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Community Projection: Barry Zito

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This used to be the wildest projection of them all.

What Zito should we expect in 20(08/09/10)? CY YOUNG Zito? Or that mediocre guy who tends to leave a really, really nice tip?

Fights would break out in the comments section. Marriages would dissolve. It was always bedlam. Well, it would have been if people really cared. And people have been resigned to the innings-eating Zito for a couple of years, but acknowledging that would ruin the narrative. Zito is pretty clearly the most boring projection of them all now.

Zito walked into the party with his patented mixture of cool and aloof. He looked around for a few seconds, sauntered over to the CDs, and started rifling through them.

"Cool. Ani DiFranco. I dig her playing, man."

I was about to respond, but he went straight for the snacks. He picked up a paper plate, scooped some hummus on, and put a huge pile of innings on his plate. He sat in a corner and wordlessly ate every single inning, never once looking up at the rest of the room. When he finished, he filled his plate again. What focus! What resolve!

It was then that I noticed what was going on around the room. Other people were eating innings, too. Some were doing handstands while they ate them. One guy was hopping on one leg, reciting Dostoevsky passages from memory while eating his innings. Zito didn't bother with that. He just sat in the corner, doing his thing.

At least he wasn't that Wellemeyer guy who I invited just because he lived down the hall, and I didn't want him to call the cops. He was standing on the sofa with his shoes on, stuffing innings up his nose.

I have hundreds of pages of this stuff, and you'd get to read it all if that Yalie from Harper Collins would ever return a phone call.

At some point, Zito turned into the most unremarkable of inning eaters. If Baseball Reference did team-specific comps, Zito would bring back Mark Gardner, Mark Leiter, and, of course, Kirk Rueter. They all loitered around the back end of a rotation, doing well enough to stay and poorly enough to prevent any sort of legitimate excitement. It's not a bad thing to keep around.

If the Yankees would really eat up to half of Zito's contract, of course, that's $30M you can put under the mattress to buy out a year or two of Tim Lincecum's free agent years, or $30M to go towards extending Matt Cain, or...there's a lot this team could do with an extra $30M, and it doesn't have to be something that helps this year.

But Zito helps this team now, there really isn't a backup plan, and the team as currently constructed is the best Giants team to head into spring training since 2004. I can see both arguments, and like a true weenie, I refuse to commit to either one.Trading Zito is a mutual fund, fiscally sound and prudent for the future. Keeping him is pushing the chips to green "00" and taking a belt of scotch. Cheap scotch. You can't afford anything more because you kept Zito. Dude's expensive.

For all of the hullabaloo about Zito not making the postseason roster, the Giants had four other pitchers who were really good. That's the reason he was left off. It's not like it came down to Zito and Ryan Sadowski, and the Giants said, well, sorry Zeets, but we're playing a hunch here. Missing the roster said more about the Giants' rotation than it did Barry Zito. He'll be the same ol' boring-yet-sorta-valuable innings eater he's been for the last couple of seasons:

Barry Zito

IP: 201
ERA: 4.31
K: 159
BB: 91
HR: 19