Friday, June 20, 2008

Tigers Need Zumaya To Setup Now, But Start Later

Joel Zumaya returns to the Tigers this weekend. It should be an important factor as they continue to push their way into a pennant race.
Zumaya is much more capable of handling the setup role than Fernando Rodney. Rodney has good "stuff" when he is right, but he isn’t right that often. Nagging injuries always seem to be a problem. And his "stuff" isn’t as good as that of Zumaya..
There is also a charismatic element to Zumaya. When he comes out of the bullpen, especially at home and they play "Voodoo Child" at Comerica Park, it brings a sense of excitement. When Rodney is coming out of the ‘pen, it brings a feeling of, "Here we go again."
But is Zumaya completely healthy? Seems that way. Can stay healthy? That’s another issue.
Also, I think the Tigers need to make a decision on whether Zumaya - long-term - is a reliever or a starter. I found it curious they drafted two college closers so early in the draft.
Zumaya has more than just a great fastball. He also has an above-average breaking ball and change. He has the makings of an exceptional starting pitcher, which is baseball’s most-valued commodity. Remember, he was a starter in the minor leagues.
Starting would also put Zumaya on a set routine, which might settle down his health issues.
But that would be for the future. Currently, the Tigers need him desperately to fill the setup role as he did in 2006.

6 Comments:

Blogger Fred Brill said...

Let me ask you Pat, do you think that Zumaya - as fragile as he has been the last year - since breaking a finger pretending to play guitar, and then injure a shoulder getting a box off a shelf is durable enough to come into a game and be expected to toss fireballs for 6 to 7 innings?

He did it in the minors, but can he in the bigs? Or would such a move shorten his carreer?

If it were not for his reputation of watching the speed gun, and trying to top it with his next pitch - I might jump on board that idea.

I just hope right now he can be the Zumaya of 2006 again, and let the rest fall where it falls - hopefully not on top of Zumaya.

Now I have "Wild-Thing" playing in my head all afternoon. Same difference.

4:17 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, oh yah Zoomer is ahead of Rodney. Like you say Zumaya was a starter in the minors with a very impressive Whip of 1.18. Tigers could go either way next year because I do not think they will resign Jones next year and with their draft picks they could convert him to a starter. But I do not think they will use the college kids as their closer next year probably more like a set-up guy. I think next year has a lot to do with whom they sign in next year free agent market. There will be all-star starters and relievers available next year. It would be nice to see Miner and Dolsi continue their progress so they can fill in the holes for next year. Rodney an above average pitcher but like Gary there is a history of injuries. I wonder if Rodney will be with the Tigers next year?
In an off note, I wonder how many Russians will be playing in the NHL over the next decade as Russia has money now. Exporting 10 million of oil a day, that's mega bucks.

10:14 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

Big game this afternoon! If Verlander pitches like he did on Monday I like the Tigers chances. Hopefully, no one with a cocked hat and a misfiring arm appears to end the road trip like it began. I'm with Barry concerning Rodney. But I wonder if he'll be with the Tigers at the All-star break.

Since I mention the All-star break, here's my two cents for a Tiger on the team. Galarraga has three starts before the All-star game. If he wins the next two he should be on the team. That would make his record 9-2, an amazing record considering he pitches for a sub .500 team.

Granted, this is a big if when you consider he'll be pitching against St. Louis at home then the Twins in the homer dome. All the more reasons he should make the team, if he wins.

Regarding your blog posting, I thought Zumaya was the closer heir apparent for next season. Todd Jones has been incredible and deserves All-star consideration too. However, Jones is 40 and bringing him back for yet another year is an iffy proposition. Still, the Wings kept bringing back the Dominator.

12:56 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I think it would help him to stretch out his arm and be on a regular schedule. As is, he is warming up a lot and overthrowing. I think he would be more durable as a starter.
Caputo

1:56 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
I do believe Jones will be back next season. He is still throwing pretty hard and has taken better care of himself in recent years. They also drafted closers who should move quickly through their system. No need to force-feed Zumaya as closer.
Caputo

1:58 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
There is still a lot of the season remaining, but Jones has been fine. I do believe he will be back, at least based on what we've seen so far. Verlander is really good, but he needs to throw more strikes and not work so deep into counts. His pitch count gets too high and forces him from games too early. Sunday was a classic example of it.
Caputo

2:00 AM 

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