|Look at those hands. $126 million hands.|
Nonetheless, it was shocking to hear last week that the Giants were near the end of their rope with Zeets. Early in the week, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that a "source" from within the "team" declared that the Giants were at the end of their rope with Zito following an abysmal spring training start, where he walked more guys than he got out, which was reminiscent of his final start of the regular season, where Zito ended up walking in runs during the first inning in a big-stage game against the Padres (at game which yours truly attended for better or worse). It was not shocking to hear that the Giants were tired of Zito, as he is the most over-paid player in the league given his talent level, but it was shocking to hear that the Giants actually were considering trading Zito or buying out his contract.
Zito is a league-average pitcher. Regardless of his salary and what he should be, Zito is, and always will be, a league-average pitcher. In terms of WHIP, Zito has been a slightly better than average pitcher in every season with Giants except for the horrendous 2008. Given the Giants' strength in pitching, with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Sanchez slated to be your 1 through 4, having a solid league average pitcher in your 5th hole, where Zito is slated to be this season, is pretty damn good. Most fifth starters in the league are below-average starters. That is why they are at the tail end of the rotation.
Additionally, the Giants, for all their pitching strength, lack depth in their system to replace starters. Who would you have replace Barry Zito if the Giants were to kick him to the curb? Jeff Suppan? Suppan was so bad last year he had a -0.7 WAR. He was so bad that he lost his job on the BREWERS. If you are so bad that you can't even stay on the Brewers, you have no place consistently starting on the San Francisco Giants.
Fortunately, sanity has prevailed and it seems like this "source" the Chronicle found was more likely than not some girl in the front office Zito boned and never called back. Bruce Bochey explained today that there is absolutely no merit to the rumor that Zito is going to be dumped.
Good. Because that would be almost as dumb as signing the guy for $126 million. The bottom line is this: Zito will be a Giant until his contract expires. If that bothers you then all I have to say is: