(No word on whether or not Joba's TJS rehab includes the same Mickey Mouse workouts he did in 2010)
With all or almost all of what would have been considered "real" trade targets for the Yankees either already traded or re-signed, it's looking like a near certainty that we won't be seeing any new rotation arms for 2012. But there is one guy on the Yankees' roster who could bring back some value in a trade and actually might make sense to move. That guy is Joba Chamberlain. I know he's still injured and won't be pitching until some time in the summer of 2012, but early reports have him ahead of schedule in his rehab, and at this point he might hold more value to the Yankees as a trade piece than as a piece of the 25-man roster.
The "Joba as a Starter" experiment has already been conducted by the Yankees, and despite there still being pleas from those in the Yankosphere to give it another go, the Yankees have never shown interest in reviving that option. They're set with their 5-man rotation right now and have Hector Noesi on standby as the 6th starter if/when needed. And with the emergence of D-Rob in the bullpen in 2011, it's suddenly become a little crowded at that inn as well. Joba would be looking at another partial season behind Mo, two more years behind Soriano and multiple years behind D-Rob before he could be considered a serious contender for even a setup role. And with the Yankees already having a stockpile of young arms who can step in and cover middle relief innings, Joba becomes less important as an insurance policy and space filler in that role.
And yet, by the time he is fully recovered from his Tommy John Surgery, Joba will still be a 26-year-old power arm with experience as a starter. Last time I checked, the Yankees weren't the only team in need of starting pitching help, and Joba is dangerously close to becoming an afterthought in the Yankee organization for the reasons mentioned above, so why not try to stir up some interest around baseball and see if there's a market for him? I'm not saying they SHOULD move Joba, but if Cash was trying to sell people on Francisco Cervelli earlier in the offseason, he might as well see what the market is, if there even is one, for Chamberlain. They won't get the value in return that they would have a couple years ago, but you have to think Joba could bring back more than A.J.