DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers accomplished another goal during their busy offseason, adding depth to their bullpen with Joba Chamberlain.
Chamberlain and the Tigers agreed to terms on a one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Thursday because the deal hadn’t been announced.
The hard-throwing, right-handed reliever was 2-1 with one save in 45 games and a career-high 4.93 ERA last season for the New York Yankees. The converted starter was 23-14 with five saves with a 3.85 ERA in 260 appearances over seven seasons with the Yankees.
Chamberlain will get a fresh start in Detroit in a relatively low-pressure role as a middle reliever.
The Tigers have won the last three AL Central titles and at least one postseason series the last three years, but they got to the World Series only once and were swept by the San Francisco Giants in 2012. They’re hoping they have made all the right moves to boost the franchise’s quest to win a World Series for the first time since 1984.
Detroit has a new manager, with Brad Ausmus replacing Jim Leyland. The team will have a lot of new faces in key places on the field.
The Tigers made a blockbuster trade in late November, sending first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. A couple of weeks later, Detroit dealt the known — right-handed starter Doug Fister — for lesser-known players in a four-player deal. The Tigers also signed closer Joe Nathan and speedy outfielder Rajai Davis within the last week, filling two more voids, and let shortstop Jhonny Peralta leave as a free agent.
Detroit president and general manager Dave Dombrowski proved he wasn’t done at the winter meetings, agreeing to give a player an opportunity to pitch toward his vast potential.
The 28-year-old Chamberlain might not get back to the way he began his major league career, starting with 15 1/3 scoreless innings in 2007, but he might prove to be a solid pickup if he can stay healthy.
Chamberlain missed almost the entire month of May last season because of a strained right oblique. After appearing in a career-high 73 games in 2010, he was limited to a total of 49 games over the next two years because of surgeries on his right elbow and right ankle.