Players stealing money
Zito's career got off to a great start for the Oakland A's. The only problem was his career peaked in 2002 when he won the CY Young with a 23-5 record. From there he was mediocre for several seasons, winning no more than 14 games over a 3-year span. While record doesn't always tell the story to measure the success or failure of a pitcher; with the exception of 2002 (2.75), Zito's ERA never displayed anything but mediocrity.
In 2006, Zito finished his career with the A's by going 16-10. If you look closely at his numbers, only his wins would indicate that he had a good season. His 3.83 ERA was nothing to write home about. His 211 hits in 221 innings was decent, not great. His K per 9 was only 6.
We talk about contracts in sports and how some are more ridiculous than others. I'm not the first to talk about this issue and won't be the last. However, with his career in Oakland, how does any franchise even consider paying anyone with his numbers 126 million for 7 years? The San Francisco Giants are still on the books to pay him 19 million this year and 20 million next year, and then they have a club option in 2014 with a chance to buy him out.
Somehow, even with Zito on the payroll with his insane contract, the Giants managed to win a World Series 2 years ago. The best part was Zito didn't even pitch in the postseason after going 9-14 in the regular season.
There's a laundry list of players in the league with bad contracts. It amazes me how organizations still overpay for certain players with little track record or success. You would think Zito's contract would be the blueprint for every franchise to really ask themselves if the player they are about to break the bank for is worth it.
It's hard to feel sorry for a guy making what Zito does, but when you watch him out there throwing junk--it is sad. The most puzzling thing to me is how does a guy at the age of just 34 lose his velocity the way he has? His fastball tops out at 85. I know he was never a flame thrower, but even Jaime Moyer was hitting 85 at the age of 45.
The most bizarre stat is his ERA went up in the National League. Most pitchers who crossover from the AL to NL have much greater success, based on facing a pitcher instead of a DH. Zito is an incredible 17 games under .500 since joining the Giants. His career really is one that makes you scratch your head. What happened to Barry Zito?