About four months ago, I wrote an article wondering aloud whether the Detroit Tigers should give oft-injured fan favorite Joel Zumaya one last chance, with a new contract. 

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski gave us an answer to that question at the winter meetings when he stated bluntly that the team will not offer Zumaya a major league contract; but they are happy to have him at camp as a non-roster invitee.

Detroit did not even have a representative among the 50 scouts present at Zumaya’s open workout in December. Clearly the Tigers have decided to move on without the flame-throwing righty and it appears the odds of him showing up at Tigers training camp as an invitee are very slim, despite his stated interest in remaining in Detroit.

Rumors abound that the San Diego Padres are very interested in Zumaya, a San Diego native who would benefit from an extreme pitchers’ park in Petco Park. For someone who could get a fresh start in his hometown with a guaranteed major league contract and very little expectations, I don’t know that he has many better options.

Even if he doesn’t sign with the Padres it appears as though, pending a physical, he will get a contract offer from some team as a result of his open workout. The Mets and Angels are other possible destinations.

All that being said, I am personally sad to see Zumaya leave the Motor City. For all the disappointment he caused for Tigers fans with his injuries, he was equally as electric when on the mound.

And even though he may never wear the Old English “D” again, my lasting memory of him in Detroit will not be of him crumpled on the mound in agony, his elbow seemingly made of glass. It will be of him mowing down batters as a rookie in 2006 with a 100 mph heater and knee-buckling curveball, which gave Tigers fans new hope after so many years of suffering.

Thanks for the memories, Zoomer.

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