San Francisco Giants: 9 Creative Solutions for Return of Barry Zito

Steve McDevittContributor IIIJune 18, 2011

San Francisco Giants: 9 Creative Solutions for Return of Barry Zito

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    PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 16:  Catcher Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants signals for a trainer after starting pitcher Barry Zito #75 was injured during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 16, 2011 i
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Working his way back from a foot injury which occurred in April, Barry Zito is almost ready to re-join the big league club.  After three tune-up games in the minors, the question no one wants to answer looms like a frightening beacon of light over the San Francisco bay.

    What do you do with Barry Zito?

    His replacement Ryan Vogelsong has pitched exceptionally well going  4-1 with an E.R.A. under two since taking over Zito's spot in the rotation. His success has made it tough to justify demoting him when Zito returns. 

    On the other hand, Zito was the fourth starter when he went down, and it is difficult to ignore the fact the team still owes him close to $60 million.

    Several articles on how to solve this pitching conundrum have been written, but all ended up with no viable conclusion. Even the latest Hardy Boys novel, previously slated to hit bookshelves next week, The Plight of Zito, and The Secret at Alcatraz, was halted when this mystery could not be solved. 

    So what now?

    Sending Vogelsong to the bullpen seems like the most logical option, but that is simply because as a starter, Zito typically surrenders one or more first inning runs each time out while he tries to get his pitches to work.

    Additionally, one would break out in hives just at the thought of Zito coming out of the bullpen when the game is on the line. That would take “Giants Torture” to a level a San Quentin Prison guard would not have the stomach for.  

    All this does is punish Vogelsong for appearing to be the better option than Zito coming out of the bullpen which doesn’t seem fair either.

    An outright release of Zito would waste millions of dollars and even just the mention of a trade shouldn’t be tolerated, unless you and your friends are high on nitrates after eating too many Giants dogs at AT&T Park and are not thinking correctly. No team wants him.

    There are some saying his mechanics are looking better.  

    Pitching mechanics?


    Car mechanics now wearing gold jewelry, designer clothes and hair implants reaping the benefits from Zito’s $126 million dollar contract as they work on his expanding vehicle collection?


    If Cy Young, Nolan Ryan and Abner Doubleday were on a field together, they couldn’t improve Zito’s pitching mechanics at this point in the veteran’s career, and Doubleday invented the game (credited with at least).

    So, with no favorable solution in sight, I’ve conjured up just the right elixirs on what to do with the lefty, all of which maintain two key objectives:

    1. Get the most out of his remaining contract 

    2. Ensure he doesn’t have to actually throw a pitch.

    All of these ideas will save the Giants money in the long haul and keep the team’s ERA at a respectable clip, while allowing Vogelsong to continue in the rotation. It is truly a win-win for everyone.

    As a disclaimer, turn on your wit and settle in with a pint of refreshing ale for this slideshow of Zito tomfoolery. None of these solutions are even remotely sane and will be considered as real options, yet all are in good fun.   

Dress Zito Up and Pass Him Off as Brian Wilson to Trade

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 18:  Closer Brian Wilson #38 of the San Francisco Giants stands in the dugout before the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Drawn on tattoos, a fake beard, inflatable muscles and orange cleats shouldn’t cost the team more than $50, and the return would be priceless. 

Zito Time Machine

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 4:  Starting pitcher Barry Zito #75 of the Oakland A's throws against the Minnesota Twins during the American League Division Series October 4, 2002 at the Hubert H Humphrey Dome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The A's won 6-3.  (Photo b
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Since the signing, owners and fans have longed for the Zito of old. The 2002 version won 23 games for Oakland and picked up the AL Cy Young in the process. Back then, his curveball was crisp, his fastball was ferocious and his strikeouts were adding up quicker than a Harvard calculus student at a national mathletes competition.

    Keanu Reeves may be hard to track down, but if team officials can get in touch with the blonde guy from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, we may be able to teleport the effective pitcher back to 2011. 

McCovey Cove Gondola Rides with Zito

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    29 Jan 2000:  Lindsay Davenport of the USA with the Australian Open trophy takes a ride in a gondola on the Yarra river after winning  the womens singles final at the Australian Open Tennis Championships, played at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia.D
    Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Many have been to Venice, Italy and enjoyed a relaxing gondola ride through the intertwining water ways of the city, however none have been fortunate enough to have one paddled by Barry Zito.

    With a cove, harbor and entire bay at the lefty’s disposal, the journey would surely be a tranquil experience and not an ounce short of pure bliss.  The revenue generated by the romantic Zito would be just the antidote the team’s pocketbook has long desired since signing the disappointing veteran. 

