The Minnesota Twins are signing injury-prone reliever Joel Zumaya to a one-year contract worth at least $800,000.
A lot of people know Joel Zumaya for being the pitcher who hurt himself playing Guitar Hero. Fewer people know Joel Zumaya for being the pitcher who hurt himself in a lot of other ways, too. Zumaya hasn't cleared 40 innings since he was a rookie in 2006, but he still has raw talent that makes people drool, and this weekend, he's found a new employer.
After throwing for teams in December and holding out for a roster spot and the right situation, Zumaya has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, the reliever told MLB.com. The two sides spent Saturday putting together a deal that could pay him anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches incentives.
Zumaya missed the entire 2011 season following surgery on his elbow. However, he was said to be hitting the mid-90s during his workout, so the ability's still in there. The last time he pitched, in 2010, he posted 34 strikeouts and 11 walks in 38⅓ innings. That represented a substantial improvement in walk rate, which may or may not be sustainable.
The thing you say about Joel Zumaya is "if he's healthy, he could be outstanding." He probably won't be healthy, and he probably won't be outstanding. But that fastball, man. The Twins could use that fastball, as long as Zumaya's able to throw it.