More than a few times before the 2012 season, the San Francisco Giants front office had plenty of precedence to cut the cord on $126 million man Barry Zito. But GM Brian Sabean and Co. didn’t and it paid off — with two vital performances to the Giants’ second World Series title in three years.
If the front office were an inconsiderate bloodthirsty group, it could have canned him again today. Instead, Zito will be receiving a worthy goodbye from the franchise and will be a part of the final 40-man roster.
Monday, he continued his streak as the worst road pitcher in all of the Major League Baseball, allowing four earned runs in four innings while walking three in the Giants’ 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. He has the proper target for a September cut to make a spot for a prospect, but manager Bruce Bochy is sticking with the left-hander — backed by Sabean.
This is great news, because really, how do you say goodbye to a guy who pitched the games of his life — in succession — for your organization in postseason play? That would just be brutal, but it was never really an option considering the classy front office in San Francisco.
The decision to keep Zito will most likely cost the Giants games in September. But in all honestly, wins are meaningless at this points. He deserves a send off of high praise.
Giants fan will never forget his starts in Game 6 of the NLCS and Game 1 of the World Series in 2012. In Cincinnati for Game 6, he staved off elimination with a 7.2 IP gem, allowing just seven base runners and not a single run. Against the “unbeatable” Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers, Zito surprised the entire nation by out-dueling the eventual Cy Young-winner with six strong innings, allowing just one earned run. Zito even got and RBI single off Verlander in the fourth inning.
For many years, Zito’s contract seemed like the worst ever signed in San Francisco Giants history. For a couple weeks last October, it seemed worth every penny. While it might not seem worth it anymore, respect is being given where it’s due.