Mar 1, 2010, 4:30 PM EDT
Many people have chalked up Barry Zito’s post-gajillion dollar contract struggles to complacency, comfort, wealth or poor character. If you believe what he told MLB.com recently, however, his competitive fire still burn:
Barry Zito used to be the main man on the Giants’ starting staff.
Despite four years remaining on his seven-year, $126 million contract,
he now may be in the No. 3 slot. And he doesn’t like the view.
“I wouldn’t say I’m fine with it, I’m not,” Zito told MLB.com
this past week in a candid and wide-ranging interview. “I’m competitive
by nature, and of course, I want to be the guy. It’s important. But the
way I pitched in 2008, it didn’t deem me worthy of being the No. 1
starter going into last season. But no, I’m not happy being a No. 3
starter . . . I want to be a top-of-the-rotation guy again. I want to be out there on Opening Day, getting the win. It’s important to me.”
Zito is not worth his contract and given that the guy will make $20M+ in 2013, he never will be. And with Tim Lincecum — and Matt Cain! — around he will never be the Giants’ number one guy.
But there’s every reason to think that he can be a useful part of the Giants rotation for the next several years. He’s durable, reliable and if last year is any indication, he’s showing that he can learn to pitch without his young man stuff. Indeed, he even flashed some genuine brilliance in a couple of starts against the Rockies late in the season. Plus, seeing he’s lefthanded, there’s every reason to think that Zito could chug along for many, many more years and wind up with well north of 200 wins.
That doesn’t make him an ace or anything, but the mere fact that Brian Sabean decided to grossly over pay him doesn’t render him a punchline.
- 2015 MLB Trade Deadline Tracker 6
- Report: Yoenis Cespedes heading to the New York Mets 18
- The Blue Jays pick up Ben Revere from the Phillies 48
- Cubs trade for Dan Haren 26
- Cardinals add more bullpen help, get Jonathan Broxton from Brewers 11
- Orioles trade for Brewers outfielder Gerardo Parra 19
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights 44
- Giants to acquire Mike Leake from Reds 33
- The MLBPA is considering withholding cooperation with ESPN, Fox over Colin Cowherd’s comments (157)
- The Cubs are in discussions with the Phillies on Cole Hamels (146)
- Major League Baseball rips Colin Cowherd in an official statement (123)
- Blue Jays acquire David Price from the Tigers (111)
- Rangers land ace left-hander Cole Hamels from Phillies (106)