Notes, quotes on Joba’s return

If there was a situation being watched this offseason where the Tigers could bring back one of their free-agent relievers, the expectation was that Phil Coke was the one. Detroit had plenty of right-handers in camp already, including Joel Hanrahan, while the Tigers were thinner on lefties. It didn’t hurt, either, that neither the Tigers nor Joba Chamberlain’s camp were saying a peep about his situation, other than team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski not ruling out a return.

Instead, the Tigers have shown no signs of interest towards Coke. He has thrown for teams for the past several weeks in San Diego, trying to show the impact of tweaks he made in his mechanics, but neither manager Brad Ausmus nor scouts had watched him as of a week ago.

Meanwhile, quietly, the Tigers had kept the door open for Chamberlain, albeit at their price.

“We really never were actively pursuing the contract,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “Actually I didn’t think it was going to take place. We liked him, he did a good job, but I just couldn’t imagine it would get to that point. But it got to the point. …

Last offseason, Chamberlain signed for a $2.5 million base salary and appearance-based incentives that could add another $500,000. Chamberlain’s new deal includes the same incentives — $100,000 each for 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 games pitched — but a $1 million base salary. Even if Chamberlain hits all his performance incentives, he’ll make half as much as last year.

“I also thought somebody would step up and entice him to join them,” Dombrowski said. “And I don’t know what happened as far as why he turned down a couple offers. I never really asked him that, but I just assumed … that something would work out somewhere else. But it just didn’t for whatever reason.”

Dombrowski said Chamberlain had other offers that would put him in a position to make more — in other words, potentially higher incentives. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network reported Tuesday that the Rangers made an offer.

“When we were talking to other teams and had the opportunity, it was best for my family and best for myself,” Chamberlain said. “The big thing is my son’s really comfortable [with Detroit] and that makes me comfortable. It’s just a tremendous opportunity.”

A few notes on that opportunity …

  • Though Chamberlain’s arrival coincided with Joel Hanrahan being shut down from bullpen sessions for the time being due to soreness, Dombrowski said Hanrahan’s situation didn’t set up Chamberlain’s return. “Really, our situation with Joel has not changed at all,” Dombrowski said. “I’ve always talked about being in a situation where we weren’t counting on him. We were hopeful. We would see what would happen. So that really hasn’t changed at all, because I really never said in my mind he’s going to be part of our bullpen. It was always, ‘Let’s see what happens.'”
  • Chamberlain will not be the eighth-inning setup man this time around, and he’s fine with that. “I still think he’s got the ability to pitch later in games,” Ausmus said. “Right now, Soria’s kind of the eighth-inning guy. But you have a few pitchers in Joba, Rondon and Alburquerque who certainly have the ability to pitch in the seventh or even the eighth.”
  • Chamberlain is open to other situations. “There’s no inning that I haven’t pitched in,” he said. “Whatever Brad feels like I can work is where I’m going to work. Obviously we have some great arms in that pen and I’m so excited to be a part of it as well.”
  • Chamberlain should be able to pick up camp close to the same point as everyone else. “I’ll probably throw a bullpen [Wednesday] and go from there,” Chamberlain said. “Games start soon. I’m not too far behind if behind at all. I’ve probably thrown six or seven bullpens, so we’re right where we need to be.”
  • Chamberlain will wear number 44 again. Joel Hanrahan had that number as recently as the start of the Tigers workout Tuesday morning. By the end of the workout, there was a number 48 jersey hanging in Hanrahan’s locker.
  • The scraggly beard is gone, surprisingly given the winter in Nebraska, and Chamberlain doesn’t plan on bringing it back. “No, we’re definitely going to keep it a little bit restrained from what it was last year,” he said. “That was a lot of growth. It won’t get that long, trust me. … I walked by a couple people [in the clubhouse], they didn’t recognize who I was.”

29 Comments

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They would of been better off with Cokes . Throws much harder . He is lefty , They have lots of righty

in 2014
COKE==== 3.98FIP, 1.534WHIP, 92.8fastball according to pitchfx
JOBA==== 3.16FIP, 1.286WHIP, 93.4fastball according to pitchfx

now sign coke to a minor league deal

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From what I read it sounds like Joba is a class act. Chemistry, wanting to play for a team and not concerned with being the highest paid player ever. Go Tigers!

This is a pretty low risk deal, and having an another experienced arm for the bullpen is never a bad thing. Even if it is Joba…

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I like the Joba signing. Live fastball and sharp slider plus he’s a fun guy; just need to monitor his workload. He was a victim of “the formula.”
I just had a cruise to Mexico and Grand Cayman canceled due to fog. The entire thing canceled, and am creating a vacation on the fly here. Lakeland hotels were full up. (living in car)

Rich, wow that is so strange as we just saw the “sea fog” phenomenon in Siesta Key arrive Monday evening. It’s like a solid fine mist that you would encounter in SF Bay area not FLA. I heard that Tampa Bay could not dock cruise ships at all. The weather is in the 70’s during the day / 60’s overnight but the humidity is 100% causing the sea fog.

I’ll bet the angels are kicking themselves right now regarding their signing of josh hamilton. sounds like josh may have relapsed. what a basketcase.

Hamilton’s substance abuse goes way back as do his many injuries . Halo’s really have to be concerned about it . He however flew to New York and threw him self on the mercy of Rob Manfred , Only time will tell us but this is not good .

He was near of the top 10 ever in Babip two seasons go.The luckiest man on Earth

no no that’s the point L T — high line drive % and big speed can result is higher expected BABIP

Wonder of the home plate umps will be making Nathan remove his beard this year.
(It’s the same colour as the baseball for cryin’ out loud!)

DD being very pro-active this year. Not in terms of players but certainly in terms of salary mitigation. They way I see it he as a potential of over $50 million coming off the books at the end of this contract season.

Not entirely accurate because there apparently is another 9 million savings coming from Nathan whose salary (or option) drops to 1 Mil
Kinsler must have hadded a front-loaded deal because he drops 2 mil in 2016
So that is just under 60 Million not 50.
Of course there are some payments to come ot to off set that:
The first year of Prince’s salary arrangement ($30 mil) that carries on for 5 years. That amounts to $5 mill to the Rangers next year.
Miggy gets a 6 mil raise and Victor gets 4

So ignoring the arb eligible players that would unburden the front office about 60 les 16 or $44,000,000. There should be some funds available to upgrade in 2016.

DD is smarter than I look.

yeah kinsler is front loaded. i didn’t know fielder wasn’t being paid off until next year though. does that money go on the salary cap?

111.800 MM is the payroll for 2016 including the 1 MM buyout of Nathan contract

The guarnteed amount so far

No way Nathan comes back another year.

I expect him to be gone well before the ASG

Personally I’m not worried about any “windows” closing. DD has and is doing exactly what he said; maintaining a competitive organization. Some years stronger than others. Keeping it interesting.

if window’s closing is GM-speak for don’t have any prospects left to trade….then…well maybe the window is closing. if you don’t have the prospects you have to go the FA route and that will hang you – unless you have endless money – and even then it will hang you (NY, LAD, LAA).

IMO the problem has been our lack of performance when it really counted. It’s been on DD, JL/BA and the players over the years…..there’s no need to rehash it, but we’ve had 2-4 shots over the past 9 years and blew every one of them. baseball is a funny sport!

blown chances: 2006WS, 2011ALCS, 2012WS, 2013ALCS

Tigers needed Joba back. Hope he does well.

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