Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News says it's time to cut $126-million man Barry Zito loose:
So there's a test coming up for new owner Bill Neukom and General Manager Brian Sabean. A big one. And it could come in a matter of days (Zito is slated to start Saturday in Pittsburgh) or, at the most, a few weeks.
They have to seriously consider pulling Zito from the rotation when and if Randy Johnson is ready to go, presuming Jonathan Sanchez and Ryan Sadowski hold up. And the Giants have to very seriously consider trying to trade Zito to any suitable team that will take some of his money (Zito has a no-trade clause); or they have to think about releasing him in the off-season.
With Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter still fresh in our minds, Zito is an easy target. He was pounded in his last start before the break, allowing a season-high nine runs over 4 1/3 innings against the Padres. We all know the contract is awful, arguably one of the worst ever, but so far in 2009, Zito has compiled his best FIP as a member of the Giants at 4.59. He's allowed three runs or less in 10 of 18 starts this season. The beneficiary of lowered expectations, he's on pace for his best FIP since 2005 as a member of the Athletics.
With the emergence of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, and assuming that Randy Johnson can get healthy, Zito doesn't need to be anything more than a fourth or fifth starter for this team. They would benefit more by dealing Sanchez (at his highest value) for a bat. Finding a taker for Zito will be near impossible, unless, of course, they would be willing to take on another albatross like Vernon Wells. Even that is doubtful.