Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The injury is unfortunate on all accounts. It's bad for the team, and it's bad for Zumaya. It forces the team to have to go out and find possibly both a closer and a setup man. And it hurts the development of Zumaya. In addition, his teammates, the front office and the fans are going to struggle to trust that they can rely on him, as he's now suffered a third freak injury in just a couple of years. That doesn't necessarily mean Zumaya has done anything wrong, but it does mean he's going to have to work even harder in rehab, and in the future he's going to have take steps to take extra care of his body, and his arm. As far where the Tigers go from here, resigning Todd Jones becomes the priority now - and if he elects to move to pitch closer to home, the Tigers will have to fill two huge holes, without a lot of good options out there to fill those holes. The injury isn't detrimental to the Tigers 2008 World Series hopes, but it's a definite body blow.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
The Zumaya injury has happened, and that's the end of it. Seriously though, what can we do about it at this point, outside of go looking for some good bullpen arms to help fill the void. The Tigers needed assistance in the bullpen anyway, so the injury to Zumaya just accentuates that need. The injury itself is of some lingering concern going forward, as this isn't something there is much of a comparison for in pitchers. AC joint reconstructions are more common with blunt force injuries than with usage of the arm while pitching, so it is difficult to lay any expectation for his return to health. The Tigers will be in a wait and see mode with regards to his availability in either late 2008 or 2009, but they'll have to be very aggressive to fill the holes in the 'pen.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
The Zumaya injury is really an unfortunate one for both him and the team. The Tigers were certainly counting on him as being a lynchpin in the bullpen next year, but now the Tigers don't know what kind of pitcher Zumaya will be once returns to full strength. This isn't Tommy John surgery, where you have a track record of what pitchers have done after having the procedure. This is a surgery that is uncharted on baseball pitchers, so we'll have to wait and see what happens. Mark Fidrych's name has been mentioned several times over the past week since the announcement of Zumaya's injury, and I hope this doesn't become the outcome for Joel, but right now, the Tigers have to proceed with the idea that anything they get from Zumaya in the future will be a bonus on top of whatever moves they make to solidify the bullpen.
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