San Francisco still owes Barry Zito $19 million next season, $20 million in 2013, and a $7 million buyout in 2014, but when asked yesterday about the left-hander’s future role with the Giants manager Bruce Bochy replied: “We’ll have to sit down and talk about it … I can’t answer that.”
Zito has been one of the biggest free agent busts in baseball history, at no point living up to his $126 million contract, but when healthy he’s at least been a decent back-of-the-rotation starter with a 4.52 ERA in 818 innings for the Giants.
However, this season he has a 5.62 ERA in nine starts and has spent much of the year on the disabled list. And the Giants’ impressive collection of young starting pitching means they may not really need a decent back-of-the-rotation starter in 2012 and beyond.
As it stands now the Giants figure to enter next season with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, and Ryan Vogelsong locked into the rotation, leaving Zito to potentially compete for the final spot with Eric Surkamp and Jonathan Sanchez. San Francisco has been in a contract-eating, veteran-releasing mood lately, cutting Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada, but so far Zito has avoided the ax.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.