I have written about Joel Zumaya in the past, almost to the point of exhaustion. Today, nearing the end of the trade deadline, I should be thinking about Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham and Aubrey Huff, but my mind is fixed on Joel. His season is now officially done. His potential and promise will have to wait one more year. My heart sighs, but my head wonders if we've seen the end.
I will graciously forgive the Tigers for every second chance they want to throw at him. I figure if they can allow Dontrelle to continue to make rehab starts, Zumaya deserves all the time he needs. But the truth of the matter is, other than his blistering 2006 campaign, he has been nothing but a disappointment. Injuries and walks and lack of off-speed command and more injuries have turned the reliever into a new Kerry Wood. Tons and tons of potential, but also tons and tons of frustration.
I don't want to see the Tigers cut him lose. He doesn't make enough, and still has enough upside to ride it out, but I think it is time to quit relying on Zumaya to be healthy at some point. He is not the closer of the future, and may not even be a factor in the future. He is Matt Anderson. Or at least that is how he needs to be viewed.
If Joel makes it back to contribute at some point, then I will be as happy as anyone. I will even lead the Joel Zumaya comeback party. Prove me wrong Joel - I seriously hope you do. But the most important thing the Tigers can do right now is not grab a bat for the stretch run, it is to look for an arm to replace the kid in the future. The bullpen hurts, and would sure look a hell of a lot better with Voodoo Child blaring from the speakers late in the game.