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  1. I don’t get why the Giants want to get rid of Zito. It makes absolutely no sense. The cost sucks, but there isnt anything one can do about. But Zito has performed better than most fifth starters across the league and most teams would be lucky to have him. He never gets injured and is good for 30 starts/200 innings. Kevin Millwood always comes up as the prototypical “innings eater” but the Giants should view Zito as that. If one of those starters go down and they rid themselves of Barry they can quit trying to win a second straight title.

    Comment by David Wishinsky — March 4, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  2. Yes and as an A’s fan I’d be happy to take him back in exchange for Brandon McCarthy and $8M/year

    Comment by IvanGrushenko — March 4, 2011 @ 9:41 am

  3. David, it’s worth noting that at this point, only a San Francisco writer has indicated the desire to get rid of Zito. This could be a partially fabricated point on his part (I usually wouldn’t bring that up, but this sounds like an emotional rather than business oriented idea), or he could have talked to a couple people within the baseball operation department who are “exasperated.” Just because a couple mid-level people in the organization are exasperated doesn’t mean that the organization as a whole is.

    Comment by Brad Johnson — March 4, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  4. Not to mention, exasperated has a very broad definition in this case. They could just be annoyed by his aloof attitude, expecting more professionalism from their investment, or it could just be more inwardly directed like “what were we thinking?”

    Comment by Brad Johnson — March 4, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  5. Article = hyperbole

    Sounds like they’re just preparing the public for Zito to be a $20 million long man.

    Comment by JR — March 4, 2011 @ 9:48 am


    Comment by J J Hardy — March 4, 2011 @ 10:23 am

  7. And when you get right down to it, if they’re actually willing to eat his entire contract, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to offer him in trade with the agreement that they would pay everything but, say, the veteran’s minimum? Zito’s pitched well enough the last couple years that his performance would have real value to teams like the Yankees and Cardinals; if the Giants were basically paying his salary, enabling them to add a ~2-win pitcher for minimal cash, I would think they could expect a useful return in talent. (Of course, the Yanks being the Yanks, they might rather pay more in money and less in prospects; given the Cards’ situation, though, I have to think they’d be happy to pay in players to add a guy like Zito without having to stretch their budget — especially if they thought Duncan dould do something with him.)

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — March 4, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  8. My favorite argument put forth by the SF Gate writer in favor of cutting Zito is this:

    “…the fan base has completely given up on him…”

    What a wondeful reason for a team to pay a guy to pitch lilke an average 4/5th starter elsewhere. And this comes directly after citing his W-L record.

    Where’s the beef?

    Comment by Will — March 4, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  9. Reminds me of the time Ned Colletti gave Juan Pierre a big, long contract to do for the Dodgers what Juan Pierre had done previously, with Juan Pierre ending up doing for the Dodgers pretty much what Juan Pierre had done previously, with Ned Colletti ending up wanting to get rid of Juan Pierre well before his contract expired so that Juan Pierre would no longer do for the Dodgers what Juan Pierre had done previously, even though that was what Ned Colletti had acquired Juan Pierre to do in the first place.

    Comment by D4P — March 4, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  10. This story has already been discredited completely by everybody from Sabean to Bochy to Zito. We all know that he is an overpaid 5th starter, but probably the best 5th starter we can find. He isn’t getting cut anytime soon.

    Comment by wat — March 4, 2011 @ 10:58 am

  11. Brad, I agree completely with that assessment. It seems much more hyperbole than truth, and it doesn’t seem like criticizing his workout regime is a good method of “lighting a fire under his ass”. But at the same time, I think you have to wonder if it is a where there is smoke theres fire thing? They clearly are not enamored of his contract (who would be?), but I wonder if there’s more to it than that.

    Comment by David Wishinsky — March 4, 2011 @ 11:05 am

  12. Ivan – yeah I compared Zito and McCarthy, and “SF Giant Zito” vs. “Career McCarthy” Zito still comes out on top in virtually all catergories. And most importantly as a fellow A’s fan, the innings. McCarthy has about half the innings in his career (05-10) than Zito had just as a Giant (07-10).

    Comment by David Wishinsky — March 4, 2011 @ 11:06 am

  13. “Just four seasons into his seven-year $126 million deal, one San Francisco is reporting Zito might be on the verge of getting cut.”

    Even the nonsensical opinion piece you link to doesn’t go so far as to say the Giants are on the verge of cutting him.

    Comment by Sam — March 4, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  14. Really, who gets exasperated anymore? That’s so 1950s.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever been exasperated.

    Either get pissed off or stay calm. No one has time for exasperation.

    Has any dad ever said, “You guys are driving me to exasperation?”. No, they haven’t. Anyone that actually gets exasperated is worth ignoring.

