Last week I wrote about how Barry Zito trying to save his rotation spot with a start at Coors Field seemed like it was bound to fail and sure enough he failed to make it out of the fifth inning last night against the Rockies.
Zito allowed five runs in four innings, serving up a pair of homers, and dropped to a remarkable 0-8 with a 9.25 ERA on the road this season.
It seems like a distant memory now, but last year the Giants won Zito’s last 14 starts including the postseason. This year they’re 9-14 when he starts and Zito is 0-7 with a 7.78 ERA in 61 innings since June 1, allowing opponents to hit .355 with 14 homers and a .592 slugging percentage during that time.
The only question remaining is whether the Giants will let him continue to take the mound every fifth day for the final month, because there’s obviously no doubt that they’ll decline the $18 million option on his contract for next season and give him an $8 million buyout instead. For their $126 million investment in Zito the Giants have gotten a 51-66 record and 4.64 ERA in 933 innings.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.