The weakness going into the 2013 season for the Detroit Tigers was its bullpen.
Turned out to be true.
In an effort to bolster the bullpen, the Tigers agreed to a one-year deal with former Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain. The deal is worth a reported $2.5 million.
There were reports that the Diamondbacks offered $3 million.
Chamberlain burst onto the scene in 2008, when he finished eighth in the Rookie of the Year award voting. He went 4-3 with the Yanks with a 2.60 ERA. He struck out 118 in 100.1 innings. After being used as a starter in 2009, he went to the bullpen from 2010-12. He went 6-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 122 appearances. He struck out 123 in 122 innings and had 35 walks.
Last season was a poor one for Joba, which explains his low price. He finished with a 4.93 ERA and struck out less than a batter an inning (38 in 42). The big problem was his control; he walked 26 in those 42 innings. His injury history (Tommy John surgery) also likely drove down his price.
This is certainly a lower risk than what the Pirates have with Edinson Volquez.
Chamberlain has pitched under the microscope of New York and done well. If you’re big into the advanced metrics, check out FanGraphs’ velocity on Chamberlain. He didn’t look too far from his norm, which indicates if he can find his control, this could be a good move by Detroit.
There are plenty of jobs available in the ‘pen and Chamberlain could fill any of them. He could be the setup guy or develop into the closer. My bet is this works out for GM Dave Dombrowski and Chamberlain will be an asset.
– Rick Green