Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster for all three rounds of the Giants’ championship run in 2010 despite throwing 199 innings with a 4.15 ERA during the regular season.
He has very similar numbers this season, throwing 172 innings with a 4.18 ERA, but manager Bruce Bochy said yesterday that he plans to include Zito on the postseason roster.
According to Bochy “the plan now” is to have all five starters on the roster, which means Zito will join Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and the suddenly struggling Ryan Vogelsong. Only three or maybe four of those guys will actually be needed to start playoff games, so presumably Zito will be around strictly as a long reliever or mop-up man.
He has six career relief appearances, four of them coming last season, but low-leverage bullpen work beats not even being on the roster for a guy with a $126 million contract.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.