Giants need (the other) Barry

The Giants’ offseason has been busy, but were you to grade it, it’d have to be a C. By adding a Z, they can turn it into an A.

The Z in question, of course, is lefty Barry Zito, the pitching belle of this winter’s free-agent ball. And while the popular theory is that he’ll sign with the New York Mets, the Giants make a heck of a lot more sense. And Zito makes a heck of a lot of sense for the Giants.

The Mets’ theory is based on two things. One is Zito’s oft-stated desire to play in New York; he’s huge on accountability, and nowhere are you held more accountable than in the Big Apple. The other is his relationship with Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, the A’s pitching coach when Zito won the 2002 American League Cy Young award.

Yet, there are far more compelling reasons for Zito to sign with the Giants, who have been sitting back while other teams make more public pursuits of his services. That doesn’t mean they aren’t going to make a huge offer, though. They’re no dummies and they know that all the Dave Roberts/Rich Aurilia/Bengie Molina/Ryan Klesko signings in the world aren’t enough to satiate their fans’ desire — or their organization’s need — to make one cannonball splash before they head for spring training.

Securing Zito would be that splash and it’s a no-brainer for both sides.

Wanting to be held accountable is a noble concept, but the New York media takes accountability to uncomfortable extremes. Zito has worked his entire career in a market that forgives the occasional bump in the road. And in the rare cases that he was harshly criticized here, it chafed him. The New York media is brutally unforgiving, turning bumps in the road into massive mountains. Andif Zito shows even the slightest sign of struggle while working on a $100 million contract in Gotham, what should be the most enjoyable time of his life could quickly turn into the most miserable.

By staying in the Bay Area, where all of his quirks and outside interests are known and accepted, he’d assure himself of relative peace.

Also, the Giants need a leader for the young studs on their pitching staff. And Zito would be that. He thrived as a leader for

Oakland’s young staff after Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder were traded in 2004, and he likes the role.

Then there’s the Giants’ need for a face of the franchise when Mr. Bonds finally takes his leave. Zito can be that, too.

Oh, and he’s a flyball pitcher. AT&T is a huge pitchers’ park. Hello, lower ERA.

And finally, Zito makes his offseason home in the Hollywood Hills. By working in the NL West, he’d enjoy regular trips to San Diego, where he grew up, and Los Angeles. Again, built-in comfort.

So don’t assume Zito is bound for Queens. By signing with the Giants, he’d be able to live like a king.

Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com.

MLBSan Francisco Giantssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Examiner file photo)
Charter amendment effort would replace elected school board with appointed body

Critics of the San Francisco Unified School District board on Monday formally… Continue reading

Jill Bonny, owner of Studio Kazoku tattoo parlor in the Haight, tattoos client Lam Vo on Friday, March 5, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
No one was fighting for tattoo artists, so they started advocating for themselves

Jill Bonny has been tattooing in the Bay Area since 2000. Four… Continue reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes to The City's streets including Slow Streets closures to increase open space access and the Shared Spaces program, which allows businesses to use public right-of-ways for dining, retail and services. (Examiner illustration)
COVID is reshaping the streets of San Francisco

Walk down Page Street, which is closed to thru-traffic, and you might… Continue reading

Brandi Harrapence, right, has lunch with her daughter Kayla Harrapence inside Firestone Grill in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, open for inside dinning for the first time in nearly a year, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in San Luis Obispo, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
California is far from herd immunity, making a 4th COVID-19 wave possible. Here’s how

Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money Los Angeles Times California is optimistic… Continue reading

Stanford’s Ashten Prechtel shoots a layup as three Oregon State defenders look on during a Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament semifinal game on Friday, March 5, 2021, at Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Bryan Steffy/Pac-12 Pool Photo
No. 4 Stanford women cruise to Pac-12 Tournament title

Kiana Williams is heating up just in time to head home. The… Continue reading

Most Read