According to several reports, the Twins have reached agreement, pending a physical of course, with former Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya on a deal that will give Zumaya anywhere between $800 and $1.7 million depending on him reaching certain incentives. Zumaya worked out for about 20 teams in December and a Twins official told Phil Mackey of 1500espn.com that they had clocked Zumaya throwing 92-94 during the work-out session. Zumaya drew interest from several teams but according to at least one report I saw Zumaya took the Twins offer because it was a major league contract, was guaranteed money and had an invite to spring training. Other reports indicate that the money is not guaranteed so we will see as the details become available. Although the money is not a huge sum, the Twins did not get a “steal” here as Zumaya made $915,000 in 2010 and $1.4 million in 2011 although he sat out the entire season due to injury. With his huge injury risk, I sure would not guarantee $800K.
Guaranteed money or not, this is an interesting signing by the Twins. The injury risk is certainly there but the upside reward if Zumaya can stay healthy is very tantalizing. We need to keep in mind that Zumaya is very injury prone even though several of his injuries are not baseball related and we should not set our expectations too high. I have already hear some comments that Zumaya can slide into the Twins closer role. I would say the chances of that are slim to none and I would be very happy to just get 60 innings out of Zumaya in 2012 and if Zumaya is pitching well and the Twins are not going anywhere come July, I would have no issue sending Zumaya to a contender for a good young prospect.
UPDATE JANUARY 19 – The Twins announced today that the Zumaya deal is official. There are reports floating around the internet that $400K of Zumaya $850K base are guaranteed and if Zumaya makes the 25 man roster out of spring training, he gets the entire $850K. Then there are still incentives Zumaya can reach to get up to $1.7 million based on innings pitched.