San Francisco Giants veteran lefty Barry Zito has never pitched for a Major League team outside of the Bay Area, and Zito would like to keep it that way. According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle , Zito wants to retire with the Giants and “also would be open to an extension”.
Zito, 34, has pitched for the Giants organization since 2007 and has pitched for either the Giants or the Oakland Athletics for his entire MLB career that started with 92.2 innings and a 2.72 ERA in 2000.
Last season, the southpaw won 15 games in 184.1 innings and finished with a 4.15 ERA. He did a solid job of getting groundballs, but he only struck out 5.57 batters per nine innings. Zito isn’t known for his ability to punchout batters, but that total was well below his career average. However, it was better than his 2011 total, and Zito bounced back in 2012 from his abhorrent 2011 numbers that came in an injury-plagued year that Zito quickly forgot.
Although he was worth only 0.8 WAR last season, Barry Zito has value to the Giants as a back-of-the-rotation guy and is able to eat plenty of innings. Zito still has value to the reigning World Series champions, and he came up big in Game 1 of the World Series in a tough situation by holding down the Detroit Tigers in the start.
Zito has a vesting option for the 2014 season if he is able to get to 200 innings (that is unlikely), and the only way he can keep pitching in San Francisco is if he decides to take a cheap deal to stick around with the Giants. I have a feeling he will, and that will work out well for both teams. While Zito’s numbers will continue to be subpar, he does have value as a back-end starter and that ability to eat through innings as a veteran still has value in the Majors. It would also be nice to see him pitch a little more in the Bay Area before retiring with the Giants, because that would be fitting. It is a little bit funny how he is requesting an extension, but you have to think about the word “extension” as synonymous with “sticking around”. I have a feeling he is implying that he is open to a “team-friendly” deal, especially after the contract he received. But let’s give the guy a break, a career 3.93 ERA can’t be that bad.