7:54am: Chamberlain can earn up to $500K with the same incentive scale that he had on his previous one-year deal with the Tigers, tweets MLB.com’s Jason Beck. Per Cot’s Contracts, that included an additional $100K for reaching 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 appearances.
7:33am: Chamberlain will receive a $1MM base salary plus incentives, tweets Rosenthal.
6:50am: The Tigers have reached an agreement on a one-year, Major League deal with reliever Joba Chamberlain, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Chamberlain, a client of Excel Sports Management’s Jim Murray, was spotted in Tigers Spring Training camp this morning, notes Rosenthal.
Chamberlain, 29, posted a 3.57 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.43 HR/9, and 53.2% groundball rate in 63 innings for the Tigers last year. The Dodgers also had late interest in him this offseason. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted earlier this month, Chamberlain makes for a solid buy on a one-year deal, perhaps more so than remaining free agent relievers Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano. Chamberlain did experience a second-half dropoff, at a time he was also helping his ailing mother.
Chamberlain rejoins a Tigers bullpen that hasn’t seen much turnover since the end of last season. The Tigers did add lefty Tom Gorzelanny in January, and they’ve got Bruce Rondon on the mend from March 2014 Tommy John surgery. They’ll have a full season of Joakim Soria, and closer Joe Nathan remains under contract as well. However, for the most part, the Tigers will deploy a very similar mix to the grouping that cost them in the 2014 American League Championship Series. Receiving better production from that group will be vital for the Tigers in an improved AL Central that saw the White Sox, in particular, make an aggressive push toward contention this winter.
On the whole, Detroit relievers posted an unsightly 4.29 ERA and a 4.09 FIP, both of which ranked 27th among 30 big league clubs. They’ll hope that the return of Rondon and a full season of Soria can help to right the ship in the bullpen.