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Tigers sign Joba Chamberlain

Dec 12, 2013, 1:40 PM EDT

joba chamberlain getty Getty Images

Free agent right-hander Joba Chamberlain is leaving the Yankees to sign with the Tigers, according to Ken Rosenthal of Buster Olney of says it’s a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski is always looking to add high-velocity arms and despite his struggles Chamberlain averaged 94.7 miles per hour on his fastball this year.

He also had a 4.93 ERA and poor 38/26 K/BB ratio in 42 innings for the Yankees and has a 4.50 ERA in 320 total innings since an impressive rookie campaign in 2008, but at age 28 there’s certainly still the potential for Chamberlain to be a useful reliever.

  1. whatthehellisansky - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Tigers are a good spot for Joba – those home run balls he gives up all the time will only be doubles there – should cut his ERA down.

    • tigers182 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      What has Job the Hut done to receive almost $3 million? He’s been terrible for years and extremely overhyped.

      • dcfan4life - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        He throws hard. But its not a multi-year deal, its a 1 year deal and for pretty cheap considering his potential. If he stinks again, you barely lose anything. Overall, this is a good signing by the Tigers.

      • theskinsman - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        Agreed, tigers182. I thought the object of signing players was to improve a team. Epic fail here by Detroit. Although this should give them the lead in players who pull their cap over their eyebrows.

  2. uyf1950 - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I wish him the best. Hopefully he can get his career back on track with a change in scenery.

  3. number42is1 - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I think I hear Craig’s Girlfriend cussing……

  4. historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Holy Schit! I just log in after lunch and THIS is what pops up on my screen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELLO YOU ARE DOING, DD!!!!! I AM NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT HAPPY!!!!!

    Sheesus Christ, why are they so enamored with the velocity. It’s just like with Rondon. Has someone been watching too much Major League???!!!!! You can’t just slap glasses on it and fix the problem. Holy Hello!!!!!

    I’m FREAKING in the market for a new team. >:( >:( >:( >:(

    • stex52 - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      The Astros are in the market for a new team. But if you think you are unhappy now……………

      • stex52 - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        By “team” I mean “team of fans”. Proofread, you fool.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        I liked it better when we were lovable losers. 😦 Pbbblt.

      • spudchukar - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        New rumors suggest Nathan will be moved to the set-up role, and Joba has been anointed as the new closer.

      • nbjays - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        Now Spud, that’s just MEAN!

    • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Why is there so much Joba? 😦

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        I just became a Cards fan.

      • paperlions - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM


    • bh0673 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      Don’t worry yet, Hank Steinbrenner ruined the kid as far as the Yankees were concerned, he should have been groomed to be the closer instead they insisted he be a starter and that was his undoing. Saw him pitch his first game as a starter threw lights out for about two innings and then ran out of gas. He throws too hard to be a starter but perfect for relief, now that he can start anew without the pressure of playing in New York I think he will be fine and be dominant again.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        He was always a starter, he was a starter in college, he was a starter in the minors. He should have been given the same chance as Hughes (his number were better thru the same # of starts) but Hughes “won” the “competition”.

      • mikhelb - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        I think it was the other way around.

        The kid had good stuff as a starter but lacked the same thing other young starters have lacked with the Yanks: to know how to pitch., most of them are just throwers.

        With his current velocity, Joba could intercalate his fastball with sliders and use a curve to fool batters, it is not too late to learn to throw a good curve 18-20 mph below his fastball, other pitchers around his age have developed that pitch and compensated their lack of velocity later in their careers; his advantage is that he already has a very good slider but he uses it too much. I don’t know if he can still be a starter but he could be a reliable reliever again.

        In the case of Hughes, I think his future is more as a long relief pitcher as long as he learns how to fool batters, he usually throws the same pitch too many times consecutively in the same spot and tries to fool batters by throwing way outside of the strike zone.

        I don’t know if the problem with the Yankees is either in the minor league coaches, the bullpen/pitching coach or somebody in the front office deciding how a pitcher should throw in the majors (they mostly have success with reclamation projects or young kids in their first season in the majors, after that something changes and they throw differently).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        No, it wasn’t. I’ve done the numbers multiple times on this board (don’t have time to re-do them, but I can revisit it later tonight). Chamberlain had a better ERA with a better K/9 thru 43 starts than Hughes did. It was a rigged “competition” because the Yanks feel Chamberlain can’t start, for whatever reason.

        I don’t know if the problem with the Yankees is either in the minor league coaches, the bullpen/pitching coach or somebody in the front office deciding how a pitcher should throw in the majors (they mostly have success with reclamation projects or young kids in their first season in the majors, after that something changes and they throw differently).

        It’s possible it’s a coaching issue, but both players have dealt with injuries that side tracked their careers. Behind the scene rumors is that Chamberlain’s shoulder would never hold up over 200 IP, which is why the Yanks scrapped him being a starter. Hughes used to have a great curveball per BA and other scouting agencies, but he scrapped that for a slider/cutter which didn’t work, and the feel for the curve never came back.

    • philliesblow - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      DD just sent a scout to look at this hard throwing kid named Nuke Laloosh.

      • xdj511 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Steve Nebraska. I think he’s pitching in the Mexican league. He can hit, too.

