Zito is what Zito is. He’s going to give you a very small handful of good starts, a bigger handful of awful starts and a whole lot of sub-par starts smashed in-between those. But despite Bochy’s essential promotion to the Giants’ financial anchor, I’m finding it difficult to believe the Giants are going to sit on their hands and give Zito the job without making attempts at sewing up the back-end of the starting rotation.
Look, I love Ryan Vogelsong as much as anybody – and I’ve said multiple times his 2011 campaign was far from a fluke, but going into 2012 with he and Zito on the back-end of your rotation isn’t without risk. That’s no slight to Vogey, I’ve been one of his biggest supporters – but to assume he’ll replicate his 2011 is nothing more than an assumption right now and putting all of your baseballs in one basket isn’t my preferable way to operate. I hope he does – he’s given no indication that he can’t – but he’s really not my worry, even with struggles he’d be a fine fifth starter. It’s the Zito that scares the orange off my pants and I hope the Giants’ front office as well, which leads me to the Giants doing the fifth starter dance come Spring Training.
Even before the Jonathan Sanchez trade, I expected Sabean and company to take a peek at the once above average pitchers available who had fallen on difficult times – but now its went from kicking the tires to a need and I’m hoping the Giants can convince former O’s ace Erik Bedard that he can succeed in black and orange once again, just this time in the NL.
Bedard fell on hard times when he left Baltimore for Seattle, but not due to on-field issues – Bedard’s only issue was actually staying on the field. In Bedard’s first two seasons in Seattle, the former Cy Young vote getter only made 30 appearances due to injuries, unable to ever get fully healthy until last season where he had an impressive 16 starts for the Mariners before being traded to the Boston Red Sox at the deadline.
Before the trade, the Southpaw had a very solid 3.45 ERA to go with 87 strikeouts in 91 innings. After the trade, Bedard’s ERA inflated during his short stay in the American League East (to be expected), but putting his nasty curve in the National League West (AT&T, Petco, Dodger Stadium) could be a game changer for both he and the Giants.
Financially, Bedard wont be commanding much more than a million to a million and a half on a incentive based one year deal and is essentially risk free on that aspect. No, you can’t assume he’ll break the 30 start barrier (he only made 24 this past season) but you hope between he and Zito, you’d be able to get the job done. At only 33 (when the season starts), Bedard still has a few good years ahead of him provided he can stay out of the trainer’s room, something he was able to do last season.
It’s not a perfect scenario, but it’s pretty risk free for the Giants and it gives Bedard a wonderful opportunity to resurrect his career in the comfy confines of AT&T Park and the National League West. And most importantly, Zito goes back into his emergency role rather than causing emergencies on the mound.