Barry Zito didn’t pitch in 2014, taking a year off to, as Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com describes it, “travel, surf, and enjoy life away from baseball.”
And now he’s making a comeback.
Zito’s agent, Scott Boras, told reporters at the general managers meetings yesterday that the former Cy Young winner has been working out with his eye on returning in 2015 at age 36.
He called me on the phone in August and said, “I’m ready to go. I want to pitch.” He set up the plan and did all of that.
Here’s the problem, though: Zito wasn’t any good when he stepped away.
He went 5-11 with a 5.74 ERA and .318 opponents’ batting average in 133 innings for the Giants in 2013, losing his spot in the rotation. He was decent the year before, but combined during his final three seasons Zito had a 4.97 ERA in 371 innings. And really, he wasn’t much better than a back-of-the-rotation at any point during his seven-year (and $126 million) stay in San Francisco.