Royals Interested in Joba Chamberlain

Jim Rogash

Could Alex Gordon be lobbying for the Royals to acquire his fellow Nebraska Cornhusker?

This has been one of the most active Hot Stoves for the Royals in recent memory and we haven't even begun the Winter Meetings yet. The Royals are now linked to former Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, and there had been rumors earlier this winter that the Royals were interested in the former first round pick.

Chamberlain is still just 28 and does not have much mileage on his arm, although that's because he's suffered from a myriad of injuries. Joba has been enigmatic since being a first round pick by the Yankees out of the University of Nebraska. He posted a miniscule 0.38 ERA in 24 innings in his first season, then posted a 2.60 ERA in 100 innings his rookie campaign in 2008. The Yankees imposed "The Joba Rules" to protect his arm as a reliever and eased him into the rotation. In his first full season as a starter, he struggled with a 4.75 ERA and rotator cuff tendinitis.

Chamberlain has been used exclusively as a reliever the last four seasons with a FIP that has gotten progressively worse each year - 2.98, 3.55, 4.01, and 5.64 last year. The last time he pitched more than 50 innings in a season was 2010. He tore a ligament in his right elbow in 2011, requiring Tommy John Surgery, and nearly died in 2012 after a freak trampoline accident. Last year he missed time with a right oblique strain.

Joba has familiarity with Alex Gordon as a former teammate at Nebraska, and he worked under Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland in New York. The Royals might see him as a candidate for a one-year reclamation project, although with their bullpen depth, it is curious they would be interested. Do they see him as a long-shot to start again? Who knows with this cuckoo organization.

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