On Monday afternoon, long-time Oakland Athletics first baseman Jason Giambi retired.
On Monday night, long-time Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Barry Zito rejoined the club on a minor league deal.
Blast from the past: Barry Zito is going to sign a minor-league deal with the #Athletics and come to spring camp.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 17, 2015
The 36-year old Zito took 2014 off after concluding his seven-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, signed during the winter of 2006. Zito never had an ERA under 4.00 once he moved across the San Francisco Bay, but did win a pair of World Championships with the Giants.
Zito had a much better career as an Athletic than he did as a Giant. In seven seasons, he had a 3.55 ERA over 1,430 1/3 innings, striking out 1,096 and walking 560. Yep – more innings, lower ERA, higher strikeout rate, lower walk rate. Zito also made three All-Star Teams with Oakland (compared to none with San Francisco), and won the 2002 Cy Young Award with the Athletics.
He’s got a decent enough chance to crack Oakland’s rotation. The only starters truly locked in are Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, while Jesse Hahn has a decent enough shot at cracking the starting five. Because A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker are still recovering from Tommy John surgery, Zito could end up earning a spot with a solid spring.
Hopefully, his comeback goes better than former teammate Mark Mulder’s, which ended before it really got started because of a torn Achilles with the Angels last spring.