The Barry Zito era in San Francisco has ended.
The San Francisco Giants have officially parted ways with left-hander Barry Zito by not picking up his $18 million option, electing instead to pay him a $7 million buyout, according to a tweet from Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. This officially completes his seven-year, $126 million contract the Giants signed him to in 2007.
The 35-year-old posted a mediocre 63-80 record with a 4.62 ERA in 197 starts in San Francisco (208 appearances), but he probably will be best remembered for his spectacular Game 5 performance in the 2012 National League Championship Series. In that he game, he helped the Giants stave off elimination by pitching 7.2 scoreless innings, earning the win.
The Giants went on to win that game 5-0, fueling the Giants' series win after they were down 3-1. Zito later beat Justin Verlander in the World Series.
Although Barry Zito pitched horribly for most of his Giants career, it's hard to say the contract was not ultimately worth it. The Giants won their first two championships with Zito under contract with them, including his clutch pitching in the 2012 playoffs.
Although, the other side may say it was a bad investment that hindered the Giants from signing offensive talent during the dismal years of 2007-2009 (even though they won 88 games in 2009). The Giants may have won in spite of Zito, rather than because of Zito.
It is a tough call on how to assess Zito's worth in terms of his contract, but his positive attitude, good work ethic, and clutch postseason pitching, speaks for themselves.
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