To the surprise of no one, the Giants declined their 2014 club option for left-hander Barry Zito, the team announced. They'll pay him a staggering $7 million buyout right now rather than an $18 million salary next season.
Zito, 35, went 5-11 with a 5.74 ERA (58 ERA+) and 1.70 WHIP in 133 1/3 innings across 25 starts and five relief appearances this past season. He appeared in just three of the team's last 32 games and was pulled out of the rotation in early August.
San Francisco signed Zito to a seven-year, $126 million contract prior to 2007. He was coming off a 16-10, 3.83 ERA season with the Athletics, and, at the time, it was the largest pitching contract in history. Zito managed a 63-80 record with a 4.62 ERA (86 ERA+) during his seven years with the Giants and played a big role in their 2012 World Series title.
Despite his struggles these last few years, left-handers do get chance after chance and Zito should find a suitor this offseason. A team looking for a cheap back-end innings guy could roll the dice, or perhaps a club will look at him as a reliever. Lefties did pound him for a .330/.408/.530 batting line in 2013.
The Giants also declined their option for outfielder Andres Torres. He hit .250/.302/.342 (87 OPS+) during his second tour of duty with the team in 2013. He missed the end of the season with an Achilles injury.