So as you've all surely heard by now, Barry Zito - the durable front-of-the-rotation starter with ~5.8 years and $114m left on his contract - has been bumped to middle relief. By the Giants. The move, while surprising, is long overdue, as Zito's been nothing short of an absolute disaster of Chernobylian(?) proportions. Over 39 starts with San Francisco, he's put up a 91 ERA+, a 5.16 xFIP, and a 10% walk rate. And while 2007 was bad, 2008 has been a total catastrophe, as for six starts Zito was far and away the worst pitcher in the Major Leagues.
Don't believe me? Observe:
The entire package is an unthinkable nightmare, but perhaps the greatest horror is that 8% swinging strike rate. Thanks to his little league fastball, Zito's missing as many bats as Carlos Silva, yet he's walking more guys than Daniel Cabrera and giving up more flyballs than Jarrod Washburn.
Barry Zito has zero strengths. Zero. The only differences between Zito and Steve Trachsel are the famous curveball that hasn't been a weapon in years and the fact that, while Trachsel will walk and likely retire in the fall, Zito's still guaranteed another nine figures. Barry Zito's contract is the worst contract ever signed in baseball history, and as much as you might want to tell me I'm wrong, you won't be able to prove it, because I'm right. No contract has ever gone so sour so fast. And there isn't any indication that things are about to get better.
I knew from the get-go that Zito was a bad idea, but never at any point did I think he'd fall apart this quickly. That's come as a surprise. But the fact of the matter is that smart front offices knew what they were doing and stayed the hell away. They saw the red flags, understood the market, and looked elsewhere without even placing a call to Zito's agent.
Bill Bavasi offered him six years and ninety-nine million dollars.
There but for the grace of Sabean go I, and you, and the Mariners, and all of our collective hopes and dreams. This team tried its damndest to kill itself in the face, but thanks to the existence of another, more stubborn holdout from the daunting realm of intelligent thinking, we were spared. We were spared. Mr. Sabean, I am forever indebted to your misguided courage. Regardless of your intentions at the time, you fell on a nuclear grenade, and for this gesture I cannot thank you enough. May this thread be construed as a token of my appreciation.
And damn you Bill for ever thinking this was a good idea for the Mariners. Damn everyone who thought this was a good idea for the Mariners. All of you are stupid. There, I said it. Maybe you've gotten smarter over the past year and a half, but if you wanted the Mariners to sign Barry Zito as a free agent, you were stupid. Stop being stupid. Brian Sabean can only prevent so many bad decisions.