Is it time for the Yankees and Joba Chamberlain to part ways?


Eyebrows were raised on Monday night when Joba Chamberlain(notes) wasn't called upon for his usual eighth-inning duty during a tight victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Tuesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it's official: After opting for the services of David Robertson(notes) and Boone Logan(notes), Joe Girardi has decided that the role of Mariano Rivera's(notes) warmup act is no longer Chamberlain's exclusive property.

On the bright side, Chamberlain won't have to endure any jokes about "The Office" because he apparently won't be sent to the minor leaguers in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre like some have speculated or suggested.

On the other hand, he's become no more valuable to the Yankees than David Robertson.

Reports Sherman:

"It is possible Chamberlain will be used as part of a mix in the eighth inning. But no longer does he have sole responsibility for the inning when he is available.

"What is not possible, at least for now, is sending Chamberlain to the minors for two major reasons: 1) The Yanks feel it would be a terrible message to bust somebody from main set-up man all the way to Scranton in one move, so they will try to fix him outside the eighth inning and 2) They do not believe Chamberlain is failing because of an attitude problem. Yankee officials actually consider Chamberlain a hard worker."

And so the world turns on the soap opera that Chamberlain's promising career has become. It's been one roadblock after another, from the Joba Rules in 2008 to his adventures as a 2009 starter to his failed try to win the fifth starter spot over Phil Hughes(notes) in spring training.

A lot of people will want to argue that the New York Yankees did this to Chamberlain by handling him with extreme kid gloves, but it's impossible not to assign part of the blame — or his 5.95 ERA and 1.60 WHIP — to the pitcher himself. Yeah, there are better organizations for a young pitcher to blossom with, but you can't blame the Yankees for not giving him his chances.

Still, there have been so many more valleys than peaks in Joba's time with the Yankees, and both the team and its fans have lost confidence in his performance. Everyone seems certain that Chamberlain will one day become a great pitcher, but the chances of him making the transformation while wearing pinstripes look smaller every day.

And that's why I'd like to see general manager Brian Cashman loosen his grip and make Chamberlain available in trade talks this week. His value is still quite high and if there were ever a change of scenery candidate, it would be Chamberlain.

The Yankees, of course, shouldn't just give him away. But as long as the price is right and Cashman can make other arrangements to strengthen his bullpen, the status of that untouchable tag on Chamberlain should definitely be reconsidered.

What do you think? Should the Yankees consider trading Joba Chamberlain?