The Detroit Tigers took a gamble when they decided to throw Joba Chamberlain a one-year, $2.5 million deal. You may say what’s $2.5 million to an organization like the Tigers? Well, it isn’t so much about the money as much as it tied them into trusting Chamberlain to come in and be an effective 7th inning guy which is one of the more important roles on any baseball team. The Tigers are really counting on Chamberlain being anything but the pitcher he has been the last few seasons where bizarre incidents, bizarre injuries and bizarre pitching has left him a shell of what he used to be.
It was reported that Chamberlain has lost some weight in the offseason, and that is a positive start. Much of Chamberlain’s problems reside in the mental part of the game, and if he can feel good about himself going into the season maybe he can start to regain some form. The Tigers can’t expect Chamberlain to ever reach what he did back in 2007, but if he can be a solid middle reliever his value to the team would triple in the price they ended up paying him.
It’s uncomfortable to trust a guy like Chamberlain with such an important role, but the Tigers are used to taking risks in their bullpen. This is the same organization that failed 57 times in trying to continuously bring back Joel Zumaya, and I’m pretty sure they would have re-signed him again even if he had lost both of his arms playing Guitar Hero. The Tigers know what it’s like to gamble and lose in their bullpen; they are just hoping this is the one time they actually break the bank on a gamble.