NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — With pitchers and catchers set to report in Tampa, Yankees general manager dropped a bomb on relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain.

According to Cashman, New York’s fiery righty isn’t guaranteed to make the 2011 roster.

“Anybody who has [minor league] options is not a lock for anything,” Cashman told the Post on Sunday. “Any player with options has to re-earn everything. You earn more or you earn less — New York or Scranton.”

Cashman said the right-hander, who’s bounced between roles since joining the club in late 2007, will stay a reliever — if he makes the team.

“I fully expect Joba to be in our bullpen,” said Cashman. “If not, he would have worked his way out of it.”

Chamberlain lost a competition for the fifth starter spot at spring training last year to Phil Hughes, one season after going 9-6 in 32 games, including 31 starts.

In 73 relief appearances in 2010, Chamberlain was 3-4 with three saves and a 4.40 ERA.

“We won’t decide, he will decide his role,” Cashman said. “Players always dictate [by their performances].”

Fans and analysts alike have speculated that Joba could wind up as trade-bait.

“He still has value,” an AL talent scout told the Post. “It will be interesting to see how the Yankees pitch him in spring-training games and who from other teams is there only to see him.”

With the retirement of Andy Pettitte and the Yankees’ rotation lacking depth, Chamberlain is not surprised that the bullpen-trade speculation has resurfaced.

“I don’t know if that debate is ever going to stop,” Chamberlain said last week. “I guess you take it with a grain of salt. If that comes up in the future, then I’ll answer that question. Right now you can’t think about it.”

What should the Yankees do with Joba? Start him? Trade him? Send him packing to Scranton? Sound off in the comments below!

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. Artie says:

    Let Joba start, leave him there – he can’t be worse than Burnett was last season. Make Ivan Nova the number 4 starter. The Yankees have two of the biggest (and highest paid) hitters in the league in their line-up. Why does everyone think they need 5 20 game winners in their rotation? A-Rod and Texeira should be able to alternate carrying the club. The reat of the lineup isn’t chopped liver either! And Burnett will win 16 games this year.

  2. Oz says:

    Give him a shot at the starting rotation or trade him for a starter…..

    1. Des says:

      Yeh, I agree. Give him another shot at starting since our bullpen looks pretty good.

  3. dabooch says:

    Now you know why they have to pay pitchers millions of dollars more then they are worth when they break away from the ball and chain that guys like Cashman heap on them. By the way it is all reflected in your ticket price stub.

  4. Jay.G says:

    The Yankees are what caused the problem with Jobas confidence, He should have been left as Mo’s setup man. They advertized him as Joba Rules, the next best thing since Ruth. All the close ups of him and the Rocket. he never did anything to earn that type of respect. Then they make him a starter, you cant’t throw the way he throws for 6 or 7 innings. oh yea (yes) lets blame Joba.
    A true Yankee fan

  5. The debate on what Joba’s role should be was all well and good – but still distracting and overall unproductive – back when he was a first/second year player. Now that the Yankees have decided that he is a relierver for sure, it’s coming after an off year for Joba and an off offseason for the Yankees, who felt that getting Soriano was more important for the team to win now than letting Joba mature into that setup-now-close-later kind of role. At this point, though sending him to Triple-A would be an extreme measure for the team, the best for Joba would be either some instilled confidence and a clear role – even if it costs the Yanks a win or two – or a trade to a team that will give him one.

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