Giants Won’t Release Barry Zito

September 16, 2011 – 3:26 pm by Ryan Phillips

I don’t know about you but to me it seems like it’s been about a decade since Barry Zito signed his ridiculous seven-year, $126 million contract with the San Francisco Giants. Turns out that after this season, Zito still has two years and $46 million remaining on that deal. And as of right now, the Giants have no plans to cut the virtually useless lefty loose.

Larry Baer will take over for Bill Neukom as the CEO of the Giants in January, and he has hinted that the team will likely keep Zito on the roster next season. That news comes despite the fact that manager Bruce Bochy said earlier this month that Zito was not guaranteed a roster spot even with his inflated salary.

This year Zito has made nine starts and pitched 49.2 innings. He is currently 3-4 with a 5.62 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He has also allowed nine home runs, and surrendered 20 walks while striking out just 28 batters.

In his five years in San Francisco Zito is 43-61 with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Yeah, for a guy who has made $80 million in that span, that’s just ridiculously awful.

I know that if the Giants just cut Zito outright they’d still owe him that $46 million, but he’s basically become a joke on the roster. They’re going to have to pay him either way and I guess they figure they should try and get something out of him, but it’s hard to argue that he’s the best option for that roster spot.

The Giants have a deep starting rotation, and next season Zito would – at best – be fighting for the No. 5 spot behind Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner in. Zito is scheduled to make $19 million in 2012, $20 million in 2013 and has a mercifully has $7 million buyout for 2014.

Honestly, it might be best for all parties involved if the Giants just released the 33-year-old and started the healing process over one of the worst contracts in baseball history.

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  1. 3 Responses to “Giants Won’t Release Barry Zito”

  2. I think Zito filling a slot for long relief in the bullpen next year would not be a bad thing. No way should he be considered for the fifth slot, but long relief would give him a chance to earn some of his salary and respect back, while keeping him out of a position where he hurts the team. He doesn’t seem opposed to it as he’s stated he just wants to pitch.

    By BernardL on Sep 17, 2011

  3. That might be the best possible scenario for Zito, but still, you’d have to believe the Giants could find someone better for that role. Zito isn’t a bad guy but his contract has just turned his career into an absolute joke. Kind of sad.

    By Ryan Phillips on Sep 17, 2011

  4. The going rumour is that Neukom was cut loose in part (at least) because he dropped Tejada and Rowand. Combined with some cryptic statements about how the plan for replacing Neukom is to make the team more about making money, it would seem that they have bought into the sunk cost fallacy. That they feel keeping Zito would somehow get them some kind of return on that money.

    If they dump him to the bullpen, they might get *better* value from him than he’s given so far, but there are going to be other factors. Namely, what about J. Sanchez? He has all but lost his own starting spot in the rotation. Frankly, his value as a long relief lefty arm is higher than Zito’s. Sanchez still walks too many batters, but he has more zip.

    It’s probably a trade-off between them, but the reality is that given the starting five they have now, keeping both Sanchez and Zito in the bullpen would be a massive waste of payroll.

    And trading isn’t going to help them much. The word has to be out on Sanchez and only the truly desperate teams would take Zito on. Then, of course, there’s Wilson in the pen… The window of opportunity for getting rid of them via trade is closing so fast it probably can’t be measured in known values. The only real trade value they have is one of the starting five and management has not suggested an willingness to consider that option.

    The Giants are a sinking team. Poor management on the field, poor contract management off of it. Even a return of a healthy Posey and F. Sanchez is no guarantee of improvement with this bunch and there are vocal cries for getting a proven leadoff hitter and shortstop. That’s going to be expensive, even if they just end up with Rollins.

    If they’re going to keep Zito for value, then the only place they’re going to get it is the bullpen. But that’s already so full that the team carried 13 pitchers on the active roster. For a team with such a miserable offense, this isn’t really good news.

    Cutting Zito is the move to make. The Giants look stupid either way, but at least with Zito gone, they can try and fill the roster spot with a better player at a better price.

    By Santa Claustrophobia on Sep 17, 2011

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