Barry Zito got off to a solid 2013 on Sunday as he threw three scoreless innings, striking out two and only allowing two hits. This will be another important season for Zito as it is finally the last season of his ridiculous seven-year, $126 million contract.
Zito was finally able to “settle down” in more ways than one by getting married prior to the 2012 season. This brought a noticeable change to Zito’s performance, and he was able to at least partially redeem himself of his past as he finished with a 15-8 record, dominated down the stretch, and helped lead his San Francisco Giants squad to their second World Series title in three years.
You can also say that Game 5 of the NLCS in St. Louis, the biggest game of the Giants season, was also the greatest game of Zito’s career, only to be followed up by a World Series game 1 win over Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers.
It is still hard to believe that Zito was the Giants’ Game 1 starter in the World Series. Who could have predicted that?
The question that will be surrounding Zito this year is whether or not the Giants will be willing to re-sign the soon to be 35-year old left-hander. One year ago, that subject would have been completely out of the question; today, it is a valid discussion to have.
Say what you want about Barry Zito’s lack of personal success over his Giants career, but you can’t deny the two World Championships, his staff mates throwing a perfect game and winning multiple Cy Youngs, his catcher winning MVP and Rookie of the Year, and the fact that he has been a part of one of the greatest pitching staffs in history.
Zito has always been a mentor to his teammates and a clubhouse favorite. So when he began winning big games for the first time in his Giants career, he garnered so much positive energy from the entire Giants community because it was such a great story of redemption. Depending on how well he pitches this season, that story of redemption should continue…for the right price.
One would imagine that Zito would take somewhat of a Bay Area discount to stay home and continue playing for the team that made him $126+ million and two World Series rings richer. If the price is right, Zito can still contribute as a No. 5 starter.
He rarely misses starts, he knows his role, and is a great clubhouse guy; and now that he is married, he appears to be a different man. It should be interesting to see what happens.
If the Price is Right, Barry.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.