Detroit Tigers Links: Special defense and Joba Chamberlain’s return


With the return of Jose Iglesias, the always solid defense of Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila spending likely half the games behind the plate and a new and improved outfield centered around Yoenis Cespedes, the Detroit Tigers may have one of the most improved defense in baseball.

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MCB staffer Tom Zahari used his semi-regular appearance in the Detroit Free Press to explain just how good the unit can be in 2015.

Tigers’ fans woke up bleary-eyed and confused when a report circulated that the team had brought back reliever Joba Chamberlain. It is a very team-friendly $1 million deal with incentives that cap the deal at no more than $1.5M. There were no rumors between Joba and the Tigers in the offseason, but reportedly the former setup man turned down more money to come back to Detroit.

Brad Ausmus was quick to point out that Joba will not likely be in line for the setup job this year, but his arrival does shakeup the bullpen a bit as we head toward Grapefruit League action beginning next week.

Why Tigers’ defense can be special – Tom Zahari, MCB Special to Detroit Free Press

"Iglesias is easily one of the best defensive shortstops in the game if he can keep the range he had before his shin injuries last year. His double play partner, Ian Kinsler, could have won a Gold Glove in 2014, but Dustin Pedroia won the award.Anthony Gose will cover tons of ground at Comerica Park’s centerfield and should be able to track down just about everything out there. His reputation when the Tigers traded for him was a speed guy with great range and a plus defender. Finally, Alex Avila, in the top 10 in most defensive categories for catchers, completes the defense up the middle which should be great.The Tigers also upgraded with Yoenis Cespedes in left field. If you haven’t seen videos of Cespedes’s cannon for an arm, look them up and have fun because it is one of the most entertaining in the game. Cespedes’s arrival also meant the departure of Torii Hunter, the worst rated defensive player in all of baseball according to FanGraphs."

Tigers’ Chamberlain returns for ‘unfinished business’ – Anthony Fenech, Free Press

"“I loved playing there every day,” Chamberlain said. “I left it all on the field and for me, I didn’t feel like I finished the season the way I wanted to, and we have unfinished business, and I personally do.”“We’re very happy to have Joba back on board,” president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “We always liked the job that Joba did for us last year. We’re very happy to have him back.”In 2014, his first season outside the Yankees’ organization, Chamberlain posted a 3.57 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 63 innings. He started off strong, with a 2.63 ERA in the first half, but slipped in the second half, with a 4.97 ERA.“I started off well and just at the end, I didn’t finish the way I wanted to,” he said.And although he was battling personal problems in the second half, “We all have personal issues,” he said, “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve gotta do my job and I didn’t do my job at times in the second half.”Chamberlain will be used as a middle-innings reliever, manager Brad Ausmus said, and could find his way into the back-end of games."

5 ways signing of Joba Chamberlain has implications for Detroit Tigers bullpen – Chris Iott, MLive

"Joba Chamberlain is well liked in the Detroit Tigers clubhouse. It’s very likely that all of his teammates were happy to see him Tuesday morning after he signed a deal with the organization.Well, maybe not all of them. Guys like Alex Wilson and Josh Zeid might not have been thrilled when he walked in the door.The signing of Chamberlain appears to have reduced the number of roster spots for right-handed relievers to, well, zero.There are multiple implications from the signing of Chamberlain. Here are a handful of them:It affects the competition for roster spots this spring…."

Next: Ian Kinsler: Under-achiever or Under-appreciated?