Convert Zito to Catcher

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    SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 13:  Catcher Steve Holm #20 speaks with Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants during their game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park on May 13, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The team is in desperate need of a catcher after the season ending injury to Buster Posey, and who doesn’t want to see a left-handed catcher?

    You’d have a better chance to catching a glimpse of a Sasquatch on Market Street in San Francisco than a southpaw catcher.

    Sure there would be an increase in base stealers, since a 12 to 6 curveball lacks efficacy in throwing out runners, however, attendance would definitely benefit because of the nonsensical rarity. 

Speed Dating with Barry

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    SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants poses for a portrait during media photo day at Scottsdale Stadium on February 23, 2011 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    San Francisco has a lot of woman looking for love, and what better way to find it than with a $126 million major league ballplayer?

    The winning lottery ticket for ending up with the available Zito would well be worth a $100 speed dating entry fee for any lusting lady. At about 20 women per inning, with 81 home games per year, the team would be well on their way to recouping that contract.    

Splash Zito

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    SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 09:  Fans fill McCovey Cove as the American League and National League All-Stars compete in the 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby at AT&T Park on July 9, 2007 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Get
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    If you’ve been to AT&T Park, you know about splash hits. For those that don’t, this occurs whenever a home run is blasted out of the park and into the bay, also known as McCovey Cove.

    Since the departure of Barry Bonds, splash hits are about as frequent as mermaid sightings in the cove, so Splash Zito would give fans a chance for excitement.

    The concept has been done before at county fairs, school events and likely Charlie Sheen house parties (minus the water, add in tiger’s blood). Your teacher sits in a small cage and students avenging their D in Biology get a chance to dunk the poor chap.

    In this case, the teacher would be replaced by Zito, who would be suspended just safely above the water. Outraged fans could rid their anguish by attempting to hit the target, thus watching Zito get plunked.   A premium per ball could be charged, and with so many fans upset about the most lavish free-agent signing in team history, $60 million would probably be attained after just one home stand.

    I can just see fans winding up now…

    “You are the reason we couldn’t sign Vlad in his prime,” they’d yell as they fire the ball towards the target.  

Send to Bullpen

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    MARBELLA, SPAIN - AUGUST 06: Cayetano Rivera attends 'Corrida de los Candiles' bullfights in Marbella on August 6, 2010 in Marbella, Spain. (Photo by Fernando Camino/Getty Images)
    Fernando Camino/Getty Images

    Not that bullpen.

    This would be an actual pen with bulls in it somewhere close to the actual pitching bullpen.  

    Despite his lack of success in San Francisco, Zito is a crafty pitcher whose curveball has been ranked up there with the best in the game. A transition to a cunning matador trained in the art of deception shouldn’t be too difficult for the sneaky southpaw.  

    For entertainment between innings, he could dazzle the crowd by tantalizing the angry beasts. The splendor would almost certainly lead to additional clothing and memorabilia sales.

    Matador Zito bobblehead night would surely be a hit. I can see the dollar signs in managements' eyes now.   

Take Over as Lou Seal

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    SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 27:  The San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal performs during Game One of the 2010 MLB World Series at AT&T Park on October 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    It is entirely possible that the human inside San Francisco’s lovable seal mascot makes no more than $13 per hour, but when you’re trying to recoup millions, every penny counts.  

    Zito would probably have to work over 200,000 games to cover the remainder of his contract, so I wouldn’t rule out special engagements at local malls, birthday parties and sweet 16 birthdays. 

The Sweet Sounds of Zito

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  John Mayer attends Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Noel Vasque
    Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

    Everyone knows Zito is a magician on the guitar.

    What player wouldn’t get amped up when they hear an acoustical version of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline performed as they stroll up to the plate? Perhaps right next to the umpire on the field?

    The dapper Zito would draw attention from the female fan base with his John Mayer like vocals, thus increasing the sales revenue in women’s apparel. 


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    Vogelsong is 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 1.92 since taking over
    Vogelsong is 4-1 with an E.R.A. of 1.92 since taking overThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Obviously none of these options are real options, but then again nothing is. The worst part is that most fans are holding their breath almost waiting for Vogelsong to trip up so anointing Zito the starter will be an easy decision.  

    Vogelsong isn’t showing any signs of slowing however. Zito could be looking at a long relief role, which the team doesn’t necessarily need because the rotation consistently pitches deep into the game, and then, which reliever goes?  All have been pitching well.

    At the end of the day, Zito can still help the team win, but with so many other good pitching options, where does that leave him?  

    The answer?

    No clue.  

    Zito will likely make one more rehab start in Triple-A Fresno, and then we will learn his fate.