Tigers Sign Joba Chamberlain

11:56am: Chamberlain's deal includes $500K in performance bonuses based on games pitched that would bring his salary up to $3MM, tweets Jason Beck of MLB.com. 

10:35am: Having already added Joe Nathan to solidify the ninth inning, the Tigers made an upside play by adding right-hander Joba Chamberlain to the mix. The Tigers today officially announced the signing of Chamberlain to a one-year deal that is reportedly worth $2.5MM plus incentives. Chamberlain is represented by Jim Murray of Excel Sports Management.

The 28-year-old former top prospect struggled through his worst season (in terms of ERA) as a Major Leaguer in 2013, posting a 4.93 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 5.6 BB/9 and a 41.5 percent ground-ball rate in 42 innings for the Yankees. Chamberlain was significantly better away from Yankee Stadium, posting a 3.54 ERA on the road compared to a 6.23 mark at home in a roughly equal sample size. Chamberlain's velocity remained strong in his first full season back from 2011 Tommy John surgery, as he averaged a healthy 94.7 mph on his fastball.

Chamberlain will join a new-look Tigers bullpen that features active saves leader Joe Nathan in the ninth inning. Joaquin Benoit is on the free agent market but doesn't appear likely to return, and left-hander Drew Smyly figures to shift from the 'pen into the rotation following the offseason trade of Doug Fister to the Nationals. Left-hander Ian Krol, acquired in the Fister deal, should join Nathan and Chamberlain as new additions.

Further additions seem unlikely, as GM Dave Dombrowski told Lynn Henning of the Detroit News on Thursday that his offseason shopping was mostly done, save for one bullpen arm that "won't be a biggie" (Twitter link).

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports first tweeted that the Tigers were a possible landing spot for Chamberlain. ESPN's Buster Olney reported (via Twitter) that the Tigers' interest was "serious," and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that a one-year agreement was in place (Twitter link). Olney then reported news of the $2.5MM guarantee plus incentives (on Twitter).


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165 Comments on "Tigers Sign Joba Chamberlain"


Rollie Fingerbangers
1 year 7 months ago

The rest of the AL Central loves this move… Maybe the Tigers need to see what Joel Zumaya is up to as well…

Ruben_Tomorrow
1 year 7 months ago

This is a move if the Rays or Cardinals made it, they are geniuses, but if 20 other teams make it they have “no idea” what they are doing.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

There’s a reason that neither the Rays nor the Cardinals made this move…….

slider32
1 year 7 months ago

As far as I know Rays have never won a world series!

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

Considering the Rays have only been a legitimate team for 6 seasons I’m not sure what your point is

HarveyDaGod
1 year 7 months ago

im not sure what yours is either…

Rollie Fingerbangers
1 year 7 months ago

Your being a homer. If you think Joba is a big signing. Then the Tigers have BIG problems.

Ruben_Tomorrow
1 year 7 months ago

It’s not a big signing, but for the money I don’t think it’s an awful signing. Joba looked done last season, but I don’t want to entirely write him off yet. I would like to see him get his chance with another organization before casting a final judgment on him.

Taylor Hope
1 year 7 months ago

You are clearly missing the point.

alphabet_soup5
1 year 7 months ago

The rest of the AL Central still hates that the Tigers have the three best SP in the division along with the best hitter.

durf81
1 year 7 months ago

I think Sale is above at least Sanchez…

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

1. Scherzer
2. Verlander
3. Sale
4. Shields
5. Sanchez

In my opinion.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t know, I’m a Tigers’ fan and if you told me to pick one pitcher to start a game for me, I might go with Sale. Long term, I’m not sure only cause I feel like his delivery screams arm troubles in the future.

FunkyTime
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t know how you can say that after the playoffs this year. Verlander, yet again, came up huge in every single game. And Scherzer wasn’t far behind him.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

Please, aside from padding his stats against the A’s woeful offenses the last couple of years, Verlander has been mostly disappointing in the playoffs and in big games.

