Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle reported today San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito is allegedly “walking a fine line with the organization” and the team is considering buying out the last three years of his 7 year, $126 million contract and cut him loose all together.
Well according to Jenkins, the team is serious.
Jenkins uses phrases like ’a healthy sense of urgency" and ’the fan base has completely given up on him" to drive his point home, while using players like Jeff Suppan or AAA lefty Clayton Tanner as possible replacements for the 5th spot on the roster.
Personally, I’m not buying it Bruce.
Aaron Gleeman on NBC Sports Hardball Talk made some very compelling counter-arguments in his piece today, including the fact that Suppan hasn’t had an ERA under Zito’s 2010 mark (4.15) since 2006. Yes, he is grossly overpaid but he still is a decent 5th starter, and in actuality, he’s probably one of the better 5th starters in the league. How many 5th starters right now have a Cy Young Award? Not too many (if any at all).
The $65 million Zito is still owed over the next few years is a whole lot, but unless something better than Jeff Suppan comes around Zito should probably stay. As a Giants fan, I haven’t given up on Zito, in fact I still have faith in Zito. Well, I have enough faith in him that he won’t single-handedly lose us games and can give the G-Men around six good innings every 5th day. He’s not the Zito he once was, everyone knows this. But he can be the Zito who’s better then the Jeff Suppans and Todd Wellemeyers of the world, which is alright with me.
I’m all for cutting costs and trying to make the team better, but I don’t feel dumping Zito right now would be anything but a panic move because he walked some people in spring training. Everything around Zito is so magnified because of his egregious contract (which was the Giants’ fault for signing, not Zito’s). In a perfect world I’d like to see that contract restructured to save the team money, and take some pressure off Zito, but would you give up millions of dollars that is basically guaranteed? Didn’t think so.
Fault the team for the terrible contract, not the player who has been haunted by his unprecedented success of a couple of seasons in Oakland.