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