By trading Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals yesterday the Giants opened up a rotation spot and manager Bruce Bochy said that Barry Zito is the man for the job.
During a radio interview with KNBR today Bochy revealed: “I’m not gonna hide from it. Barry Zito is our fifth starter next year.”
Zito started just nine games this year because of injuries and ineffectiveness, and there was speculation throughout the season that the Giants might finally decide to eat his salary and release the veteran left-hander.
However, while Zito was a massive free agent bust and incredibly overpaid he’s also more often than not been a decent back-of-the-rotation starter and there’s no reason to part with that when the Giants are paying him either way. Zito had a 4.03 ERA over 192 innings in 2009 and a 4.15 ERA over 199 innings in 2010, and just about every team in baseball would be thrilled to get that out of their fifth starter.
Athletics right-hander Jharel Cotton will undergo Tommy John surgery, per an announcement on Saturday. Cotton initially experienced some elbow soreness during a Cactus League start earlier this week and was officially diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor muscle on Thursday. He’ll be out of commission until 2019 at the earliest.
This isn’t the first time Cotton has dealt with elbow issues. According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, he had screws inserted in his right elbow after sustaining a stress fracture in 2013 and suffered some minor elbow discomfort again last fall. Prior to his diagnosis, the 26-year-old was poised for his third run with the A’s in 2018. He pitched his first full season with the club in 2017, turning in a 5.58 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 7.3 SO/9 in 24 starts and 129 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle adds that the team is open to adding pitching depth this spring, though they’ll wait to see if the price goes down on some free agents first. Barring that, right-handed long reliever Andrew Triggs could be tabbed to fill the fifth spot in the rotation.