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Barry Zito is healthy, but Giants might not let him start again

Jul 29, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks Getty Images

Barry Zito is healthy and on track to take his next turn in the rotation Sunday, but the Giants may not let him make the start after coughing up six runs in seven innings his last time out.

San Francisco has “to be announced” listed as Sunday’s scheduled starter and manager Bruce Bochy explained that “we’re leaving it open for now” when asked about Zito’s status.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News notes that there are no other options to start on the current roster, as Jonathan Sanchez just threw six innings at Triple-A and the other starter candidates won’t be fully rested. He speculates that the Giants could call up 23-year-old prospect Eric Surkamp from Double-A, with Zito being moved to the bullpen for the final two months.

Under normal circumstances it might be natural to speculate about Zito being traded, but if the Giants could have traded him without eating a huge portion of the $46 million he’s owed between 2012 and 2013 they would have done so a long time ago. Zito has a 5.24 ERA in eight starts overall this year after going 1-8 with a 6.14 ERA during the final two months of last season.

  1. crysisorigins - Jul 29, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    I do wonder how much better the Giants would be had they not signed Zito in the first place. They’re outstanding as it is. But if they used that money to sign a bat…

  2. icanspeel - Jul 29, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    I am surprised they didn’t skip him after he gave up 8 runs in 3 2/3 innings to the Padres, if that wasn’t a sign I don’t know what is.

  3. APBA Guy - Jul 29, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I suspect he’ll get occasional starts, frightening as that thought is. The Giants play too many games between now and the end of the year to avoid it, and there will be the odd injury or sickness vacancy in the rotation.

    Zito’s signing would make an interesting case study. I always suspected that it was the former Managing General Partner’s final hurrah. McGowan’s primary goal was to fill the stadium, because it was largely financed with his money, so paying on the loans was paramount in his mind. And he felt the best way to do that was with marquee players like Barry Bonds. When Bonds came to the end of his career McGowan wanted another “name” with lots of local cachet. Who better than the Barry from across the Bay? Add Scott Boras to the mix and you get 7 years at outrageous money for a pitcher whose numbers had been declining steadily, even while pitching in a pitcher’s park with a superior defense behind him.

    Now his contract is unmovable, his fastball is non-existent, and frankly, the Giants would be better off having him at AAA next April while using his spot to audition replacements, like Vogelsong this year, who’s been amazing.

    The Giants are up 4 in the NL West. On this date last year they were down 3.5. So they know that spread can be overcome. With their offense, they don’t need to be running a 6.14 ERA pitcher out there, ever, with 2 months to go. Once in a while they’ll probably have to, like they did against the Phightin’s this week, but they won’t want to.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Unmovable? Ha! Call the Angels. They specialize in this sort of thing. As long as you don’t ask for Jeff Mathis you can work something out.

  5. 24may98 - Jul 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Your right, APBA Guy, but it wasn’t all “his money” – there is/was a group of partners, including Walter Shorenstein, but Shorenstein resigned from the investors group, because he objected to McGowan’s taking a salary to be the managing partner (given that Peter didn’t need a salary anymore than Walter So, it was always about Peter having his way. . . . He wanted Barry and now everyday they take a bite of the Zito sandwich.

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