Kirk Edward Gerwin
1 year 7 months ago

yeah those game 5 starts deciding your fate is just padding the stats.

alphabet_soup5
1 year 7 months ago

The A’s woeful offenses? From 2012-2013 they’ve been 7th in the AL in wOBA, and 2nd in ISO.

How has Verlander disappointed in the postseason? Since 2012, he has 51.3 innings and a 1.40 ERA. That’s dominant if you ask me.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

You can pull whatever stats you want, but the truth is, no one is scared of Oaklands’ offense. When Coco Crisp is your most relied on hitter, your offense has problems.

Guest
1 year 7 months ago

What on earth are you talking about? He had a .039 ERA in the playoffs. What a bum!

I refuse to believe you’re a Tigers fan. More likely just someone looking to troll.

Guest
1 year 7 months ago

What on earth are you talking about? He had an ERA of 0.39 in the playoffs. How disappointing!

I refuse to believe you’re a Tigers fan. More likely just someone looking to troll.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

Take out Verlander’s stats versus the A’s the last 2 years and then tell me how well JV’s career playoff numbers look. And I love the Tigers, doesn’t mean I’m a complete homer. Just because you want to look at JV with lust in your eye, doesn’t mean everyone else has to. While JV is a great pitcher, there are a few other pitchers I would take over him. And if you’ve watched the Tigers as much as I have, then you would know JV does has a tendency to choke in big games. Either way, I stand by what I said. If it came down to one game, I think I would choose Sale over JV. Long term, it would be JV because his delivery is much more natural than Sale’s and I fear an arm injury for him.

FunkyTime
1 year 7 months ago

It’s completely insane to think that those dominant game 5 performances against the As were not big games. Those were the biggest games JV has ever pitched, and he performed amazingly.

C. McCarthy
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah, he beat CC and CJ Wilson (respective team aces in 2011), dominated Oak in ’12 and ’13, and shut down NY and Bos the same years. How disappointing. He laid one egg against the Giants on the road in ’12 and struggled in ’06 (rookie season).

Tribe82
1 year 7 months ago

As a Tribe fan…I’d love to see Sale pitch against us everyday.

paqza
1 year 7 months ago

I respectfully disagree with Shields above Sánchez on performance but I do agree on health.

tune-in for baseball
1 year 7 months ago

I think he meant the top three in order. You are comparing a #1 to a #3. IMO Sanchez will have as good or better season in ’14 as Max.

Overbrook
1 year 7 months ago

Tigers will walk away with the division this year. But their window continues to narrow, and soon those pitchers will be rolling off except for Verlander, who has reached his peak already. By 2016, it will be the Twins fighting it out with the White Sox.

disadvantage
1 year 7 months ago

Somehwere in the world, Joel Zumaya is playing Rock Band.

phillies1102
1 year 7 months ago

They need to hire a Santa Claus for Comerica Park, and Joba has the perfect build for the job.

matt luce
1 year 7 months ago

Tigers have made there team terrible so far. Bad moves

Rizzo44
1 year 7 months ago

Kinsler is a nice pick up. Top 5 in 2b in the entire league unfortunately his numbers will suffer in Comerica

airohpue13
1 year 7 months ago

Ya the Tigers are terrible, I only hope they finish with a better record than the Astros….Some people…

abbatoirnoises
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t quite understand that comment. Maybe some of his home runs will go down, but I’d expect him to be able to make it up in doubles & triples in Comerica. For a top of the lineup bat, that’s all Detroit needs from him.

abbatoirnoises
1 year 7 months ago

The Fister deal is the only one they’ve really “lost” and time will tell if the prospect they got back evens out. Their station-to-station style wasn’t working in the playoffs, so with a new manager they decided to be a more versatile team that can manufacture runs. Seems like a logical idea to me.

