Results tagged ‘ Joel Zumaya ’
Joel Zumaya’s comeback isn’t going to happen in Detroit, but he’s going to a very familiar place. The hard-throwing, injury-riddled reliever has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, Zumaya told MLB.com.
The deal reached Saturday gives Zumaya the roster spot he wanted going into Spring Training with a bullpen that could use his services. He could make anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million depending on appearance-based incentives. The Twins can part ways out of camp and owe Zumaya about half his full salary.
A Twins official would neither confirm nor deny the deal to MLB.com, but said they’ve been in negotiations since December.
Zumaya had what he called “good offers” from three other clubs, but the Twins included guaranteed money rather than a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite. If he’s healthy, they’ll bring him to the same mound at Target Field where he last threw a Major League pitch. He fractured his elbow throwing for the Tigers against the Twins on June 28, 2010.
As it turns out, that was his last appearance as a Tiger. Though the Tigers had an offer out to him for a minor-league contract with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training, they made it clear they weren’t going to guarantee him a spot. Zumaya told MLB.com in November he was most likely moving on, and in the end, the Tigers were not on his short list.
Zumaya joins a Twins bullpen in transition. having lost closer Joe Nathan to the Rangers earlier in the offseason. Minnesota re-signed Matt Capps at closer and returns Glen Perkins coming off an impressive season of middle and late-inning work, but while Perkins blossomed into a high-strikeout lefty last year, the Twins haven’t had a truly overpowering reliever in a while.
If Zumaya’s healthy, he has that potential. Though he hasn’t topped 32 games or 40 innings in a season since his impressive rookie season of 2006, he has been an effective reliever when he hasn’t been hurt. He was showing flashes of his old form in 2010 before he was hurt, striking out 34 batters over 38 1/3 innings while allowing 32 hits and posting a 2.58 ERA.
Zumaya underwent surgery after that July injury to repair a fractured bone at the tip of his elbow, a procedure that included inserting a screw to hold the elbow together. He had to undergo a follow-up surgery to replace the screw after complaining of elbow pain last Spring Training.
The surgery cost Zumaya the entire 2011 season. He threw for interested teams last month and reportedly hit the mid-90s on the radar gun. Since then, Zumaya and his agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, have been negotiating with clubs, trying to land him a Major League contract in a situation where he could fit into a good bullpen role.
– Jason Beck
Though the Tigers have been linked in rumors with talks on Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said Detroit has no trade talks ongoing on any starting pitchers.
And while Dombrowski won’t call any of his top prospects untouchable, a term he rarely uses on anybody, he made it clear they aren’t looking to deal Jacob Turner. That doesn’t mean Turner isn’t available for the right deal, but it indicates they aren’t going out and shopping him for a veteran starter.
At this point, Dombrowski said, the Tigers haven’t reversed course on their plans to go after a fifth starter to compete with prospects such as Turner, Drew Smyly and Andy Oliver.
“Our plan hasn’t changed,” Dombrowski said. “We’re in a situation where we really have been consistent all along. We like our young guys. We feel that one of them will step up and be our fifth starter. Somehow [our approach] has been mistaken.”
Dombrowski said the Tigers have not called about any starting pitchers on the trade market. Any conversations on veterans starters, he said, have been initiated by other club.
“We are not looking,” he said. “There are some guys that are out there and are very good and clubs haved called us about them. But we have four veteran starters, and sometimes you have to break in young pitching.”
They’ll still listen, he said, but they’re not looking. And the inquiries that have been made, he said, haven’t gone far.
“Probably the only guy we had serious conversations on was Gio Gonzalez,” he said, “and we just weren’t prepared to pay the price. Other than that, we really haven’t talked about a starting pitcher.”
Dombrowski also said Al Alburquerque’s recent elbow surgery won’t put them in the market for another reliever. They signed Octavio Dotel knowing that Alburquerque was dealing with off and on injuries. Dombrowski didn’t rule out re-signing Joel Zumaya if he accepts a minor-league contract, but that nothing has changed on that front either.
– Jason Beck
Despite a lack of financial flexibility, the Angels continue to seek ways to address their bullpen situation.
Depending on his price, one option may be veteran closer Francisco Cordero. His agent, Bean Stringfellow, told WEEI.com on Tuesday that the Angels are one of four teams in play for the right-hander, along with the Reds — his former team, which reportedly wants him back — the Red Sox and a fourth, unidentified club.
Cordero is perhaps the best — and most expensive — free-agent reliever remaining after Ryan Madson, making the Angels the least likely fit among the above-mentioned clubs. Stringfellow told WEEI.com Cordero is looking for a multi-year deal and is only interested in going into a situation where he’s the clear-cut closer (which, in Anaheim, would mean the young Jordan Walden is supplanted).
The Angels have also reached out to the representative of former reliever Darren Oliver, a source familiar with his thinking told MLB.com. Oliver’s preference is to return to Texas, but is “not ruling out other contending teams,” the source said, adding that in order to accommodate the Angels, Oliver would be willing to defer most of his salary. Oliver put up a 2.29 ERA in 61 appearances last year, but is 41 and would give the Angels three lefties in the bullpen — along with Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi.
Another interesting candidate is Joel Zumaya, the former Tigers flame-thrower who missed all of 2011 after undergoing exploratory surgery on his right (throwing) elbow. Zumaya performed in front of what was believed to be about 50 scouts in Houston last Wednesday, and some of them were members of the Angels, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed. Someone in attendance told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal he threw his fastball from 93-96 mph and had a decent curveball and OK command.
Some other, cheaper, right-handed options in the free-agent bin: Luis Ayala, Juan Cruz, Scott Linebrink, Dan Wheeler and Jamey Wright. Most of them, however, may not sign deals until more materializes later in the offseason. Sources told MLB.com the Angels have yet to reach out to Ayala or Wheeler in particular.
The Angels previously added LaTroy Hawkins — on a one-year, $3 million contract — in hopes of improving a bullpen that was tied for the American League lead in blown saves last season. Dipoto previously said he’s looking for someone to “complement Jordan Walden; not replace Jordan Walden.”
– Alden Gonzalez
Former Tigers reliever turned free agent Joel Zumaya, who has battled injuries ever since his standout rookie season in 2006, will throw for teams in mid-December in a public workout as he tries to prove he’s ready to compete for a job in Spring Training.
Zumaya will throw a 30-pitch mound session on or around Dec. 14 in Houston, home base of his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks. At least 10 teams have shown interest in taking a look, Zumaya told MLB.com in a phone interview Wednesday night. That supposedly includes the Red Sox, who expressed interest soon after Zumaya became a free agent at season’s end.
Zumaya has a standing offer from the Tigers for a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Training. He could get the same from other teams, which would leave him trying to measure the best oppportunity, or he could get an incentive-laden Major League deal from a team willing to take a shot. Zumaya could be an intriguing option for teams looking for a low-risk, high-reward signing for a non-closing reliever.
When Zumaya is healthy, he’s an effective pitcher with a upper-90s to 100 mph fastball. However, he hasn’t pitched more than 31 games in a season since his standout rookie season in 2006. His last Major League pitch came at the end of June 2010, when he fractured his elbow throwing a pitch in a game at Minnesota. He missed all of 2011 after doctors had to repeat a procedure to insert a screw in his elbow to stabilize the joint.
– Jason Beck