Friday, November 02, 2007

Above the Fold - Joel Zumaya's shoulder

(My apologies for the late post, as my internet access was out for most of the day. //shakes fist in sky, curses out Charter//)

Before 2pm Thursday, I'm sure not many of us knew of, or cared about, the AC joint on one's shoulder. After 2pm , we became much too familiar with that shoulder joint, thanks to Joel Zumaya somehow wrecking the AC joint in his pitchinng shoulder while moving his parents things during the San Diego wild fires. In the best case scenario, Zoom is back mid season of 2008. No matter what happens to Zumaya, the Tigers off season plans have now changed.

As you might guess, the MSM likes to throw around blame.

The Freep's Michael Rosenberg, says "This isn't a criticism," then goes on to criticize Zumaya's decision making. a bit of a knee jerk reaction coming from a columnist who's normally one of the Detroit media's few voices of reason.

He suffered a finger injury last spring, presumably because he grips the ball so hard. We'll consider that somewhat freakish. But he also suffered inflammation in his wrist and forearm at least in part because he played the "Guitar Hero" videogame so much. And now this.

This isn't criticism. It's reality. I'm not saying Zumaya has been careless with his talent. This isn't about carelessness. It's about being extra careful.

I hope Zumaya understands that only a few people in the world ever throw a baseball like he does -- and some of them wake up one morning and realize they can't do it anymore.

In the News, Lynn Henning breaks out the usual relief pitching suspects. He also says, in so many words, that Todd Jones has the Tigers over the proverbial barrel, and "Will likely command a steeper price, and perhaps a longer contract."
Should they fail to sign Jones, the Tigers might be compelled to bid on right-handed closeout artists such as Mariano Rivera or Francisco Cordero. They might consider David Riske, a right-hander who most recently pitched for the Royals.

With a limited free-agent crop on the horizon, it is expected that contract offers -- generally sky-high for relievers -- will soar higher. The question for the Tigers is not whether they will choose to get involved, but rather, because of Zumaya's injury, whether they will be forced to pay exorbitantly for a bullpen that must be intact if Detroit is to be a playoff contender.

In his blog, Pat Caputo calls Zumaya more of a myth than relief pitcher.

Well, now it does seem like "Zoom" was too good to be true. Since he suffered that freakish finger injury early last season, he’s almost been more a myth than a pitcher. The shoulder injury he suffered when a box fell on him during the San Diego fires is very hurtful to the Tigers. Even on a staff with Justin Verlander, he just might be the most talented pitcher.

The blogosphere exploded in a flurry of posting once the Zumaya news hit the wire.

At Roar of the Tigers, Samela breaks out her mad photoshop and drawing skills, giving us "An exclusive reenactment of the tragic event," while breaking down the injury in layman's terms for we medical dunces, using pretty pictures to get across the severity of Zumaya's injury.

Now, the surgery Zoom needed is called AC joint reconstruction. AC (acromioclavicular) joint disruption is NOT an injury generally seen in baseball players, because it’s an impact injury, not a strain injury. It’s much more common in a sport where you’re supposed to be smashing into people (football, hockey) or when you’re pretty likely to take a sharp dive directly onto your shoulder (soccer, biking). There isn’t much basis for comparison when it comes to recovery time for pitchers.

Brad at Clubber Lang's Basement offers to pay for movers, and makes the case for Mariano Rivera at the back end of the Tigers bullpen.

Mariano's still one of the top five closers in baseball and if you can get him for a 2-3 year deal you go and do it. Best case scenario if the Tigers sign him is that when Joel comes back we can have him set up for Mariano in the ninth. How good would that be? I would love to see the Tigers make this move. I'd also love to see A-Rod at 3B and Brandon Inge playing somewhere else as well, and I'm willing to pay $8 for a Little Caesars Hot and Ready Pizza to make it happen.

At Mack Avenue Tigers, all that a very shocked Kurt can spit out is a Bill the Cat-like, "ACK!"

Half a season. Wow. You had to fear a fireball guy with his mechanics, who hurt his finger squeezing the ball too hard, could have problems. This only makes you look upon his future with greater worries going forward.

Is Zoomer as we know it gone?

Who will the Tigers find to close in 2008?

My thought right now: Ack.

At Bless You Boys, Ian says there's "A lesson to be learned," and that acquiring a "Relief pitcher" became priority one.

The lesson to be learned here, for the young kids who might be reading this, is that you should never help anyone move. Ever. Especially if you're a professional athlete whose livelihood depends on the well-being of your body. And can afford to hire people to do that stuff for you. (Not to make light of what's happened in California, however. A lot of people are surely overworked and really need help right now.)

Always the Detroit blogosphere's voice of reason, Bill at The Detroit Tigers Weblog was in on Dave Dombrowski's conference call, learning what the Tigers' GM will do next, while bluntly saying the whole situation "Stinks." He also has a thorough analysis as to whom the Tigers will look to for bullpen help.

In addition to Cordero and Rivera I like Eric Gagne. I don’t think he’s as bad as he showed in Boston. He won’t cost a draft pick, and he could be relatively cheap. Who knows, he may even do a one year deal to re-establish his value like Pudge Rodriguez did with the Marlins in 2003. Jorge Julio has posted solid strike out rates through out his career, but he has struggled with walks at times, and is only 29. And Kerry Wood wouldn’t be a bad option if you didn’t have to rely on him. He has upside and could help in the rotation or out of the pen.

That's a very late "Above the Fold" for Friday, 11-2-07!

1 comment:

  1. A saying comes to mind here...what is it? Oh yea...SHIT HAPPENS!! A box fell on his shoulder, it's not like the last thing he said was "hey watch this."