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Joba Chamberlain re-signs with Tigers on one-year contract

Last year's setup man has signed a one-year major league contract for the 2015 season.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday morning the Detroit Tigers added yet another arm to the pool of bullpen candidates, re-signing right-handed reliever Joba Chamberlain to a one-year contract. The deal was first reported by FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and then later confirmed by Tigers President and GM Dave Dombrowski. According to Rosenthal, Chamberlain will receive $1 million plus incentives for the 2015 season. Right-handed pitcher Chad Smith was designated for assignment.

Though he received multiple offers from teams during the offseason, Chamberlain had turned them all down. While there were organizations that offered him more money, Chamberlain liked the Detroit team better, Dombrowski saying in Lakeland that "he really wanted to come back."

"We have unfinished business as a team and I personally do," Chamberlain told the media Tuesday morning. "That was a huge factor."

Chamberlain's deal includes the same appearance-based incentives as last year, which is up to $500 thousand. He is not expected to compete for a defined late-inning role in the Tigers' bullpen this spring.

"We're not signing him to be the eight inning guy," Dombrowski told reporters. "He gives Brad (Ausmus) some depth and helps the organization over the long haul."

Chamberlain was one of the Tigers' most effective relievers in 2014, which isn't saying much. His 1.0 rWAR was second only to Al Alburquerque, and his 63 innings pitched out of the bullpen led the team. He posted a stellar 2.63 ERA in the first half, but faded down the stretch to raise his season total to 3.57.

Chamberlain had battled multiple injuries in the seasons prior to 2014, and hadn't accumulated more than 42 innings in a season since 2010. It could be argued that his late-season decline was due in large part to fatigue. If that was the case, being another year removed from injury should only improve his chances of being effective for a full season, something he's yet to accomplish in his major-league career.

Chamberlain will keep his No. 44 jersey with the Tigers and Joel Hanrahan will now wear No. 48. Hanrahan will still retain the title of champion of Monday's ragball competition, though. Early reports are that Chamberlain is not sporting a Yukon Cornelius beard. How this will affect his pitching ability is yet to be determined.