In his final start in a Giants’ uniform Barry Zito (5-11) went five innings allowing just two runs on four hits and a walk while striking out one to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-4 on Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
Zito, 35, is in the final year of an infamous seven-year $126 million contract he signed in 2007 after making three All-Star appearances and winning the 2002 Cy Young Award with Oakland.
He has an $18 million option for 2014, but the Giants are expected to pay him a $7 million buyout instead.
So that’s it.
Unless there’s an unforeseen curtain call in Sunday’s finale, he finishes his time in San Francisco with a 62-80 record and a 4.63 ERA with three complete games and one shutout, yet those numbers aside most Giants fans should remember him for his standout performances in the 2012 NLCS and Fall Classic as the “RallyZito” hashtag was trending on Twitter.
Make no mistake, the two World Series parades wouldn't have happened without Zito - no he wasn't on the 2010 postseason roster due to nine consecutive losses from July 21 to Sept. 14. But without his nine wins the Giants wouldn't have been in the playoffs at all.
For that matter is there an owner in pro sports who wouldn't payout a similar contract if two championships in seven seasons was a guaranteed result?
I doubt it.
Zito was crucial in helping Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner adjust to the majors and still is a consummate professional athlete and humanitarian who handles every curve and highlight with class, and his career isn't over. He can still compete.
Might the L.A. home owner wind up with the Dodgers or Angels on a reasonable short-term deal?
But as far as his legacy with the orange and black, he helped them win.