Tigers agree to terms with Joba Chamberlain

When Dave Dombrowski talked Thursday morning about looking to add another reliever before the offseason was done, he downplayed the chances of going out and getting a big-name setup man from the group of would-be closers. More likely, he said, they’d be looking down the market.

“I’m not talking about big-time bullpen arm, but somebody else that may fit in that could give us a little depth out there just in case something would happen from an injury perspective,” Dombrowski said. “Really, it’s more of a protection from the Rondon [injury comeback] case.”

Enter Joba Chamberlain on a one-year deal. ESPN’s Buster Olney put the base value at $2.5 million with incentives that could push it a little higher.

He fits the Tigers’ desire for a short-term deal. Whether he’s healthy and effective enough to fit the hope of a proven arm behind Rondon remains to be seen. It’s a relatively low risk for the money, though it’s also not far off from the $4 million option the Tigers declined on Jose Veras at season’s end.

The 28-year-old Chamberlain has spent the last three years working through injuries while trying to regain the form that allowed him to overpower hitters in his early years. He was a revelation in the Yankee bullpen late in the 2007 season, then tossed 100 quality innings split between starting and relieving in 2008.

After rotator cuff tendinitis near the end of that season and a nine-win season in the Yankees rotation in 2009, however, Chamberlain’s power arm showed signs of mortality. He moved back to the Yankee bullpen with some success in 2010 and had a statistically strong start in 2011, but elbow trouble led to Tommy John surgery that summer.

While working his way back from that surgery, Chamberlain suffered a potentially career-ending left ankle dislocation while playing with his son at a rec center. He recovered in time to pitch in 22 games down the stretch that season, but suffered through a nightmaring 2013 campaign that included a right oblique strain and

Chamberlain went 2-1 with a 4.93 ERA in 2013, allowing 47 hits over 42 innings with 26 walks and 38 strikeouts. His fastball, which averaged 97 mph as a rookie in 2007 while frequently approaching triple digits, has averaged more around 94-95 mph the last few years.

For Chamberlain, Detroit represents a fresh start outside of the New York spotlight. For the Tigers, Chamberlain represents a bounceback project who will be working with pitching coach Jeff Jones, who once made his living trying to help similar pitchers regroup while serving as pitching coach at Triple-A Toledo.


This is all about an adjustment in finances. I suppose there’s a good reason for not admitting it, but “it is what it is.” I had been expecting that next winter.
The question is which team in the Central will be tabbed the favorites next year?

Dombrowski: we’re focused on winning a champ this year but (…) you’re still in a spot where you have to keep the finances in mind

Dombrowski: I think you want to win, not only now but you want to win in the future.

Maybe an adjustment, but Dombrowski is NOT cost-cutting. Resources ARE being re-allocated (to Closer, LF and 2B, traditionally three of the biggest weaknesses for the Tigers under DD, plus to raises for many of our regulars). The Tigers’ payroll for 2014 will be higher than 2013. However, if they do not re-sign Martinez, Hunter, Scherzer (or sign comparable players) and trade Porcello or Jackson or someone else arb-eligible next offseason, we might want to hit the panic button!

They still need another LH. 4 RH/3 LH for the bullpen. There is no rule saying you go with only one LH( especially if his name is Phil)
Scotts Downs or Logan since Flaherty would mean too many recovery projetcs
I like the signing

Coke? Joba? Not enough good arms in AAA or AA? Then where is Benoit? Benoit.

He is supposedly being offered 15/2 with a 3rd year option by two or three teams

If the Coke goes flat you can get some fizz with Alvarez, or maybe even Ray–though he is starter material.
Lobstein and Hardy and Faulk are all guys that can surpass Coke when he falters again.

Joba is a good sign for a cost-cutting GM. I would have preferred Boone Logan but at least the BP situation is being addressed this year.

I didn’t know the Tigers had a batting practice situation.

Last year’s offseason had Rondon as closer, the opening day bullpen featured Phil Coke as closer, May saw Big Potato and we finished out with our top setup guy as our closer. Our reliable veteran 7th inning guy pitched 3 innings. And we were on our way to the WS until a mistake that Ortiz BARELY hit out. If Joe Nathan is healthy all year, and we don’t have the kind of injuries we had last year…we might be ok!

This is a pretty low risk signing. If he ends up being a bust, they just designate him for assignment, but if the pitching coaches can turn him around, it will be huge for Detroit’s bullpen.

Saw a report of a dialogue betweent the Tigers and Yanks concerning AJ for Gardner.
No way I’d make that trade. Gardner would not have any power at Comerica. Yes he steals more bases and AJ’s diminishing numbers year over year in this matter is concerning. But, AJ has far more potential. Even if he doesn’t dive for balls.
If we’re lucky his on again/off again cycle is on once again this coming year.

if Gardner for Jackson goes down, the pendulum will have swung too far, moving away from hitters with pop to speedy/onbase guys. the retooling will work if Jackson bounces back some with the bat and Castellanos has a decent rookie season.
we’ll learn a bit about how well Iglesias takes instruction by how his swing looks next season. little guy…big swing…adjustments should follow.

That was making the rounds in the lobby Wednesday, but it doesn’t fit what the Yankees want. They have a surplus of outfielders. Not putting much stock in it unless they can get another team involved.

2014 is his on year.

Said that, Jackson agent is Boras , so no extension in sight .
I liked the idea of adding Gardner not replacing Jackson

Worth? That leaves Perez as the backup for Iglesias

Perfect. Hernan at Toledo will be good for him.

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