    Cross the writer off your credible source list.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — March 4, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  15. I’m a little confused about why you would choose to write about an article that has already been completely discredited. Zito, barring injury, will be starting the 4th game of the season for the Giants.

    Comment by Matt — March 4, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  16. Based on his last start in 2010 and his first Spring Training outing….it’s very possible that there is nothing left in his tank. If he has a disasterous Spring, then I think you may have to look at the now – not what his averages are over the life of his career.

    If Suppan has anything left, it may be time to think about eating Zito’s contract (trading him for virtually nothing).

    Comment by jerry — March 4, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  17. I wish any let alone a back end starter for the twins had gotten 30+ starts every year for the last 4 years

    Comment by adohaj — March 4, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  18. McCarthy will surprise this year.

    My fortune telling crystal ball says so.

    Comment by bSpittle — March 4, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  19. A dull and outdated post. FanGraphs must be getting desperate for something to write about in March.

    Comment by GiantHusker — March 4, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  20. I think Jeff Suppan should be the #3 starter. Sanchez and the Bum are overrated. I have better control than either of those two. Also, lefties are almost twice as likely to get injured. I am the safe choice

    Comment by Jeff Suppan — March 4, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  21. Not only that, but since 2000 Suppan averaged 65 walks per season and it would be idiotic not to bat him #3 in the lineup instead of Sandoval.

    Sandoval also had that nasty divorce which ruined his season. Suppan can’t have those problems since he is a devout Catholic.

    Comment by Steroid Shuffle — March 4, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  22. No only is cutting him moronic, trading him is ridiculous stupid – unless by “trade” you mean “rip off another team that’s really really stupid”.

    Zito gets paid ca. $68M (including obvious buyout) for the next 3 years.
    On the open market, an average durable LH starter is probably worth
    $27M or so.

    So the “value” of zito’s contract is NEGATIVE $40M. If I can do this math – any other GM can do it too. You cannot trade away negative $40M. It is the opposite of what anyone wants.

    Lets say, I am the worlds’ greatest Zito fan and I don’t care at all about money (I am GM of the Yankees, say). What am I going to eat? $10M? So you only have to send $30M over with Zito? And in exchange I send you players with essentially zero value? (otherwise, you have to send more!)

    The only way the Giants can trade Zito is if he is literally the 7th or 8th starter on the depth chart, and the only way he’s going to see any batters faced is in Fresno. And then, you might be able to swap him and $30M for some fungible reliever.

    Oh, ther’s another way… they could trade him for some other player with a Zito class negative value contract (a la Wells). And they would still have to find a 5th starter.

    Comment by zenbitz — March 4, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

  23. The only substance in this sausage is cheap filler.

    Let’s call Zito a 2 WAR pitcher in 2011 ( 2.2 in ’09 and 2.1 in ’10). 5 mil per WAR means he’s ‘overpaid’ by around 8 million per season. So trade him and eat 8 million per season and find some guys like Jeff Suppan or a Ryan Vogelsong to scrap together some fragments of wins here and there. Wallah, the Giants net 6-7 mil/year and lose a Win or 2.

    Theory have some holes ? Shoot.

    Comment by Scout Finch — March 4, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  24. I’m no Zito fan, but at this point in their careers Zito’s “nothing” > Suppan’s “anything.”

    Comment by Jason — March 4, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

  25. The only hole is that the marginal value for a win for the Giants right now is greater becuase of where they are in the success cycle. Substitue a replacement level player for Zito last year and the Giants are not world champions.

    Comment by Jason — March 4, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  26. Putting marginal wins aside, and sloppy attempt at parody,

    does this have any merit in the real world, say to the Yankees?

    The point is, Zito isn’t going anywhere. He’ll have some nice games and he’ll have some “exasperating” ones.

    Comment by Scout Finch — March 4, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

  27. Brilliant.

    Comment by AJS — March 4, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  28. 1) the premise of Bruce Jenkins’ article is obviously bs.
    it was either fabricated by the source and/or Jenkins himself took some creative liberties (which i highly doubt), or someone the front office flat out lied when they said it was not leaked in order to motivate Zito.

    2) name 5 teams that have a better, more reliable 5th starter than Zito.

    3) interestingly, the link to the Jenkins article has not worked all day. Did the SF Chronicle decide to pull it? Or is it just being overloaded with hits due to the intense local media blowing the story up?

    Comment by cs3 — March 4, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

  29. While I agree that keeping Zito makes sense, I would hate to see what Zito’s salary impact on the team will be in 2012 and going forward when Lincicum, Cain, etal cash in on their WS performances. Then Zito’s salary will really matter. I believe that this is the year Zito makes it or he is gone. And by makes it, an effort worthy of those $$$$. I hope the Giants can keep those winning parts of the team together. It would be great if they became the “TEAM OF THE 2010 DECADE” given their pitching and Posey, Belt, Sandoval, etc.