    • cackalackyank - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      historio….just to be clear. You are not happy with this signing. Is that what you are trying to convey here?

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:22 PM


      • NatsLady - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Poor lady. She hasn’t had a good off-season. I remind her (sadly) that according to all pundits the Nats had a terrific off-season last winter (Haren, Span, Soriano) and it transformed 98 wins into 86. You just don’t know until they, um, play the games.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        I don’t even want to watch some of these guys play. I don’t even like them. I don’t care.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:46 PM

      Do you really feel strongly enough about any 6th or 7th inning reliever to abandon your team? If you were a Tigers fan last year with the drek they were running out of the pen all summer, you can certainly be a Tigers fan this year.

    • lorddarkhelmet - Dec 12, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Don’t doubt DD. He turned a bag of magic beans in Max Scherzer. He turned a couple overhyped prospects into Miggy. Dude has a plan, he knows baseball, and he is smarter than you.

    • nbjays - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Historio, come join us in cheering the Beaver Boys. I’m sure PC and Cur will also welcome you with open arms (and poutine). We may not have a Wang or a Johnson anymore, but the Dickey still works fine… and we also have Joey Bats and EE.

  5. proudlycanadian - Dec 12, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I thought that the Tigers needed more help in the bullpen. Is this the best they can do?

    • bh0673 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      I think he will find his way out of New York they mishandled him, he should have been groomed to be the future closer not a starter.

    • pisano - Dec 12, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      proudly….as I stated last week, ” Bombs away ” let the fireworks begin.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        I am reminded of the old John Lee Hooker song “Boom, Boom, Boom”.

  6. grumpyoleman - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Seems like a good gamble at the price

  7. rbj1 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Cool, I bet I get to watch him here in Toledo, pitching for the Mud Hens.

  8. cackalackyank - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Assuming his arm is sound after the injuries he should be able to do better at keeping the ball in the park at Comerica. The real thing is can he keep his foot out of his mouth and keep away from man eating trampolines. Hopefully he gets on track, and finishes his career without anymore serious injury.

  9. proudliberal85392 - Dec 12, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    This is a good acquisition. Low cost, low risk. Makes sense to me.

    • redsandtigersfan - Dec 13, 2013 at 2:54 PM

      “Low cost, low risk” ? For $2.5 million the Tigers got a right handed thrower who has increasingly lost sight of the strike zone; notice the increasing SO/BB ratio from 5.7 as a rookie in 2007 to only 1.5 in 2013. If Joba doesn’t walk the hitter, his BAA has similarly worsened from an excellent .143 as a rookie to .272 this past season. Do you think that Joba is low risk because you just can’t believe that he can get any worse?

      As for low cost, I would think that would depend upon what alternative options you declined for the money. Rather than Joba Chamberlain, I’d prefer that the Tigers would have signed RHP Jamey Wright from TB for about $1M and RHP Pat Neshak off OAK for about $1.5M in 2014 salary. Two quality relievers for the same price as DD’s long shot project.

      If it’s the thrill of a project that the Tigers desire, Kyle McPherson formerly with PIT underwent Tommy John surgery this past July and by the law of averages he could conceivably be pitching rehab in the minors this spring. For the MLB minimum he could be ready for the Detroit Bullpen as early as the 2014 trade deadline and if he could produce anywhere near his 2012 stats, all clubs would crave his services. That’s the type of project that should be of interest rather than Joba.

  10. anxovies - Dec 12, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    He is no longer sporting that cheesy moustache he had in Spring Training. Be thankful, Detroit.

  11. csbanter - Dec 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Most Yankee fans seem to take it personally when a player leave, whether by choice or not. Life goes on its OK for a player to resume his career elsewhere.

    • pisano - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      @csbanter… In reality, most Yankee fans thank God Joba and Hughes are gone. I could care less if they sink or swim with their new teams.

  12. Minoring In Baseball - Dec 12, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    This is a low risk deal for Detroit. If he fails, they just designate him for assignment. If the pitching coaches can turn him back around, it could be a solid payoff for the team.

  13. jonrox - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM

    Is he really better than Jose Veras? The cost for keeping Veras was essentially the same as getting Joba.

  14. weaselpuppy - Dec 13, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Veras would have been $4M due to some incentives. That said, he was certainly more effective. But if you watched him and that wipeout slurvy slider thing he threw, his elbow looked like it was gonna ‘splode throwing it. It looked the same exact way Al-Al’s did in 2011 when he was at some insane 16K/9IP half season with the same pitch when his elbow when “SPROINNNNGGGG”…

    either that or Veras didn’t fit in the clubhouse well, as he sure would have been a solid option even at $4M if his elbow isn’t endangered.

    Joba is an ok signing…pens are just so unpredictable. Rondon looks healthy lately and he has 103MH gas, Al-Al still has a killer slider, this time with good mechanics(but his walk rate still sucks), Joba, this Krol kid,..that kid PutCokeIn pitched pretty ok too last year, Reed did too. Mercedes has a heavy 98MPH heater in AA and Knebel looks like he’ll be a back end guy too in a year or so….They have the arms, it’s the ability to be dealing with the high pressure that Papa had and lost, that Benoit never had and Nathan HAS. If one of those other guys sacks up, they’ll be ok.

    That said, I’d still love to see them sign another pen arm like Neshek or any submarine guy just to change things up a little.

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