With questions looming about the state of the team’s bullpen health, there still appeared to be a resounding sentiment that the New York Yankees could be open to moving one of their “extra” arms over the offseason. Multiple teams were reported at various points to be scouting the Yankees’ pitchers, most notably the Texas Rangers’ interest in right-handed Joba Chamberlain.
It would seem, according to George King of the New York Post, that despite Texas’ “legitimate interest” in Chamberlain, the two sides never actually engaged in any discussions about a potential deal.
Chamberlain has been hampered by injuries over the past two seasons. Midway through the 2011 season he began to deal with some injury discomfort, ultimately leading to Tommy John Surgery. Between that recovery and a fractured ankle (that he suffered while playing with his kid), Chamberlain would only throw 20.2 IP before the 2012 season concluded. He’d struggle with command in those outings and was largely unimpressive pitching in a middle relief role.
Chamberlain seemed to bounce back this Spring, posting some strong numbers that clearly appealed to the Yankees brass. While not a primary option, the team clearly is banking on Chamberlain returning to form and offering up a reliable arm towards the back of the bullpen. David Robertson will continue to be the team’s principal setup option in front of Mariano Rivera, but Chamberlain could be counted upon as that next line of defense.
There was never much depth to the speculation that Texas had interest in Chamberlain. No names were thrown out as potential fits should the two teams attempt to work out a deal, though at one point a Mike Olt for Chamberlain swap was proposed by a few sources. Such a move would have likely been viewed as a significant overpayment on the part of the Rangers, particularly since Chamberlain will reach free agency this coming offseason where Olt will still be under team control for six more seasons. If King’s report is to be believed, the two sides never reached the stage where names were exchanged regarding a potential deal.
It’s unclear if Texas maintains interest in Chamberlain or if the two sides could speak down the road about a deal. Should the Yankees make Chamberlain available leading up to the July trade deadline it would not be surprising to see the Rangers step in with a renewed interest.