Some may question why the Detroit Tigers would sign a relief pitcher who posted a 4.93 earned run average in 2013 in an offseason in which the team is in preparation for a World Series run. However, Joba Chamberlain is a very smart signing for the Tigers.
Chamberlain brings experience and versatility to the ball club. Detroit needed to add depth to their bullpen and Chamberlain will be able to do that ten-fold. He has experience as a middle reliever, a setup man and could even make some starts if it came down to it.
There’s no question that his pitching statistics haven’t been exactly ideal over the past few seasons. With that being said, Chamberlain has shown plenty of potential throughout his career. More importantly, he has the capability to pitch at a high-level when put in the right situation. The Tigers understand that, which is why they are willing to take a chance on him. It’s not unrealistic to think that he could post an ERA under 3.00 in 2014.
Since Detroit elected to move reliever Drew Smyly to the starting rotation and Joaquin Benoit is expected to sign with another team, the addition of Chamberlain will be welcomed with open arms. It’s unclear exactly how the Tigers will use Chamberlain out of the bullpen, but the good news is he’s open to anything.
Chamberlain has a career 23-14 record with a 3.85 ERA, 446 strikeouts, five saves and 74 holds in 444 2/3 innings. In 2013, he went 2-1 with 38 strikeouts, one save and five holds in 45 appearances.