Joel Zumaya Rumors

Dan Wheeler, Joel Zumaya To Retire

Relievers Dan Wheeler and Joel Zumaya have officially retired from the game, reports Chris Cotillo of (Twitter links). The pair of 6'3" righties each saw their share of success at the MLB level.

Wheeler, 36, had far the lengthier career of the two. Over 13 big league seasons, Wheeler posted a cumulative 3.98 ERA over 640 2/3 innings, most all of them in relief. He was a sturdy presence in the pen for the Rays and Astros over much of the first decade of the 21st century, and also had stints with the Mets, Red Sox, and Indians. He ended his MLB career with a disappointing run in Cleveland in 2012, and likewise struggled last year with the Royals' Triple-A affiliate.

Zumaya, who just turned 29 in November, showed flashes of excellence in his short career. Over five seasons with the Tigers, the fireballer posted a 3.05 ERA in 209 2/3 innings pitched. (Somewhat oddly, he notched exactly one save in each of those campaigns.) His lifetime rate stats stand at 9.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9. Zumaya's best season was his first: in 83 1/3 innings in 2006, he allowed just 1.94 earned runs per nine innings. A series of elbow surgeries led to an untimely end to Zumaya's playing days.

Twins Release Joel Zumaya

11:51am: The Twins have to pay Zumaya his full $850K salary because he was injured prior to the start of the season, reports Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). GM Terry Ryan confirmed this to Twins reporters at camp.

7:41am: The Twins announced that they have officially released right-hander Joel Zumaya (Twitter link). Zumaya will miss the 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. The move creates 40-man roster space for the Twins.

The Twins signed Zumaya to a low-risk Major League deal that would have guaranteed him $850K for making Minnesota's Opening Day roster. The hard-throwing 27-year-old hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since June of 2010, but has a career 3.05 ERA with a 9.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 in 209 2/3 innings.

Central Notes: Luhnow, Hart, Braun, Zumaya

Some links from baseball's Central Divisions for your Sunday reading…

  • New Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has the right outlook, but very few pieces to work with, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. One scout told Heyman that aside from Carlos Lee, only two players in the Astros' projected lineup have a chance to be even league-average hitters: Jason Castro and Chris Johnson.
  • Corey Hart has torn cartilage in his knee that will require arthroscopic surgery and sideline him for three-to-four weeks, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said they won't rush Hart back like they did from an oblique injury that cost him his 2011 Spring Training, and that Hart will likely open the season on the disabled list.
  • MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner told Haudricourt that the leak in Ryan Braun's positive drug test was an isolated, case-specific incident and that the process doesn't have a confidentiality problem.
  • Joel Zumaya has opted for Tommy John surgery, writes's Rhett Bollinger. Dr James Andrews will perform the operation at the end of March, and the Twins have yet to decide if they'll place Zumaya on the 60-day DL or release him, assistant GM Rob Antony told Bollinger.

Zumaya Has Torn UCL, Out For Season

An MRI today reavealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament for Joel Zumaya, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN. Twins GM Terry Ryan confirmed to reporters, including Chris Girandola of, that Zumaya will miss the 2012 season. According to Ryan, Zumaya will decide in the next couple of days whether or not he'll undergo Tommy John surgery.

The Twins signed the oft-injured flamethrower to a low-risk Major League deal that guaranteed Zumaya $850K if he broke camp with the team. Because of the injury, the Twins are only on the hook for $400K of that figure. Mackey writes that Ryan says the Twins will stay in-house to fill the void in their bullpen and that Zumaya is "distraught."

The 27-year-old Zumaya owns a career 3.05 ERA in 209 2/3 innings of work with a 9.0 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9. It's hard not to feel for Zumaya, who hasn't pitched since June of 2010 and was looking to revive his career as a member of the Twins.

AL Central Notes: Twins, Royals, Pena, Kotchman

Earlier today we learned that 28-year-old Fausto Carmona is actually 31-year-old Roberto Hernandez Heredia, and that the right-hander might not be able to secure a visa to the United States anytime soon.'s Jordan Bastian says (on Twitter) that it's unclear if the Indians will be able to void Heredia's contract, plus he's not sure they would do that even if it is an option. Here's the latest from the AL Central…

  • Twins GM Terry Ryan told's Rhett Bollinger that he's not ruling out the possibility of adding some more pitching (Twitter link). "I don't think you should ever say you're set to go," said Ryan.
  • A top Royals official told Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star that he'd "be really surprised" if the team signs or trades for another starting pitcher before Spring Training (Twitter link). Dutton says the team wants to get a look at its in-house options.
  • Royals GM Dayton Moore confirmed Dutton's report, telling Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports: “We could have probably jumped in there on some pitchers who were traded, but we need another year to find out what we have here with guys like Chris Dwyer, Jake Odorizzi and [Mike] Montgomery … We may be more receptive to a deal like that next year"
  • The Indians remain interested in Carlos Pena and Casey Kotchman, reports Jon Heyman of (on Twitter). We've heard about their interest in both players throughout the offseason.
  • The Indians signed Jeremy Accardo to a minor league contract earlier today, and Tom Withers of The AP has the details (on Twitter). Accardo will make $825K if he's on the 40-man roster, with another $300K in incentives.
  • Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN provides the details of Joel Zumaya's contract with the Twins (on Twitter). The right-hander is guaranteed $400K of his $850K base salary, and he'll get all of it if he makes the team to start the season.

