Now that he's won a World Series, is Brian Sabean's next order of business to trade his highest-paid player?
"We like Barry's contribution as far as the innings he pitches and the starts he makes," Sabean said before Game 5 of the World Series on Monday. "Part of Barry's problem is that we haven't been able to score for him."
In his final 12 games, he went 1-8 with a 6.14 ERA. The Giants started him in their next-to-last gaem of the regular season, when they would have clinched the National League West with a victory; he walked home two runs and lasted three innings.
Signing Barry Zito for $126 million was just incredibly foolish. Everybody (except the Giants) thought it was incredibly foolish at the time, and everybody (except the Giants) was right.
But everything the Giants have done with Zito since then has been exactly right.
With one or two very brief exceptions, the Giants have sent Zito the mound every five or six days and hoped for the best, which is exactly what they should have done because he's been (roughly) a league-average starting pitcher, and that's almost always been better than whatever other option might have been available to the Giants.
That will probably remain the case in 2011. Apparently there's some talk about turning Dan Runzler into a starter, but we're at the very beginning of that conversation; Runzler has been a reliever throughout his professional career.
In the mean time, it makes ultimate sense for Sabean to express his confidence in Zito. Anything else would only hurt his player's feelings and depress his player's already negligible (and perhaps non-existent) trade value. Forget about the money. Barry Zito's one of the best No. 5 starters you'll ever find.