The Phillies have expressed interest in Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, who was also told by National League sources that the Phils are willing to deal Michael Young and Carlos Ruiz.
A Young and/or Ruiz-for-Chamberlain deal might appear to make sense on the surface -- Young and Ruiz both have expiring contracts and would be of more value to a contender, plus the Phils desperately need relief help -- but really, it's hard to see how it improves the Phillies' situation. Chamberlain is also a free agent at season's end, so he'd only be helping the Phillies during the second half of 2013. If the Phils are concerned solely about winning after the All-Star break, then why trade Young or Ruiz to begin with?
Chamberlain is a prime change-of-scenery candidate. Once a top prospect with a blazing fastball and his own set of team-imposed pitching restrictions, Chamberlain has a 4.52 ERA since 2009 and a 1.45 WHIP. If you throw in all the hit batsmen, he's allowed more than 1.5 baserunners per inning.
The Phillies do need relief help badly, but this deal would only make sense if Chamberlain was under contract another year.
The Phils should instead be looking for prospects in return for Young or Ruiz. Not that they'd get a ton -- Yankees GM Brian Cashman's interest in Young and Ruiz is "lukewarm at best," according to Feinsand -- but a rental reliever serves no purpose. Not unless Ruben Amaro Jr. A) Works out some kind of cheap extension with Chamberlain as a deal is being reached, or B) Thinks subtracting Young and/or Ruiz but adding Chamberlain is a net positive that would help the Phillies make a second-half push.
Thought B is pretty unrealistic, as is this trade proposal.
If it were just Young for Chamberlain, maybe. The Phillies could slide Kevin Frandsen over to third base, get Freddy Galvis some playing time there or even call up Cody Asche for the final months of 2013. But if Cashman's interest in the pair is lukewarm, a 1-for-1 deal might also be unrealistic.