Mailbag: Will Zumaya lose velocity?

Mailbag: Will Zumaya's speed drop?

Nobody is talking about it around the Tiger "friendly" arenas, but can we safely say that after Joel Zumaya's surgery, we can expect his velocity to drop immensely? His velocity declined last year compared to his first and with surgery, it will be harder for him to regain it. Without command on other pitches, will he just be Kerry Wood?
-- Jordan P., Fort Wayne, Ind.

Nobody can safely assume anything about how Zumaya will throw after the surgery, because there's no record of a pitcher going through surgery with that type and that severe of an injury. The closest example is the late third baseman Ken Caminiti, and he regained his arm strength, but even throwing across the infield a handful of times a game, he didn't put nearly as much stress on his arm as a pitcher. Doctors have said Zumaya should be back at full strength, but there's no way to know for sure until he can actually try to throw again.

Now since both Kenny Rogers and A-Rod split from Scott Boras, might this set a trend around MLB? Boras really gets on my nerves, raising salaries too high, I think.
-- Andrew S., Elkton, Mich.

First, to clear up something, A-Rod didn't split from Boras. In fact, Boras is still his agent, and is expected to work out the final details on A-Rod's new contract with New York.

As far as raising salaries, that's his job. Players hire him to find them the best, most lucrative contract possible, and players keep hiring him because he's very good at it. Where problems can seemingly arise is when the player wants to re-sign with his team regardless of whether they're the highest bidder.

When Rogers said near the end of the season that he wanted to pitch for the Tigers if he pitched at all next year, that went against the strategy that Boras normally uses. Given the chance to test the open market, Boras will almost always advise his client to do so. The free market is where he does his best work.

What Rogers did isn't the start of a trend. I think it's more of a reminder that the agent works for the player, not the other way around. And when the two don't agree, it's up to the player to decide what he wants to do.

If Rogers does indeed want to come back for next year, why doesn't he fire Boras and negotiate on his own? Other players do it.
-- Frank H., Charleston, S.C.

I don't really have a reply. I just wanted to credit you for sending this question two days before Rogers actually fired Boras and decided to represent himself.

It makes more sense to trade any players in the Minors as opposed to pitchers. You can never have enough pitchers. Giving up Minor League pitching to the Braves, and last year to the Yankees, has left us bare. Why does it have to be a pitcher involved in a trade?
-- T.D., Dearborn, Mich.

Because of what you said -- that you can never have enough pitchers. Young pitching is the most valuable commodity in baseball. Teams that don't have it, want it. In Atlanta's case, by all reports, the Braves wouldn't have dealt Edgar Renteria without getting young pitching in return. Once the Tigers decided they wanted Renteria badly enough, that's what they had to give up to do it.

Dave Dombrowski stated that he would seek a trade in order to replace Rogers, if necessary. There aren't all that many choices and the only ones I can come up with are Mike Mussina, Dan Haren and Tim Lincecum. The Reds, Orioles and Dodgers might also be looking to rebuild their positions with a pitching trade. What real options are there considering pitching is at a premium and the Tigers do not have a lot of expendable prospects?
-- Andrew S., Jersey City, N.J.

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Not much. Dontrelle Willis and A.J. Burnett will probably only be traded if the Marlins or Blue Jays are overwhelmed by an offer. The Orioles would rather re-sign Erik Bedard than trade him. I would be very surprised if any of the three pitchers you mentioned are dealt, especially Lincecum. In short, the Tigers' most realistic options are probably to either re-sign Rogers or look at the free agent market.

Jason, in short, all my friends who are earnest Tiger fans feel, as I do, that Cameron Maybin is very short on arm strength as witnessed in the Yankee series when he came up to the Tigers. No person can teach that, so where is his future in the Majors considering his weak, inaccurate throwing ability? -- Michael S., Kalamazoo

All I'll say is don't judge an outfielder's arm strength in one series, especially his first series in the Majors playing left field after spending most of the season in the Minors in center field.

Are the Placido Polanco trade rumors to the Mets at all true? That would be a huge mistake and the Tigers are not the same without Polanco.
-- Joshua B., Toledo, Ohio

Nope, they're just New York rumors. The Tigers have no interest giving up Polanco, and they have no interest in Carlos Delgado.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.