Barry Zito Changes Delivery in Attempt to Revive Career: Fan’s Take

OK, Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants probably is not trying to actively revive his career. The guy probably wants to shoot for a decent season though. He has changed his delivery multiple times over the years with no results but is giving it a shot again. To be honest, it probably will not make a difference by any noticeable means. However, Zito could put together his best season in years with some luck. Who knows what will happen? I for one would not mind seeing him give at least one decent performance before his contract runs its course in 2013.

In the past, I have criticized Zito for his oversized contract and underwhelming performances from season to season like a lot of people. I did accept that he would never live up to his salary though. A lot of pitchers (and position players) do not "earn" their salaries performance-wise. Obviously, they get paid what a team is willing to pay, so it is mostly the team's fault when a player does not live up to expectations. It really does not make sense sometimes that he has not been at least decent over the years.

Aside from last season, Zito has had all the tools to be at least a semi-successful pitcher. He averaged 192.0 innings pitched per season between 2007 and 2010. That means his health was never an issue during the regular season. On top of that, his 1.59 strikeout-to-walk ratio (555 K/350 BB) was nothing to laugh at by any means. The only issue there is that he amassed a lackluster 8.6 hits per 9.0 innings, which is a huge issue. That led to a lot of runs being tallied against him during starts. Still, Zito has always had most of the tools required for a decent performance each season.

At this point, I am not really a sympathizer or hater for the guy. I am simply waiting for his contract to run its course so that the Giants can move on. A lot of fans are at that point too. In any case, there is still a little desire in the back of my mind to see him have at least one solid season (by more than fifth starter standards). The guy has not managed a .500 or better win-loss record during his time with San Francisco. His earned run average has not dipped below 4.00 either. Oh, his WAR did hit 2.0 in 2009, but that season was not that good otherwise.

If Zito did not allow nearly a hit every inning pitched, then I would say that he could definitely piece a decent year together. He will only be 33 years-old at the start of the 2012 regular season after all. Obviously, nothing he does will get rid of the ire most Giants' fans hold against him. However, nobody should expect that to happen, but his career with San Francisco shouldn't end with such a terrible track record.

With the team, Zito is 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA and 1.407 WHIP over 821.2 innings pitched. That is pretty horrendous considering his time with the Oakland Athletics. He was not an invincible pitcher or anything with that club either though. During that time though, he racked up the wins and managed to pitch like a fairly strong pitcher. There are probably worse pitchers out there with even poorer track records, so fans can take solace in that.

Likely, Barry Zito is not going to have a much better season than 2007, 2008, 2009, or 2010. He will more than likely make more starts than in 2011 with the San Francisco Giants. It does not matter whether he is healthy or not because history shows that he pitches similarly in any state. Regardless of all that, I still would enjoy seeing him put together a decent (even semi-decent!) season with the team. No, it will not change anything about his time with the club, but it does not have to.

At least he does not gloat about earning so much money to pitch so poorly or something like that.

Errick D. Williams is a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants who has attended over 200 games at AT&T Park. He lives in San Diego but regularly travels back up to the Bay Area to catch a game with friends and family members.

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Updated Monday, Feb 20, 2012