Oct 11, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joel Zumaya delivers the game ball to the pitcher

Joel Zumaya Could Return to Detroit Tigers

Joel Zumaya quickly became a fan favorite after making the team in 2006. However, the repeated arm injuries necessitated the Tigers moving on as Zumaya just couldn’t be counted on as an important member of the bullpen. As a result, the Tigers weren’t in a position to offer him a Major League deal like the one he wound up getting from the Minnesota Twins.

It turns out that Joel Zumaya has been in town for some fishing. The Detroit Free Press caught up with him about his love for the outdoors and managed to coax a little baseball talk out of him. The takeaway? Joel Zumaya isn’t done with baseball and he seems intent on returning to the Tigers:

I was born to be a Tiger. I’ve been talking to them. I could end up back here.

Would it happen? Should it happen?

He’s coming off Tommy John surgery on top of his already extensive injury history. However, there is no risk in signing him to a minor league deal. It’s unlikely any team would be willing to offer anything more than that.

The Tigers figure to let Jose Valverde leave as a free agent this offseason so there will be a re-working of the back-end of the Tigers bullpen. Why not add a wild card like Zumaya to the equation with no risk? He won’t be a candidate to close and he may not even be ready to contribute right away. But it’s possible he could contribute at some point in 2013. With no risk involved, it’s worth taking a shot.

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  • Chris Hannum

    Of course. I wanted them to bring him back last year, I want them to bring him back next year. Anything the Tigers got out of him would be unexpected – it’s like an 80% chance that he’ll get hurt again – but why not take that gamble for a fan favorite with talent.

  • Matthew Kaufman

    He strikes me as a cancer. Too arrogant and not enough reward even if he’s half as good as 2006. Loved the memories, but you’re too thick headed to learn to PITCH and not just try to wow the crowd with 102

    • verlander

      I disagree strongly that Zumaya’s a cancer.

      Also, he started to incorporate more of his secondary stuff and try not to blow everyone away with his fastball after the last few injuries (prior to the Tommy John), IIRC.

  • http://twitter.com/douglasparton Douglas Parton

    Z – Good thing he got that Tommy John’s surgery out of the way. Jacob Turner would have been smart to do the same this summer.

    • http://sidelionreport.com/ Zac Snyder

      I would respond to let MCB readers know that this is an inside joke but that is only half true. It is based on a comment that actually aired on a Detroit sports radio station…

  • verlander

    I wouldn’t be opposed to a cheap, minor league deal. Why not? Low risk, potentially high reward.