Zito, who signed a seven-year, $126 million deal in 2006, is owed $20 million this season and will be a free agent at the end of the year.
His career with the Giants has been filled with ups and downs, to say the least. He compiled a 43-61 record and a an ERA above 4.00 during his first five seasons with the club, drawing ire for failing to live up to his contract.
However, Zito had a magnificent 2012 season, going 15-8 and winning two crucial postseason games. In Game 1 of the World Series, he out-dueled Justin Verlander and set the tone for the Giants’ sweep over the Tigers.
This season has been more like his first five years with the Giants. Zito is 4-8 with a 5.40 ERA and is an atrocious 0-7 with a 9.97 ERA in his road starts (yes, those numbers are accurate). He was recently pulled from the rotation by Bruce Bochy, and has been relegated to the bullpen.
“Sometimes it’s just time for a change,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “You get in a rut. How long this is going to be, I can’t tell you. But it was time to mix it up, change it up. It was time to change what has happened on the road here with Z.”
With his contract expiring at the end of the year (assuming that he won’t pitch 200 innings), we may have seen the last time that Zito starts a game in a Giants uniform.
And, if the Giants can somehow find a trade partner, we may have seen the last of Barry Zito, period.