Barry Zito is trying to resurrect his career with the A’s and the 36-year-old former Cy Young winner told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that he regrets sitting out last season as part of what was supposed to be retirement:
I think hanging it up is going to be harder for guys than they realize, after being out of it for a year. You feel like you’re in control of the game, and then you’re not in it, and you want to be back in that game so bad.
We’ve got a long way to go in life once we get out of this thing. That’s not a factor for you when you’re in it. You say, “Ah, I’ve had enough.” But it’s a difficult decision.
All of which is sort of depressing within the context of Zito’s seemingly poor odds of actually cracking the Opening Day roster. In other words, a month from now he might be back in retirement except this time it won’t be by choice.
We have a reunion on our hands, folks. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics have signed left-hander Barry Zito to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman confirms the report and adds that Zito will receive a $1 million base salary if he makes the Athletics. He could earn an additional $175,000 through incentives.
This is a homecoming for Zito, who was was a first-round pick of the Athletics in 1999. He went 102-63 with a 3.55 ERA over seven seasons with the club, highlighted by an AL Cy Young Award in 2002 and three All-Star selections. Following the 2006 season, Zito signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Giants. Outside of a good showing in the 2012 postseason, he never lived up to the big contract, posting a 4.62 ERA over 197 starts and 11 relief appearances. The Giants cut ties with him after 2013 and he sat out all of last season, but he’s hoping to prove that he still has something left. He turns 37 in May.
Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Indians were one of a handful of teams that watched Barry Zito throw recently, but came away uninterested in signing him.
Zito, 36, didn’t pitch last season but is interested in continuing his major league career. The lefty would most likely have to settle for a minor league deal.
Pluto notes that the Indians did have interest in Matt Albers after watching him pitch. Albers, 32, threw only 10 innings for the Astros last season due to tendinitis in his right shoulder.