It remains to be seen if the New York Yankees are willing to move Joba Chamberlain before the trading deadline, but there appears to be some interest in the right-hander should the team make him available. Multiple scouts were reportedly in attendance at recent games against the Minnesota Twins to watch Chamberlain pitch, according to George King and Dan Martin of The New York Post. Those scouts included Jim Fregosi of the Atlanta Braves and Lee Elder of the San Francisco Giants. Hank Shulman of The San Francisco Chronicle later pointed out that Elder was there to watch the Twins’ bullpen arms, not Chamberlain, but it appears the Braves’ interest may be legit.
Chamberlain pitched a scoreless inning last Friday with Fregosi in attendance. He’d do the same last night in front of Elder.
Atlanta’s bullpen has been a strength in recent years, but the team has been hit hard with injuries in 2013, in particular to their left-handed options. Chamberlain is a right-hander, but presents an interesting case given how up and down his career with New York has gone. He once appeared set to become a staple in the team’s rotation before bouncing back and forth between starting and relieving. It’s widely believed that the change in role affected Chamberlain’s confidence, coupled with missing some time due to injury and he hasn’t been able to live up to what were very high expectations.
Chamberlain will be a free agent at season’s end and there appears to be little likelihood that the Yankees will look to re-sign him. If they truly intend to let him walk, it’d make sense to see what they can potentially pickup for him before the trade deadline. He’d be a relatively inexpensive acquisition for the Braves should they seriously look to make a move, as he’s not due much in the way of remaining salary. It’s unclear what price tag the Yankees would place on him, however.