    Comment by Seattle49er — March 4, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  30. Devout Catholics get divorced (marriage annulled) just as much as those of other faiths. If anything, Devout Catholics have a harder trek to stay the straight and narrow, given they believe in “Thou shalt not” instead of “Rejoice, good news”.

    Comment by Seattle49er — March 4, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

  31. Ray Sadecki, anyone?

    Comment by Giants Win the Pennant! — March 4, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  32. Interesting case, obviously. Zito tied for the most starts on the best pitching staff in baseball in 2010. He was left off the post-season roster despite having a 3.25 ERA in 7 career playoff games.

    From ’00-’06 he was 35th in the AL in xFIP (just behind Ramon Ortiz). Essentially a #3 starter on a decent team.

    Long live the free market!

    Comment by PJS — March 4, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

  33. I was immediately skeptical of this article given the source. If it was reported by one of the Giants beat writers like Hank Schulman for the Chronicle or Andrew Baggerly for the SJ Mercury News then I would give it some credence. But Bruce Jenkins isn’t even a reporter he’s a columnist, and anyone who reads him knows his baseball knowledge is suspect at best. On top of that, he described his source as being “close to the team”, which as I read it sounds like not even part of the organization and certainly not a decision maker.

    So to me it just screamed out as a purely invented story from the get go. Bochy and Sabean immediately knocked it down, in pretty strong terms too. Yet the national baseball media is still running with it. Really folks, there’s nothing to it. Move along. Nothing to see here.

    Comment by ElJimador — March 4, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  34. Maybe this flap stung Zeets a bit. He turned in a much more solid performance against the Dodgers tonight. I think part of what got everybody riled up a bit was Zito’s first outing looked like he mentally just didn’t show up. You expect more from someone coming off the humiliation of being left off the post-season roster.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — March 4, 2011 @ 10:55 pm

  35. Why would you “put marginal wins aside”, seeing as that’s the entire problem with your theory?

    Comment by Oscar — March 5, 2011 @ 6:55 am

  36. Day One of Spring Training:

    Zito (to himself, maybe while watching butterflies and puppy dogs play in a field): I’ll take it easy and phone it in.

    Day Two:

    Zito (now biting his fingernails): Shit, a random writer who has no credible source says that the team might let me go. Even though they’d have to still pay me roughly one hundred trillion dollars, and I could play for any other team I wish, I’ll buckle down and actually try in my next meaningless spring training start. Instead of working on my pitches, getting my timing down, and just easing into things like every other veteran player does in spring training, I’m gonna go out there and fucking go to town on everyone!

    Comment by MrKnowNothing — March 5, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  37. Then by this assessment a Marginal Win for the Giants is worth closer to 7 million than the standard of 5 in a vaccuum.

    Sound about right?

    Anyhow, his desert performance last nite puts him back on the road to redemption.

    Comment by Scout Fitch — March 5, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  38. something like that

    Comment by Scout Fitch — March 5, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  39. Zito has a FULL NO TRADE CLAUSE. He doesn’t want to leave the Bay Area, so he’s not going anywhere.

    The source of the story re the Giants is Bruce Jenkins. For those unfamiliar with his utter stupidity, I urge you to check out what Fire Joe Morgan has to say about him:

    Comment by Bigmouth — March 5, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  40. That might be pretty close to how it went down!

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — March 5, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  41. It wasn’t exactly a random writer. It was a big enough deal that Bochy felt constrained to have a one-on-one closed-door meeting with Zito about it and both Bochy and Sabean felt obliged to make public denials.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — March 5, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  42. …and since Fire Joe Morgan is absolutely right about every one of their opinions, they must be right about Jenkins too.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — March 5, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  43. I busted a gut on that one, told my wife and she didn’t agree with you in the slightest.

    Comment by Josh B. Mccolgan — March 6, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  44. Gah, how do you relieve a reply to specific comments?

    Comment by Josh B. Mccolgan — March 6, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  45. I’m from the Bay Area. Grew up reading the Chronicle. They captured Jenkins perfectly. Suck on it.

    Comment by Bigmouth — March 6, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  46. No, it wasn’t some random writer. It was the biggest dunce at the Chronicle by far.

    Comment by Bigmouth — March 6, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  47. How about a bad contract key party? Like the old swinger parties of the 70s. Everyone put their bad contracts into a fishbowl and which ever one you pull out is the one you are stuck with…….

    There is hope. How about Zito for Zambrano? If the Cubs get “exasperated” with Zambrano again they may look to move. The money is the about the same for 2011-2012 and then Zambrano’s contract ends. Would free up $20M in 2013 for the Giants.

    Giants fans can always hope…….

    Comment by Joe S. — March 6, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

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