Paul Burdette
1 year 7 months ago

I totally agree. What was the one thing the Tigers COULD do in the playoffs? Pitch. What were the 3 things they COULD NOT do in the playoffs? Field, Run the bases, and Hit. I understand hitting is mostly a mental thing, but at least they will now be better defensively and be able to run the base paths with the speed.

Dont get me wrong though, I will miss watching the Big Boy truck down the base paths.

Taylor Hope
1 year 7 months ago

Agreed. Not to mention, OP is deciding Detroit has gotten worse before even playing a game this season. Wouldn’t shock me if they were actually better than last year. Should have a more stable pen, Cleveland hasn’t exactly made any big splashes this offseason and Dayton Moore continues to be Dayton Moore.

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

Eh, I don’t like this move so much. At least not at that price. I like the Fielder/Kinsler swap, Davis and Nathan signings. It gives the Tigers a new identity where a power outage at a bad time doesn’t end is disaster.

I am, however, going to pretend that Doug Fister decided to retire early and the trade never happened.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

The other teams in the NL East don’t have the luxury of that piece of mind.

However, Joba’s move isn’t that bad… it’s a 1-year deal… if it were a 3-year deal, different story. 1-year, low dollar deal means your fans can’t complain.

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

Issue I have with it is you could’ve kept Veras for a mere 1.35 mil more if Joba fails to hit any incentives at all… That’s figuring the 4 Mil salary for Veras minus the buyout.
And I personally have more faith in Veras

Jake13
1 year 7 months ago

Do you realize that over the course of their careers Joba is the better pitcher and has way better stuff?

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

A lot of that can be credited to his breakout rookie season. He’s been dreadful the last 3 years

Jake13
1 year 7 months ago

He still has great stuff and has had stretches where he’s been good. If Jeff Jones fixed Scherzer he can certainly fix Joba.

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

If Joba can be fixed, it’s a great move…. But that’s a big if

Taylor Hope
1 year 7 months ago

I understand where you’re going with this but even after the injury, Joba’s “upside” is higher than Veras’. As unlikely as it is, Joba has the tools to be a great pen piece who is 5x better than Veras. Again, unlikely, but that chance alone is worth paying $1.35M less, IMO.

Rizzo44
1 year 7 months ago

Joba the hut is gonna get rocked all year. The tigers will end up dfa

paqza
1 year 7 months ago

Joba’s going to throw gas and win the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Beantownbomber13
1 year 7 months ago

HA! That’s awful.

Robert Mango
1 year 7 months ago

What a great signing for the Yankees, they don’t have to have him on their team and on top of that he goes to a contender making them worse!

Ley_Z
1 year 7 months ago

As a Yankee fan, I hope some Tigers starters go down and they are crazy enough to let Joba start again. He throws a complete game shutout and goes on to win multiple Cy Youngs, just to make the Yankees look stupid.

Tazz
1 year 7 months ago

Joba used to be great. Until the curse of the flies happened. In his first year he was awesome, then in the playoffs he was attacked by nats. The game had to be delayed several times to spray the mound. Since then he hasnt been the same, the tigers are doing the yankees a huge favor by signing him

truroyal15
truroyal15
1 year 7 months ago

As a Royals fan I love the Tigers offseason moves this winter!!!!

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

Why, you’re still gonna come in 3rd in the central at best.

truroyal15
truroyal15
1 year 7 months ago

When you lose players like Peralta, Fister, Ofante, and Prince it will def hurt. But hey, at least you re-signed Phil Coke!!!!

Alexander Childress
1 year 7 months ago

I’m a die hard Tigers fan but I’ve always pulled for KC (so long is it isn’t at the expense of the Tigers)…but even with these curious deals, KC doesn’t compare to the Tigs. I think its still our Division by a bunch.

mmwatkin
1 year 7 months ago

Peralta is replaced with Jose Iglesias, Fister is replaced with Drew Smyly, Infante is replaced with Ian Kinsler, and Fielder is replaced with Nick Castellanos.

