MLB Trade Rumors this weekend asked the question whether or not the Tigers should tender Joel Zumaya a contract. That is, Zumaya is a free agent whose rights are still owned by Detroit. The Tigers and other MLB teams have about two weeks to decide what players to tender contract or arbitration offers to and which players to let go. Should the Detroit just let Zumaya walk away early?
I'm going to say: No, but thank Mike Axisa for an easy blog topic for a Monday morning.
The argument for non-tendering Zumaya goes something like this: He is frequently injured, hardly reliable for more than a month at a time. Isn't the roster spot better used on somebody a bit more ... healthy? Besides, he's probably going cost cost $800,000 to $1 million or so for that one month of the year he's actually any good. Isn't that a waste of money? If there are other arguments against keeping Zumaya, please tell us in the comments, because I sure can't think of any.
Zumaya is of course known for falling apart in many different ways. He played Guitar Hero. He dropped a box on his shoulder. His knuckle blew up. His elbow bone broke. The question of health is a valid one, but at such a low cost it's hardly reason to give on Zumaya.
The argument for keeping him is pretty simple, too. When he's healthy, he's very good. Paying a million dollars isn't all that much for a guy who throws 100 mph and strikes out a batter per inning. In 2010, his Fielding Independent PItching stat was 2.50 and his ERA was 3.05 when he broke his elbow throwing a pitch. So why let him escape early?
GM Dave Domrbowski expects Zumaya to be ready for Spring Training. He was quoted by MLive (via HardBallTalk)
"(Zumaya’s) recovery is fine. We expect him to be 100 percent when he reports for spring training," Dombrowski said. "They’ll all pitch at important times. If Joel is healthy, we know he’ll be getting the ball and getting a lot of important outs, no matter when you use him."
So it doesn't sound like Zumaya's a real big non-tender candidate anyway.
Are there any players you don't think should be tendered a contract? I think Zach Miner is probably the best candidate, but again we're only talking about a million dollars or so, and with the exit of Eddie Bonine a healthy Miner likely retakes the position of mop-up reliever / rotational swingman. So my answer: I don't see any arbitration-eligible players not to tender.
Don't worry: next time around I'll ask the arbitration for players who are now outside the Tigers' control.