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  1. Things do look more promising for Zito down the road. He probably won’t ever be the ace they’re paying for, but his 4.30 FIP came with a BABIP actually above his career average (though probably right around where it should be). All of his components are improved, though his walk rate is still hurting him.

    It will be interesting to see whether he can improve to the point where they at least break even on these latter years of his contract.

    Comment by Christian Seehausen — October 26, 2009 @ 8:46 am

  2. He needs to be at least a 6WAR/yr going forward to make his contract of value. Either that the cost of a win needs to increase dramatically.

    Comment by Steve C — October 26, 2009 @ 9:06 am

  3. To break even on just the latter years of his contract, he only needs to be worth ~4WAR or so. Unlikely, but then again his contract is a sunk cost so whatever positive contribution he gives us is good.

    Quick point of note to R.J. – Zito’s $126M figure takes the $7M buyout into account. If you add up how much he’s being paid over the 7 years it’s actually only $119M, so with the buyout it’s $126M with a max value of $137M if they pick up the option (which I think it’s safe to assume they will not). There are some incentive clauses but again, unlikely he reaches any of them and they’re small amounts compared to his contract.

    Comment by B — October 26, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  4. Yeah, we aren’t talking about breaking even for the entire contract here, just actually becoming worth what he’s paid on a year to year basis.

    Comment by Christian Seehausen — October 26, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  5. Looks like only 83 million left on that contract (counting the buyout) to me unless I am missing something. Would you rather have that or the 90 million owed to Soriano (and his -3.6 mil earned this year) over the next 5 years?

    Comment by walkoffblast — October 26, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  6. I’ve always wondered what Zito’s WAR would look like if one does assume that his BABIP regreeses to the .300 mean that everyone is suppose to regress to. Because he has beaten it soundly in 5 of his 9 full seasons and has been above it only 1 season.

    What most people forget is that DIPS don’t apply to all pitchers, as Tom Tippett showed long ago, and according to Tom Tango, a pitcher’s BABIP is statistically significantly after 6-7 seasons, which Zito is comfortable over now, and his career BABIP is .275 (though above that for his time with the Giants, but still below .300). Therefore Zito is not governed by DIPS. Thus, FIP, which assumes a pitcher conforms to DIPS conventions, is not accurate for pitchers like Zito who are able to keep their BABIP below .300.

    As THT noted, http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/using-fip-to-evaluate-pitchers-i-wouldnt/

    Comment by obsessivegiantscompulsive — October 26, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

  7. Well, if you assumed his career ERA is where his career FIP should be, and he pitched ~190 innings, you’re basically looking at the productivity of 2006 Matt Cain (using Cain’s FIP). So up to 3.5 WAR or so. So I’m thinking maybe add .5-1 WAR a year onto his actual production.

    Of course, with Zito, there are other factors that affect BABIP. Foul balls (Oakland was very friendly with that – look at his IFFB%, I think that might suggest he benefitted from Oakland’s foul territory quite a bit). Defense – how good has the collective defense behind Zito been over his career?

    Comment by B — October 26, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  8. “In December 2006, Brian Sabean and the Giants outbid Bill Bavasi and the Mariners”. This is also known as a Scott Boras wet dream.

    Comment by Andy — December 13, 2009 @ 7:07 am

  9. Though I am no Zito fan, it is worth noting that his performance in 2009 was actually made worse by the ineptness of Bochy’s management. There were numerous instances of Z pitching effectively for 4~6 innings and then being left in the game to get shelled, usually during the third time through an opposing lineup. With a better manager–personally, I suggest Decker from SF’s AA club–Z might have been pulled before giving away so many games; he might have had a better ERA & WHIP, and even a winning record, if he had had a winning manager; Bochy is utterly terrible, and that detrimental influence (not to mention Righetti’s as well) is not apparent in Z’s stats.

    Comment by Mark — December 14, 2009 @ 3:07 am

  10. Just wondering: still feel like that contract was a fair deal? Anyone?

    Leaving him off the postseason roster was the key to the Giants’ World Series title. If he starts even a couple games in the playoffs, they maybe don’t advance to WS.

    Comment by Paul — November 3, 2010 @ 12:10 am

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