The Detroit Tigers signed Joba Chamberlain as a reclamation project for their bullpen this season, but after a Spring Training filled with injuries, Chamberlain should have a key role. Chamberlain has struggled since having Tommy John surgery in June of 2011, but the Tigers are hoping a change of scenery will help him change that.
Chamberlain had a great start to his career, posting a 0.38 ERA over 19 games in 2007 and a 2.60 ERA in 42 games in 2008. In both seasons he has SO/9 totals over 10. After a stint in the starting rotation, Chamberlain posted some good numbers in 2011 before the injury, with a 2.83 ERA and a career low 2.2 BB/9 ratio. Since his return from injury, Chamberlain has posted ERAs over four and has seen his H/9 ratio rise over 10 in both seasons.
Bruce Rondon was the leading candidate to be the setup man this season, but he is now out for the season after an arm injury forced him to have Tommy John surgery. With Joaquin Benoit and Jose Veras both having moved on from last season’s pitching staff, Chamberlain is the best option to fill the role.
Chamberlain served as the setup man for the New York Yankees before his injury, so he brings experience to the role. But that experience won’t mean much if he can’t lower has BB/9 and H/9 ratios. Chamberlain posted a career-high 5.6 BB/9 ratio last season, and he will need to lower that ratio to have success with the Tigers. If he can lower that number, as well as the H/9 ratio that was at 10.1 last season, Chamberlain should see his ERA lower and could be an effective solution to the setup role.