UPDATE: Sadly the worst case scenario has come to pass: Joel Zumaya fractured his elbow last night. Technically it’s “a non-displaced
fracture of the olecranon” which is the tip of his elbow. He’s done for the season.
12:14 P.M.: cary scene on the mound in Minneapolis last night as Joel Zumaya suffered what appears to be a major arm
Zumaya was pitching in the eighth inning to Delmon
Young. Catcher Gerald Laird said he heard a “pop” as the pitch was
thrown. After the pitch, which Young fouled off, Zumaya writhed in
obvious pain, his arm to his side and his thumb twitching. He eventually
went down to his knees on the grass. When he left the game he held his
arm close to his body and walked gingerly as if each step was painful
Zumaya has had numerous injuries over the past couple of years, all
of which have been rather freaky (i.e. Guitar Hero, hurt while moving
boxes in his home during a wildfire). He’ll have an MRI today,
but by all appearances, this is yet another major setback for a man who,
when healthy, can throw the ball 100 miles per hour.
Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.
Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.
It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.
Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.