I don’t think that is a huge downgrade.

tune-in for baseball
1 year 7 months ago

Don’t forget the dollars saved from Prince and Fister allowed us to get Nathan.

1 year 7 months ago

And Santiago is replaced by Lombardozzi and Tui is replaced by Rajai.

alphabet_soup5
1 year 7 months ago

.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

Per your list…

Infante to Kinsler: +1.4
Peralta to iglesias: -1.5
Fister to Smyly: -1.3
Fielder to Castellanos: -1.9

That would be a total of -3.3 WAR

Robert Bergman
1 year 7 months ago

plus 2.4 for the money saved used for nathan
minus .06 for the money saved used for joba
thats only -1.5 considering players smyly and castellanos are on the curve up and they still have money to spend. good offseason so far

1 year 7 months ago

Now add in Tuiasosopo to Davis and Santiago to Lombardozzi

Jake13
1 year 7 months ago

Castellanos played like 5 games, Iglesias didn’t start all year, and Smyly pitched out of the bullprn. Really it is about a -.5-.5 WAR difference

bob smit
1 year 7 months ago

As an Indians fan… I’m seeing the division fall into our hands this year. Long as we solidify our pitching, we’ll get it.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

How do you figure that? Our pitching is way better than the Tribes’, and so is our offense. Just because we traded Fielder doesn’t mean we all of a sudden lost the ability to score…

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

I’m sure the Tigers are saying the same about KC. Aoki? Vargas? Not exactly what I would call major upgrades.

AL_Comedy_Central
1 year 7 months ago

Their infield defense improved by roughly +40 DRS, and they’re faster (and presumably more aggressive) on the base paths. Thanks for the vote of confidence, but you may want to worry more about how to defend your over-.500 season from a year ago.

truroyal15
truroyal15
1 year 7 months ago

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I wish the Royals had an owner who was willing to spend money like the Tigers do. Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball and a joy to watch. The Tigers def needed to get faster but they lost a lot of good players as well. If there was a year to knock off the Tigers this would be the year before my team starts trading away key pieces like we are use to. Aoki finally gives us a true leadoff hitter and its up to Gordon, Hosmer, Butler and Perez to drive in runs. After a 28 year playoff drought I just want to see a postseason, lol.

AL_Comedy_Central
1 year 7 months ago

I suppose I shouldn’t be so quick to mount the high horse, seeing as The Tigers being the most dreadful franchise in sports, while over, is not exactly ancient history. Illitch’s over abundant spending is a relatively recent thing, and IMO will only last as long as his ticker allows. Until something changes, I’ll always have you by 1 year in WS drought! Haha.

McGlovin
1 year 7 months ago

I personally think the Aoki deal was a very nice move for KC given they can finally move Gordon from the lead off spot and that in turn makes their lineup deeper. As a Tiger fan I would love Alex Gordon roaming left field sporting the Olde English D.

1 year 7 months ago

Don’t forget the Manager is at least 50 IQ points smarter in 2014.
Brad Ausmus won’t bring in Triple A guys to protect a 1 run lead in the 8th “just to see what they have” the way Leyland did.

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

On that note, I’m a big fan of the Vargas signing. He should be pitching more often than Joba. Replacing Santana with Vargas is not an improvement…

Jake13
1 year 7 months ago

Vargas is a league average pitcher, that move will cost them 3-4 wins

DerekJeterDan
1 year 7 months ago

As a Yankees fan, I really wish him a lot of luck. Pitching in Comerica should help
I’m not one to forget the promise he showed coming up as a Rookie.
Joba Chamberlain was a beast in the making. He just didn’t pan out.

JacobyWanKenobi
1 year 7 months ago

Joba Rules wrecked him.

AL_Comedy_Central
1 year 7 months ago

If you would put as much development into your prospects as you do hype, this would be a tremendous signing!

