Barry Zito has been one of the bigger free agent busts in quite some time.
But one thing he had never done until this year was hit the DL. Now after his first trip, he's rehabbing in Single-A San Jose and has pitched well in nearly 14 innings of work.
The fine folks over at Bleacher Report have put together a few possibilities of what the Giants can do with him once he's ready to return. The Giants can leave him in the minors for 30 days from his first rehab assignment. That time is quickly approaching.
One thing the Giants won't do is release Zito, who's been replaced in the rotation by a surprising Ryan Vogelsong, as he's still owed in the neighborhood of $50 million over the life of his current contract.
Another option is trading him, but with the giant amount of money he's still owed, the options there are very limited, though the article points out the Jorge Posada factor. Posada, who's clearly on the downside of his career in New York is not on good terms with Yankees skipper Joe Girardi and the Giants could definitely use a catcher with Buster Posey on the shelf. The Yankees are probably the only team out there who would be willing to take on Zito's contract even though the Giants would still likely eat a large chunk of it.
The best option out there, in my opinion, seems to be dangling Jonathan Sanchez out in the trade market. Sanchez would instantly be the most coveted starting pitcher on the market for the July 31st deadline as there's no Cliff Lee to be had this year. The Giants could possibly solve more than one problem that's been caused by injury this year (catcher, second base, first or third?) with Sanchez going elsewhere.
Sanchez might be the most talented of all the Giants starters, but he's also the most combustible and most inconsistent. If Zito continues to work well, you could slide him into the rotation and fix more than just one problem by parting ways with Sanchez.
What will be done? What should be done? I guess only Brian Sabean knows.