Barry Zito: History's Greatest Monster

My, this was an unfortunate metaphor image to show up in my photo feed this morning. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
A source close to the team indicated Tuesday that there is "exasperation" with Zito, that his status as the No. 5 starter is "definitely not safe," and that the team would even consider buying out his expensive contract before Opening Day if that's what it takes to say farewell.

From an article by Bruce Jenkins. Of course the Giants are considering buying out Barry Zito’s contract. Maybe they can flip him to the Heat for an expiring contract and a trade exemption, with a second-round pick coming back. Then the Heat could buy out Zito’s contract. That makes a ton of sense.

Or maybe the Giants have discussed something with Zito.

MLBPA: No.

Giants: What? What? We’re just talkin’ here. We’re just talkin’.

MLBPA: No.

Giants: Hey, hey, hey. Just spitballin’ here. What if we was to pay Zito, like, half of his contract to, uh, just walk away?

MLBPA: No.

Giants: Wait, wait, wait, hear us out. What if we was to give Zito everything, right, except for $10M?

MLBPA: No.

Zito: In a way, I need a change
From this burnout scene
Another time, another town
Another everything
But it's always back to you

MLBPA: No.

Jenkins intimates that Zito’s spot could be taken by Jeff Suppan or Clayton Tanner. Oh. Let’s look at Tanner compared to Zito first:

Walks per nine innings:

Tanner: 3.9 (in AA)
Zito: 3.8 (in MLB)

Almost identical. And, really, pitching in the Eastern League is exactly the same as pitching in the majors, so obviously it makes sense to pay Zito to pitch for another team. But don’t forget about the important stats:

Walks per nine innings in the last two games Barry Zito pitched, including spring training:

Tanner: 0.0
Zito: 17.4

Oh. I see. A sample of one regular season game and spring game. Well, I don’t think the Giants have a choice. If the Giants are worried about missing the playoffs by a single game, they have to replace Barry Zito with a pitcher who pitched like Barry Zito without a strikeout pitch in the Eastern League, and they should eat $60M+ to do so. Got it.

Now Suppan pitched so poorly, the team that gave up him last year actually did eat several million dollars to make him go away. It was the last year of his contract, and the Brewers told him to take the rest of his $12.5M and walk away. The last time he had a year as good as Zito’s 2010 was four seasons ago. He is not a good reason to pay another team scores of millions of dollars to absorb Zito’s contract in a trade.

Suppan: I’m finished pitching, skip!

Bochy: Well, that’s swell, Suppy, and we’re...wait, what’s that?

Suppan: What?

Bochy: That slowly rotating orb, hovering about a foot away from me at thigh level?

Suppan: Oh, that. That’s just a fastball I threw a couple innings ago.

Bochy: My god, it’s just sitting there.It’s beautiful. I want to hit the absolute hell out of it.

Suppan: Wait, I wanted to talk about my role on the team!

Bochy grabs a bat

Bochy
: Damn thing’s better than a Bob Kipper pitch.

Bochy hits a long, long home run and starts to circle the bases.

Suppan: Hey! That doesn’t count, blue! That doesn’t count!

Three tips:

a. Zito is an average pitcher.

b. After Zito and the rest of the pitchers already in the rotation, there aren’t any more average pitchers in the organization.

c. Please refer to a.

I hope that the source that Jenkins named was either drunk or an usher. Preferably both. Championship teams trying to defend a title don’t really need to waste their time looking for problems that might not exist.

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