COMMENTARY | The San Francisco Giants need bullpen help. With Santiago Casilla on the disabled list, their relief corps has been a mess: they've tried numerous pitchers in Casilla's setup spot and haven't had much success replacing him. So it makes sense that with the trade deadline right around the corner, the Giants would be linked to all kinds of available relief pitchers.
The latest rumor has the Giants scouting New York Yankees right hander Joba Chamberlain. The former phenom has struggled this year, posting a 5.75 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 21 appearances while giving up a .301 batting average to opposing hitters. Chamberlain also has an extensive injury history and has missed significant time over the past three seasons.
There are pros and cons to any potential Giants deal for Chamberlain. On the plus side, Chamberlain is a hard thrower who regularly reaches the upper 90s with his fastball and would give the Giants another power arm to set up Sergio Romo. He seems like a prime candidate for a change of scenery, away from the crushing expectations that have followed him in New York ever since his major league debut. Plus, he'd be moving to a ballpark better suited for pitchers.
On the downside, there's no getting around the fact that Chamberlain has been awful this season. The Giants would be banking on a bounce-back, but would the risk be worth it for an injury-plagued, inefficient pitcher? Add in the fact that Chamberlain will be a free agent at the end of the season and the cons list gets even longer.
So is Chamberlain a fit for the Giants? Hard to say. On one hand, it's always tempting to add a power arm to the back end of a bullpen, even one that's struggled as much as Chamberlain has. The Giants are probably confident in their coaching staff's ability to fix Chamberlain's issues and turn him back into a valuable reliever, too. But Chamberlain hasn't exactly lit the world on fire over the past two years, which makes you wonder if his struggles are even fixable. And then there's the question of whether or not he can stay healthy (and the Giants don't need any more injured players this year).
Still, Chamberlain's arm and the potential of him being a dominant reliever should be hard for the Giants to pass up. If the Yankees' asking price is reasonable (and by "reasonable" I mean one or two marginal prospects), it'd make sense for the Giants to pull the trigger on a deal. The Giants' bullpen needs all the help it can get, and if the cost is low enough adding Chamberlain is a risk worth taking.
Dave Tobener is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer who has written about the Giants for more than a decade. His work has appeared on numerous sports websites, including Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew. Follow him on Twitter @gggiants.
- San Francisco Giants
- Joba Chamberlain