(Says the fan of an organization who puts in very little of either)

Tim DeWalt
1 year 7 months ago

Beg to differ, depending on the terms Joba is an excellent buy-low candidate. The Tigers under-performed their win expectation by 6 games last year because they won blowouts and couldn’t manufacture a run in close games. They will be much better at that this year. I like the signing altho Joba may be relegated to a mop up role if he doesn’t get straightened out. Coming off his worst year I would say he is an excellent bet to do better.

Brandon Mason
1 year 7 months ago

One Word -> WHY!?

Mike
1 year 7 months ago

Low risk, high reward. What teams do in this situation is look at strikeout rate, velocity, etc., whatever it takes to find some positives that may indicate a bounce back year. Nobody hated Joba more than me since ’07 but I welcome him aboard because he’s like a really nice car with all the right parts but the wiring is all messed up…hopefully Jeff Jones can help him regain his form.

Brandon Mason
1 year 7 months ago

Yeah That’s True. Hopefully For the Tigers He Can Return To His 2008/2011 Form.

NickinIthaca
1 year 7 months ago

Joba sounds like an American made car… Fitting that he signed with Detroit…

ColoredPaper
1 year 7 months ago

I actually like this move, provided it’s not a long-term deal and at close to a minimum investment.

He really needed to get out of the spotlight of New York, and Detroit’s park is still a pitcher’s park.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

The way Joba was utilized and treated in NY was problematic. The incident with Mariano was completely overblown and shown only in the favor of Mariano (never mind that Joba’s family came to watch him pitch, which they don’t get to do that often). He was never given the opportunity to start (which he did all through college). Detroit is a strong sports town and has a bright spotlight on its stars, but I think he’ll be able to thrive much better there than he did in Detroit.

paqza
1 year 7 months ago

What incident?

Thunda Pig
1 year 7 months ago

Miguel Cabrera better not tell him to quite down during the press conferance. He’ll tell him to shut up! #respectMo

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

Umm, enjoy Tigers

Jake13
1 year 7 months ago

We will, the guy who fixed Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and Drew Smyly will be his pitching coach. He has straight nasty stuff and Jeff Jones is amazing with pitchers with nasty stuff, he is going to have a nice season.

MB923
1 year 7 months ago

That’s just 3 pitchers you listed. What about all the other problems you’ve had in the bullpen? Valverde? Coke? Albequerque? Downs? Alvarez?

I can’t picture Joba being a disaster next year, but don’t expect the Joba of old. Expect Joba to be about average.

Taylor Hope
1 year 7 months ago

Albuquerque has had one bad season, in which he still posted a positive WAR and less than 1 HR per 9.

Troy
1 year 7 months ago

I dont think DD is of sound mind. Coke Kelly Joba Fister Fielder Davis. I dont get it. Why not sign a proven arm? Even spend a mil or 2 more and get a good setup guy.

Troy
1 year 7 months ago

Id rather gamble on Axford

Adam Brunelle
1 year 7 months ago

Dude clearly has talent, but he hasn’t exactly been able to control his weight and physical shape in recent years. There’s a reason the Yankees have dismissed out of hand the idea of re-signing him. Maybe the Tigers will catch lightning in a bottle.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

Sometimes, a player’s success, or lack thereof, has more to do with location/environment than it does their talent. Big guys have done alright in the pitching arena: David Wells, Bartolo Colon (aided by PEDs, I know), Sabathia… it could just be that Joba needed a change of scenery.

He may be an enormous bust, he may be the saving grace for that ball club… at the end of the day, the Tigers are paying him all that much, and there’s a reason for that.

Robert Brincheck
1 year 7 months ago

His 6.23 ERA at home is the biggest reason for NYY to take a pass, along with the fact that Yankee fans seem to have had enough of Joba. Similar to the Tigers sending Jason Girili to Colorado for next to nothing. Girilli had talent, and eventually harnessed that effectively, but its tough to achieve your potential when the home crowd is against you and assumes you will fail every time out.

godewey
godewey
1 year 7 months ago

on the bright side, at least he’s cheaper than valverdi or benoit.
if your going to pay somebody to give up runs late in games
then it may as well be joba.

