Perhaps my favorite memory of Zumaya was a late game matchup he had against Justin Morneau when Morneau sent a 99MPH fastball into the stands. This kicked off an impressive offensive outburst from Justin that has since made him one of my favorite players.
That said, the news that the Twins signed Zumaya to an 800K deal with an additional 900K in incentives is largely a good thing, but it does come with its risks.
The big risk is obviously his health. He didn't pitch in 2011. He pitched 38 innings in 2010, 31 in 2009, 23 in 2008, and 33 in 2007. During those times, he's spent quite a bit of time on the DL. You'd think by his injury history that he has been playing for a number of years, but sadly he's only going to be 27 in 2012. He has had some odd fractures compounded by having screws that were overtighted and eventually needing replacing. That said, at only 800k guaranteed, this alone isn't a bad risk. His other risk might be a clubhouse risk as he managed to hurt himself during the World Series by playing too much Guitar Hero in the clubhouse. While we hope that this was simply a youthful mistake, it could also be a sign of a "me first" attitude that Gardy so much despises. Only time will tell here.
Obviously the reward is quite high too. For his MLB career, Zumaya averages a strike out per inning, a 1.35 WHIP, and a 3.05 ERA. On the downside, his K/BB ratio is a measly 1.84. That said, during his last season in 2010, his walk rate had dropped considerably walking only 2.58/9 compared to his career mark of 4.89/9.
Should he be healthy, he will join Perkins as the late inning shut down relievers to setup Matt Capps. With Duensing taking care of lefties. If the Twins end up repeating their awful 2011 season, a healthy Zumaya could be flipped for a decent prospect at the deadline.
In all, while somewhat risky, this signing is a good move, and the type of low risk/high reward move that the Twins should be making. If the rumors are true that the Twins are also pursuing Oswalt, this will prove to have been a fairly good offseason for Terry Ryan.