Barry Zito

Complaining is futile – we are stuck with Barry Zito

People who complain about Bay Bridge tolls have a point: for people who have to drive across the thing every weekday and even sometimes on weekends, it’s incredibly expensive — especially since the original plan was to cease charging tolls once the original bonds were repaid.

Except it’s all pointless, because we’re never going backward on this issue. There will always be tolls to drive across the Bay Bridge, and the price will never drop. The best thing to do is get FasTrak, stop kvetching and drive across. Or take BART or the ferry, two options that have their own disadvantages.

It’s similarly wasteful of time and energy to complain about Barry Zito. Sure, we have to watch him 15-30 times per year and he’s incredibly expensive. However, he also has a rubber arm. So, unless he tweaks his foot we’re all stuck with him.

Hey, maybe we should start calling Zito’s best pitch his “S-Curve”!

/Shows self out

Zito may not be going away voluntarily or due to injury, but the kind of frustration Bruce Jenkins referenced almost 13 months ago is here now. People are tired of hoping this year’s mechanical tweak will finally lead to success, and the beat writers seem like they all are suffering from varying degrees of Zito Fatigue.

Stage one: cringing.

Stage two: joking.

Stage three: snarking.

 

The fans (well, most of them anyway) have had enough. Even national guys are piling on, as Jon Heyman used Sunday’s 2.1 inning masterpiece to write a post labeling Zito’s contract with the Giants as the worst free agent deal of all time.

The sick part is the Giants need Zito more now than ever. Matt Cain is nowhere close to agreeing with the Giants on a long-term deal, according to Heyman (there he is again). A back injury kept Ryan Vogelsong out of action for a couple weeks (although he’s throwing 92 mph today, according to the beat guys). The Giants released Ramon Ortiz. Eric Surkamp had an MRI on his elbow on Monday and won’t throw for at least a week. Kyle Crick’s only 19.

Zito’s going to get his chances. How many? Tough to say, but the Giants have to figure out a backup plan for if/when Zito starts out with several consecutive starts like yesterday’s 2.1 inning, 11 baserunner disaster. It’s just spring, but Zito’s been unwatchable for quite some time. This Spring, he’s given up 5 home runs and walked 9 over 16.1 innings. In the last 19.2 innings he pitched in 2011 (after his 3-game mini-renaissance), Zito allowed 7 homers and 12 walks.

When a pitcher’s HR+BB = innings, or comes close, that isn’t good. Sabermetrics.

Backup plans are hard to come by, however. The Giants’ middle infield is already a cause for concern, seeing as Freddy Sanchez’s career is in jeopardy. While the offense as a whole might be a little faster this season, there’s still no guarantee the Giants will average 4 runs scored per game. That’s why it’s almost impossible to stretch one’s mind around the fact that starting pitching depth may be the team’s biggest weakness entering this season. Yet, that’s where the Giants stand, and trading for reinforcements would seem nearly impossible at this point.

So, even though it seems inevitable that the list of people calling for the Giants to give Zito the Aaron Rowand treatment will keep growing, they’re going to have to take their lumps with him for the foreseeable future. Tim Lincecum, Cain (who looks like he’s on his way to a dominant contract year) and Madison Bumgarner will be asked to carry this team. 7+ innings every time guys, we need those Mota/Hensley innings for Zito’s next start. Those starts won’t be skipped, but the goal will be to make each Zito appearance as quick and painless as possible. Like getting across the Bay Bridge.

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