According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that is a possibility. In addition to the starter-versus-reliever debate, some in the Yankees' organization wanted to send Chamberlain to the minors in August, per Sherman's sources.
It's unlikely that Chamberlain, who's pitched well in relief in the ALDS thus far, will start if/when the Yankees advance to the ALCS. Instead, it's more likely that the Yankees will use Chad Gaudin as their fourth starter.
"He had a different look about him," pitching coach Dave Eiland said of Chamberlain (via the NY Daily News). "His demeanor was different, the look in his eye, his tempo. He was in straight attack mode."
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports compares Chamberlain's career numbers as a starter and reliever, as follows:
- Starter Joba: 4.18 ERA, 342 baserunners in 221 2/3 IP, 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings.
- Reliever Joba: 1.50 ERA, 60 baserunners in 60 IP, 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
As Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues points out, the potential uncertainty at the #3, 4 and 5 rotation spots is disconcerting as a Yankees fan heading into the 2010 season.
Then again, this season isn't over.
For a team that missed the playoffs in 2008 and hasn't won a World Series since 2000, the Yankees look to take care of a more pressing issue -- closing out the Twins tonight in Minnesota and moving one step closer to the ultimate goal.