Maybe one day this offseason the Cleveland Indians will sign a player to a big league contract, but today is not that the day. The team just announced on Twitter that they have signed pitcher Joba Chamberlain to a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Training. The 30-year-old reliever joins a swelling list of non-roster invites joining the Indians this Spring.
Chamberlain spent the majority of his nine-year career on the New York Yankees, bouncing between a starter and reliever before settling in as a reliever in 2010. He has not started a game in the Majors since, and he has not been a particularly effective reliever either. In 2015, Joba split time between American League Central Division rivals Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals, where he appeared in only six games down the stretch.
Chamberlain's most notable connection to the Indians is the infamous 'Bug Game' in 2007 ALDS. A swarm of midges pestered Joba and the rest of the Yankees defense in the eighth inning, helping the Indians score a run. The Indians Twitter account attempted to smooth things over with their new reliever, but the Yankees are not having any of that:
What role Joba could play on the Indians in 2016 is anybody’s guess, but it will definitely be in the bullpen if he makes the Major League roster out of Spring Training. He will be competing against relievers on the 40-man roster including the recently-acquired Kirby Yates.
Joba joins the likes of pitcher Joe Colon, infielder Michael Martinez, catcher Adam Moore, outfielder Shane Robinson, catcher Anthony Recker, and outfielder Michael Choice as the list of players who have received non-roster invites to Spring Training.