets all around the country. Clearly, Chamberlain is not going to take the closer’s job away from Mariano Rivera, but FBD believes that Chamberlain will take the 8th inning setup job and will likely be rested regularly after pitching. The Yankees don’t want to enter post-season without Chamberlain this season and he hasn’t yet shown that he can chew up a lot of innings. This move significantly lowers Chamberlain’s fantasy baseball value, because in fantasyland, set up men get little respect.
The losers in this deal are veterans Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins who will now assume middle relief roles for the Yanks. Of course, in fantasy baseball, middle relievers and set up men essentially serve the same purpose when it comes to fantasy baseball scoring.
The Yankees will go with the five man rotation of Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina, and Ian Kennedy. Girardi, knowing the New York media, would not commit to what the plans are for this year for Chamberlain, but he did say that he sees Joba as a future starter. When is the future was not determined. “I’m not saying this year. I’m saying in the future. I don’t want to be locked into anything,” said Girardi, sounding more like a presidential candidate than a baseball manager.