A Case for Not Barry Zito

This is a thought exercise. The Giants are done for the offseason. They might sign Matt Cain to an extension, and we'll light some sparklers if that happens. But it's January 13th, and I'm saving my Chris Brown retrospective for a day when I'm really out of ideas.

But, man oh man, how I want the Giants to sign Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year contract.

The Giants don't need starting pitching, in case you've been vacationing at your winter cabin in 2006. They need a hitter. You'll get Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera and like it. The Giants didn't want to pay Aubrey Huff money to Carlos Beltran, so there's just about zero chance that they'll pay a premium for a one-year deal for another starting pitcher. This is just furious rosterbating for the sake of furious rosterbating.

But more than that, it's an admission that I'm not comfortable with the Giants' roster. You probably aren't either. Optimistic for whatever reason? Sure, go nuts. I'm not saying that in the dead of winter that you shouldn't predict Nate Schierholtz to build on his 112 OPS+, or for Brandon Belt to somehow get 500 at-bats and tear the roof off the sucker, or for Buster Posey to come back even better, like that kid from Rookie of the Year. That's just dandy. Winter is for dreaming, you beautiful creature.

If the Giants can get better, though, I'd like them to do it. They're hovering in that 81-to-91-wins zone right now. Every extra push would be swell. And when you look at the roster, there aren't a lot of easy fixes. There isn't a free agent better than Brandon Crawford; there aren't a lot of trade possibilities either. Any more outfielders will just mess with Brandon Belt's playing time/roster spot. The lineup is spoken for.

Upgrading on Barry Zito is the last chance us furious rosterbators have. For the record, I'm fine with Zito as a fifth starter. In an alternate universe, Zito signed with the Mets, was just released, and I'm thinking that the Giants should take a flyer on him. He's a fifth starter's fifth starter. Perfect amount of risk vs. reward vs. inning-munching vs. other internal options. But if you're looking for a way to make the team better.

Quick reminder of how sunk costs work: Getting a $10 million pitcher to replace a $20 million pitcher doesn't mean that the Giants are spending $30 million on a fifth starter. It just means that they're spending $10 million to make the team better. The rest of the money is already gone. You know this. I know you know this. But because there were rumors that some ownership-types got upset that the Giants cut Aaron Rowand because he made so much money, I just wanted to throw that out there again.

My thesis is this:

1. Kuroda is good

Year Age ERA G IP BB SO ERA+
2008 33 3.73 31 183.1 42 116 112
2009 34 3.76 21 117.1 24 87 106
2010 35 3.39 31 196.1 48 159 114
2011 36 3.07 32 202.0 49 161 121
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 1/13/2012.

2. Signing him would cheese the Dodgers off. Their fans, too.

3. He'd make the Giants more likely to make the playoffs in 2012.

4. It's not my money.


There it is. The same arguments apply to Roy Oswalt, with the exception of #2 up there. Which is almost the most important one. Plus, Oswalt's back is made out of dried seaweed and tennis balls. He'd go full Randy Johnson on us.

The Giants, as constructed, should be an interesting team. A flawed team that missed opportunities to improve, but an interesting team that should contend. They still have one chance to get better. They won't take it, but the important thing is that we rosterbated.

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