Zachary Eick
1 year 7 months ago

it just better be for less than the rumored $3M he was offered by somebody…

Robert Brincheck
1 year 7 months ago

Everything depends on the term and amount of the contract. If it is 1 yr and very incentive laden then it is a nice signing. If it’s multi-year and Joba is the last FA add to the bullpen then that would be a major concern. Even if it is somewhere in between, his road stats show promise that he can be a decent 7th inning guy or even 8th, outside of the NYY spotlight and Yankee stadium. However, I hope he is not the last guy DD signs for the bullpen.

Troy
1 year 7 months ago

1 year 2.5 with incentives

Macfan01
1 year 7 months ago

Teams in the Central should be salivating about the Tigers regression this offseason.

alphabet_soup5
1 year 7 months ago

As of December 10, the Tigers still have 7/2 odds to win the AL pennant, best in the AL. The Royals are the next best Central team at 15/1. It would be an upset if the Tigers didn’t win the AL Central in 2014.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

Losing Fister will hurt them a little, especially with him being replaced with Porcello… adding Drew Smyly to the rotation could be their best move yet.

1 year 7 months ago

Fister won 24 games the last two years. Porcello won 23. Smyly can win 23 in two years.
Where it will hurt them is if someone gets injured for 2 or 3 months early in the season before Ray is ready for a tryout.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

Please tell me you’re not comparing Fister and Porcello to one another by wins alone.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 7 months ago

Remove Porcello’s two starts where he gave up 9 and 8 runs, and almost every Porcello stat is better than Fister.

If Porcello exactly matches his pitching from last year, and Ausmus takes him out at the first sign of trouble (perhaps once every 8-10 starts), then his numbers will be well ahead of Fister in 2014. A big part of that will be the improved Tigers defense.

C. McCarthy
1 year 7 months ago

Both those starts came against the Angels and featured some of the flukiest hits I ever saw. Rick had two days where he had some bad voodoo working against him on the mound that make his stats look WAY worse than they really are.

1 year 7 months ago

That nine runs in the first inning game was one of the unlukiest things I ever saw. Five infield hits and two Texas Leaguers. He gave up one solid hit and a corker of a home run, but after 40 something pitches that inning. Felt terrible for him.

EightMileCats
1 year 7 months ago

I’m not saying Porcello is as good as Fister by any means. Fister is a really good pitcher, but Porcello is very underrated. His FIP last year was better than Fister’s FIP as well… (might’ve been xFIP)
Either way, Porcello is capable of filling the 4th spot

1 year 7 months ago

No. That was to keep it simple. Porcello is 5 years younger, lost 1 less game this year and had nearly the same BB/9 and K/9. Porcello also had a better WHIP.
Porcello is the one who is undervalued.

C. McCarthy
1 year 7 months ago

Amen. And that slick infield defense is going to work wonders for Rick I think. We might finally see the pitcher he’s been touted as for years.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

Except for the fact they still have to hit against our pitchers, and our offense is still better than any team in the central.

mrnatewalter
mrnatewalter
1 year 7 months ago

What significant moves has any other Central team made that will propel them ahead of Detroit? Aoki to KC? Murphy to CLE? Abreu to CWS? Please enlighten us.

bobbleheadguru
1 year 7 months ago

Regression?

Tigers gained +40 runs with their new look infield defense compared to Opening Day 2013. That more than makes up for the loss of Fielder. (source: ESPN),

And they finagled a LF platoon to be almost as good as Ellsbury (.800 OPS, good defense, 40 steals) at 1/3rd the total cost.

C. McCarthy
1 year 7 months ago

Don’t forget the runs they lose by Prince and JP’s homeruns will probably be evened out by avoiding double plays and taking extra bases at a serious fraction of the cost. I’m a little worried at how much the team will depend on inexperienced guys like Smyly (as a starter), Castellanos, Rondon, and Krol though…