This shouldn't be surprising. Really, considering the options, this is the only sensible move the Giants could possibly make. Your mom would make this decision, and your mom thinks Barry Zito is a very nice young man. According to Andrew Baggarly, the Giants are listing Sunday's starter as "to be announced." That should be Zito's turn in the rotation.
There was a long meeting between Bruce Bochy and Zito after Tuesday's game, which hinted that something like this was coming, and while nothing is official yet ... it's unofficially official. If it's not this weekend, it will be shortly after. Because here are the options:
1. Move Ryan Vogelsong to the bullpen when he's ready (nope)
2. Remove Chad Gaudin from the rotation (nope)
3. Six-man rotation (nope)
Those are the options that keep Zito in the rotation. Pick one that isn't offensive. And Zito is very, very unlikely to hit the 200-inning mark to vest his 2014 option -- he would have to average over seven innings per start for the rest of the season, or what Justin Verlander averaged in his 251-inning MVP season -- there aren't going to be any union-related grievances to worry about, even if those were unlikely to begin with.
No, the best option is to remove the starting pitcher who is pitching poorly. Like, worse than everyone else. A lot worse. Remove him and turn him into Joe Roa, wasting away at the back of the bullpen, waiting for the game to get out of hand.
The thing that gets me about Zito is that if you told anyone in 2006 that Zito would be consistent and healthy for almost the entire seven-year contract, it would have seemed like the greatest deal in the world. The problem with long-term deals to pitchers is that they get hurt, or that their effectiveness slips. Not with Zito. He established a performance level as a Giant right away, and he never deviated from it over seven seasons. That's hard to do. That's really hard to do.
He's a bonafide goshdanged Giants hero, you know. If you have an extra moment and you're not already tired of me today, please re-read this. I'll always have a weird, genuine respect for Zito for being the right man at the right time. Heck, don't forget that if he was the pitcher we were expecting after the big deal, the Giants wouldn't have Buster Posey. Zito is like the Ben Linus of the Giants. Looks like he's working against us, but he just might be working for us.
That written, I'm pretty giddy at the idea of never watching another Zito start. Seven years is a long, long, long time. That's a lot of ehhhh, okay, whatever, sure. It was a wild ride, and somehow we all got to stop and watch some parades. But it looks like Barry Zito is an ex-starting pitcher, at least for this season.