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Updated: January 15th, 2012 2:09pm
Twins agree to incentive-laden deal with oft-injured Joel Zumaya

Twins agree to incentive-laden deal with oft-injured Joel Zumaya

by Phil Mackey
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The Minnesota Twins will take a flier on what was once one of the most promising right-handed bullpen arms in baseball.

According to, former Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya has agreed to a deal worth $800,000 that can earn the 27-year-old up to $1.7 million with incentives.

Zumaya's last outing came at Target Field in June of 2010 when he blew out his elbow -- an injury that led to two surgeries and more than one full season on the sideline.

Zumaya's entire career has been mired in arm injuries, including a ruptured middle finger tendon that cost him 96 games in 2007, an AC joint separation in 2008 that shelved him for 72 games, a stress fracture in his shoulder later in 2008 that cost 41 more games, and more shoulder surgery in 2009.

Through it all, Zumaya has thrown no more than 38 1/3 innings in any season since 2006. But in 209 2/3 career innings he owns a 3.05 ERA with 210 strikeouts.

Zumaya's fastball averaged 99 mph in 2009 and 2010 prior to his latest injury, and Twins scouts clocked him at 92-94 during a December bullpen session in which nearly every major league team sent someone to watch.

Prior to agreeing to terms with Zumaya, the Twins had mild interest in right-hander Dan Wheeler and moderate interest in right-hander Todd Coffey.

With arbitration estimations factored in, the Twins payroll now sits between $99-100 million.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd