There was a time when every successful free agent didn’t get a contract worth a gazillion dollars over a decade of seasons. That time might return to teams like the San Francisco Giants after they see what has happened to Barry Zito. This is the final year of Zito’s huge contract and he is owed $20 million cool for a very disappointing year. There is no escaping the trap of a deal worth too much money for too many seasons. The Giants will not want to bring Zito back in 2014. They would be nuts to do so.
I don’t mean to suggest that Zito has nothing left because frankly I’m sure he does. I just don’t believe he will be worth what his asking price will be and the Giants will not want to deal with all of that considering who they have waiting in the wings. Left-handers Mike Kickham and Eric Surkamp along with righty Heath Hembree are three reasons that the Giants will not need the services of the aging Zito next season.
Maybe now the Giants will become one of the first teams that don’t give a starting pitcher more than five years of guaranteed money. Seven years for a starter or reliever is way too long. Position players that are not near the age of 30 might be a different story but even then the final years should all be incentive based. I’m all for a stellar ace caliber starting pitcher making twenty million bucks but not when he performs the way Zito did this year. It should be purely incentive based, or close to it, for any year past five. Zito is living proof of what happens when you give them too long. Now the Giants can’t even trade him off of waivers and will be glad to see him go.