Joel Zumaya is hoping to be fully recovered from his latest significant arm injury in time for spring training, but the flame-throwing right-hander told Jason Beck of MLB.com that his next injury would probably be his last one:
I’m trying to make some believers. This year’s going to be my make-it-or-break-it year. If I get hurt again, I’m basically going to be done with baseball. I’m going to have to find another job.
Zumaya is still just 26 years old and has remarkably managed to maintain his triple-digit fastball despite seemingly coming back from a different injury every season, but it’s tough to blame him for not wanting to come back from another one. Right now he’s rehabbing the gruesome-looking fractured elbow that occurred mid-pitch in June, and he’s also undergone past surgeries on his shoulder and finger.
Detroit will reportedly tender Zumaya a contract for 2011, although there’s speculation that the Tigers may try to work out a pre-arbitration deal rather than risk having to give him a raise to over $1 million. And if he does have to go “find another job” after next year, hopefully Zumaya saved some of the $3 million or so he’s earned so far. Triple-digit fastballs look better coming out of the bullpen than they do on top of a resume.
Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.
They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.
The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.
He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.
This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.
Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.