Twins Agree To Sign Joel Zumaya

The Twins and Joel Zumaya have agreed to a one-year contract, the team announced.'s Jason Beck first reported the deal, which could pay the Hendricks Sports client anywhere from $800K to $1.7MM based on incentives.

Zumaya, 27, told Beck that he was weighing "good offers" from three other clubs, but signed with the Twins because they offered him guaranteed money and not a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. The Tigers were not on his short list, and earlier today we learned the Red Sox and Padres were among the clubs with serious interest.

The flamethrowing right-hander has not pitched since June of 2010 due a fracture in his throwing elbow, an injury he suffered at Target Field and the latest ailment in a laundry list of injuries. In the five seasons since his dominant rookie campaign in 2006 (1.95 ERA and 10.5 K/9 in 83 1/3 innings), Zumaya has undergone five surgeries, including two on his elbow, two on his shoulder, and one on his right middle finger.

A Twins official told Phil Mackey of that they clocked Zumaya at 92-94 during his December workout, which was attended by 20 teams (Twitter link). Zumaya hopes join a Twins' bullpen that lost Joe Nathan but will return Matt Capps and Glen Perkins.

Quick Hits: Rangers, Twins, Gio

Some odds and ends as Sunday night winds down …

  • The Rangers can afford to sign both Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN.
  • The Twins had interest in signing relievers Dan Wheeler and Todd Coffey before inking Joel Zumaya, tweets Phil Mackey of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities radio. Mackey adds he'd be surprised if the Twins closed the door entirely on signing either righty.
  • Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement that the two club options included in Gio Gonzalez's extension were key to getting the deal done, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
  • The Rockies were not interested in signing Bartolo Colon, now of the A's, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
  • The Red Sox officially announced the signings of right-handers Aaron Cook and Justin Germano to minor league contracts, tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.

Cafardo’s Latest: Zumaya, Carlos Lee, Oswalt

At least three teams are "pushing hard" for Joel Zumaya, says Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. According to Cafardo, 50 scouts from 20 teams were in attendance for Zumaya's December workout, and the Red Sox and Padres are among the clubs who are very interested in the right-hander. Here are a few more items of interest from Cafardo's Sunday Baseball Notes:

  • An Astros source confirmed to Cafardo that the club has received a few inquires on Carlos Lee, as we heard earlier this week. The Rays briefly discussed a deal, but even half of Lee's $18.5MM salary figures to be too pricey for Tampa Bay.
  • A long-term extension doesn't look likely for Jacoby Ellsbury this week, but he and the Red Sox should avoid arbitration on a one-year deal before Tuesday's deadline.
  • Based on Hiroki Kuroda's deal with the Yankees, an NL GM thinks Roy Oswalt could be had for about $9MM for one year. There were rumblings this week suggesting Oswalt's current asking price may be even lower.
  • An NL scout on Edwin Jackson and his likely cost: "For that kind of money, you need more consistency out of him. I guess there's a lack of trust in that consistency. He's a great athlete, but he doesn't have a great feel for pitching. To me, he's still a complementary piece."
  • Ryan Spilborghs and Chad Qualls are two free agents to keep in mind for the Red Sox, says Cafardo. The Sox have "always liked" Spilborghs, who was non-tendered by the Rockies last month, and Qualls "has been on Boston's radar all offseason."

Padres Notes: Quentin, Maybin, Zumaya, Venable

The Padres have already pulled off two major offseason trades under GM Josh Byrnes, sending Mat Latos to Cincinnati and obtaining Carlos Quentin from the White Sox. “We’re not in total go-for-it mode, but we can make some choices,” Byrnes said, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here are details from Center’s recent look ahead to the rest of the San Diego’s offseason: 

  • The Padres acquired Quentin from the White Sox with the notion that they could extend him, Byrnes said. 
  • The Padres have already discussed signing Cameron Maybin to a deal that would buy out one or two of his free agent years, according to Center. We heard late in December that the Padres were set to re-start contract talks with the center fielder, who’s on track to hit free agency after 2015.
  • No payroll model would have allowed the Padres to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez for $20-25MM per season, according to Byrnes. Former Padres GM Jed Hoyer dealt Gonzalez to Boston for prospects Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo last offseason. 
  • The Padres were reluctant to offer Heath Bell a third year this offseason, Center writes.
  • The Padres could sign a pitcher or two before Spring Training and San Diego native Joel Zumaya is high on Byrnes’ wish list, Center notes. 
  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner would like to see the Mariners pursue Will Venable, "probably one of the more underrated players in the sport."
  • The Padres figured prominently on Tim Dierkes' list of the offseason's most surprising trades so far.

Cafardo’s Latest: Madson, Kuroda, Cespedes, Zumaya

Even on Christmas, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe delivers his usual Sunday Baseball Notes column. This week, he runs down the best available players remaining on the free agent and trade markets at each position. Here are a few highlights from those lists and the rest of Cafardo's piece:

  • The Red Sox and Angels are "keeping the dialogue open" with Ryan Madson.
  • While many reports have indicated Hiroki Kuroda's willingness to play on the East Coast, the right-hander still has some desire to stay out west.
  • The Marlins are being aggressive on Yoenis Cespedes, with the Nationals right behind them. Earlier this weekend, we heard there's some divide within the Marlins' front office on Cespedes.
  • An AL GM on Joel Zumaya: "Our doctors don't think he would pass the physical based on what they see."
  • The Rays are among the clubs that have talked to Francisco Cordero.
  • Cafardo gets the feeling Matt Garza will be dealt, and warns not to rule out the Tigers.