SF Giants History

Best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s: 47. Barry Zito

By Joel Reuter
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26: Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 26, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26: Barry Zito #75 of the San Francisco Giants delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 26, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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While he may not have lived up to his hefty contract, Barry Zito provided some memorable moments during his time with the San Francisco Giants.

The San Francisco Giants signed Barry Zito to a seven-year, $126 million deal prior to the 2007 season, which was at the time the largest contract in MLB history for a pitcher.

The No. 9 overall pick in the 1999 draft, Zito spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Oakland Athletics, going 102-63 with a 3.55 ERA for a 125 ERA+.

He won AL Cy Young honors in 2002 when he went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA, and he was a three-time All-Star during his time in Oakland.

On paper, when he hit free agency at 29 years old, he was one of the best pitchers to ever reach the open market and it looked like the San Francisco Giants were getting a bona fide ace.

Instead, he ended his seven years with a 4.62 ERA and 87 ERA+ while averaging 28 starts and 163 innings over the life of that contract.

His time in San Francisco was not without its highlights, though.

He threw a gem in Game 5 of the 2012 NLCS with the Giants facing elimination, allowing six hits and one walk over 7.2 scoreless innings.

He then followed that up with a strong start in Game 1 of the World Series, allowing six hits and one earned run in 5.2 innings to outduel Justin Verlander and give the Giants an early series lead.

Zito also had a strong overall season in 2012, going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA in 184.1 innings, including a four-hit shutout against the Colorado Rockies in his first start of the year.

All told, the left-hander went 63-80 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.44 WHIP with 787 strikeouts in 1,139.1 innings for 2.4 WAR in his seven seasons in San Francisco.

48. Evan Longoria. Next

Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.

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