Sunday, January 15, 2012

Joel Zumaya signs with the Twins

The time has come...the Legion of Zoom is no more in the city of Detroit. The oft-injured but still spectacular Joel Zumaya has reportedly signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins for the upcoming season, ending his roller coaster career with the Tigers.

He will reportedly receive between $800,000 and $1.7 million depending on incentives from the Minnesota Twins as reported by Jason Beck of

Zumaya literally burst on the scene in the 2006 season, thrilling Tigers fans by hitting 103 mph on the radar gun on a regular basis and dousing one of Detroit's finest in champagne following the Tigers walk-off American League Championship victory that same year.

After the 2006 campaign however, many Tigers fans feared they were seeing something out of the past that crushed their spirits before when Mark Fidrych injured himself after a phenomenal rookie season and was never the same. Zumaya injured himself playing the video game, "Guitar Hero" then had boxes fall on him while he was trying to help his parents evacuate their Californian home ahead of a wildfire.

Several years and several injuries later Zumaya had only worn the "Old English D" 126 times in the past four seasons - not consistent enough to offer him any guaranteed money. General Manager Dave Dombrowski had told Zumaya that he would offer him a spring training invitation but would not offer him a contract until he saw something he liked - he also told him if he was offered guaranteed money to take it, even if that meant going somewhere else.

Prior to the 2011 Winter Meetings Zumaya held a workout for scouts and other officials where he was hitting the mid-90's with his fastball with consistency - the Tigers were not one of the teams that attended that event.

There's no telling which Zumaya the Twins will get this season, the phenom from 2006 who went 6-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 83 games or the oft-injured reliever who has had four surgeries, two since 2010, to repair his pitching arm. The Twins hope they will get the former - and to some extent so do the Tigers, they don't want to see another Mark Fidrych.  

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