Posted By Jeff Fletcher on August 1, 2011 5:44 pm
(UPDATE: Zito went on the DL, with a recurrence of the foot injury that landed him on the DL last time, but feel free to read the following anyway…)
This is total speculation, so let’s get that out of the way. All I know for certain is that Bruce Bochy said before the game that there would be a “change” in the rotation involving Zito, and that he would announce what that meant for Zito later tonight or, at the latest, tomorrow.
The choices are…
1. Someone goes to the DL and Zito go to the bullpen.
2. The Giants go with 13 pitchers.
3. Zito accepts an assignment to the minors.
4. The Giants release Zito.
I think that the Giants had picked No. 1, they would have announced that already, unless they really believe someone is going to get hurt tonight. I don’t think No. 2 is a very good option, because the Giants need all the bench players they’ve got with the number of struggling starters they have.
As for No. 3 or No. 4, neither saves the Giants a penny, but No. 4 is worse because a) they lose the option that Zito will be around if another starter gets hurt and b) they won’t be able to benefit if Zito fixes something and becomes more useful. Don’t forget, it was only three starts ago that he looked pretty good.
That’s why I think — again, this is just me spit-ballin — that Zito is going to accept an assignment to Fresno. If he’s going to get better, he’s got to pitch, not sit in the bullpen and and throw three innings every two weeks. Zito is a smart guy. He’s got to know that. He’s going to get his money either way, so going to the minors vs. being in the bullpen really doesn’t cost him anything other than a blow to his ego.
And he’s lost the privilege of protecting his ego. I think he knows that.
How would it look if the Giants asked him to go to Triple-A and he refused? It would look pretty bad. Zito has to know that.
He wants to pitch better. He wants to be good again. I think he’s got to know that there’s only one way for that happen.
I could be totally wrong. Probably am. Stay tuned. We’ll all know by this time tomorrow.