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Barry Zito and Bruce Bochy have closed-door meeting to discuss release rumor

Mar 2, 2011, 5:47 PM EDT

barry-zito-and-bruce-bochy AP

I wrote this morning about Bruce Jenkins’ column in the San Francisco Chronicle, which suggested that the Giants are considering releasing Barry Zito and eating the $65 million remaining on his contract.

The whole thing seemed far-fetched to me and the logic Jenkins employed appeared to be particularly lacking, with the goal seemingly being to stir up some controversy.

Zito apparently read the column too, as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the veteran left-hander had a closed-door meeting with manager Bruce Bochy to discuss what Jenkins had written, including several criticisms from unnamed sources.

Here’s what Zito told Baggarly (try not to be confused by the presence of two Bruces):

Bruce [Bochy] called me in, first thing. He just said, “This is the first we’ve heard of this.”

I thought Bruce [Jenkins] and I had a good relationship. At the end of the day, we don’t all wear the same uniform. The thing about being out of shape, I have no idea who his sources are. Nobody I’ve talked to–trainers, strength coaches, the coaching staff–they’ve never heard anything about that. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the nature of the business.

I suppose this means Jenkins accomplished his mission of stirring the pot around Zito, but I still don’t see why the Giants would possibly release a pitcher who has a 4.09 ERA during the past two seasons. He’s overpaid, but cutting him won’t change that and none of their other rotation options figure to be any better. Baggarly agrees, writing that “it’s hard to fathom the Giants really eating the rest of Zito’s salary.”

  1. bigharold - Mar 2, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    “Baggarly agrees, writing that “it’s hard to fathom the Giants really eating the rest of Zito’s salary.””

    You think??

    I can see that conversation going like this;

    “Look things aren’t working out, your a good guy and all so why not just take you 65 mil and ride off into the sunset. We made a mistake with you and we are going to correct it by getting absolutely nothing more from you and hiring somebody at least as or possibly more inept than you for yet even more money so that we finally have a 5th start that is getting paid what a 5th starter should get paid. Don’t bother coming back, .. well mail you your WS ring.”

  2. Ari Collins - Mar 2, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    “I suppose this means Jenkins accomplished his mission of becoming disliked by everyone in the Giants organization.”

    Fixed.

  3. uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Wouldn’t you have liked to be a fly on the wall during that meeting. I can just imagine Zito telling the Giants. Go ahead I dare, you buy out the remainder of my contract, I dare you.

    • phukyouk - Mar 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

      he probably said i double dog dare you.

  4. quintjs - Mar 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    It could always have been a planned leak from the FO, designed to motivate Zito if they feel he is out of shape or not putting enough work it.

    • tomemos - Mar 2, 2011 at 8:10 PM

      How would that work? “You’d better be careful, or we’ll pay you the rest of what we owe you and let you go sign a whole new contract!”

      • phukyouk - Mar 2, 2011 at 8:50 PM

        oh gd no! who the hell is going to resign him? think about it. hes not going to take a 700K pitching deal EVEN THOUGH he has $65 mil for doing nothing. there is too much pride there.

    • Ari Collins - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM

      If he were cut, he’d get more than $700K. Quite a few teams could use a back-of-the-rotation guy like that.

      • Ari Collins - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:25 PM

        Reply fail.

      • phukyouk - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:07 PM

        LOL! fine maybe i was little off.. but still i mean he goes from 20 mil a yr to 5 mil a yr? i guess an incentive laden contact would make sense. but im thinking that if they are going to cut him they may as well trade him and get what they can

      • Ari Collins - Mar 3, 2011 at 5:57 AM

        He doesn’t actually go from $20M to $5M, though. He goes from $20M to $25M. (I think that’s how it works, anyway.)

  5. mgflolox - Mar 2, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    I haven’t read a newspaper column since I don’t know how long, but as a former longtime Bay Area resident and reader of the SF Chronicle, I can confidently say that Bruce Jenkins has a proven track record over the years of being just about 100% full of shit.

  6. bigdicktater - Mar 2, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Let him eat up some innings during the regular season. He’s off the roster for the post-season if his numbers don’t justify it, just like last year.

  7. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    It seems oblivious just looking at Zito that he is clearly in the best shape of this life.

  8. marshallnbrown - Mar 3, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    I, for one hope Barry Z. makes the big club… his value to the club is more than W-L, ERA, WHIP, etc.

  9. bigjeter - Mar 5, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Hey, if the Giants will pay about 48 million of that 65 million, the Royals will gladly take him.

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