It seems that when sports writers in San Francisco aren’t trying to exact revenge on fifteen year old grudges, they’re justifying Springtime trips to Arizona on the company’s dime by making up ridiculous rumours of completely idiotic transactions that have no basis in reality.

While San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean is unlikely to set the world on fire with his baseball acumen anytime soon, even he can see the value in having Barry Zito as the team’s fifth starter.  There’s simply no way that he could possibly be considering releasing the southpaw and eating the remaining money owed to the southpaw on his contract as Bruce Jenkins’ column in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle suggests.  Right?

A source close to the team indicated Tuesday that there is “exasperation” with Zito, that his status as the No. 5 starter is “definitely not safe,” and that the team would even consider buying out his expensive contract before Opening Day if that’s what it takes to say farewell.

The expensive contract that Jenkins mentions still has $57.5 million over the next three years on it, plus $7 million more when the Giants inevitably buy it out from Zito after the 2013 season.  To say that Zito hasn’t lived up to the Giants expectations when he signed in San Francisco in December of 2006 is an understatement that seems to be made a lot whenever $126 million contracts are signed.  It’s a ridiculous sum of money to pay a player that didn’t even make the postseason roster when his team won the World Series, but it’s even more ridiculous to continue paying it to Zito without receiving any services.

This isn’t a B.J. Ryan situation that we saw in Toronto a couple years back.  Zito is still a contributing member of the team.  Only 24 pitchers in all of baseball have pitched more innings than Zito since he signed his contract in San Francisco, and he ranks between Jon Garland and Bronson Arroyo in FIP over that same period of time.

An ace?  Absolutely not.  But certainly a contributing member of the team who was 2.1 wins above replacement last season, the fourth most on a World Series winning rotation.

Jenkins’ suggestions didn’t just leave me shaking my head.  According to Andrew Baggarly of the Silcon Valley Mercury News, Zito met with manager Bruce Bochy shortly after the story was published, and the Giants skipper explained to his starting pitcher that this was the first that he and others in the organization had heard about it.

Zito was stunned by the report. He said he never assumes anything, but he plans to be a part of the Giants rotation, he doesn’t want to be traded or cut loose, and he’ll “continue to work hard and let the chips fall where they may.”

Zito was most upset with the article’s contention that his work ethic and physical readiness have slipped.

And The Rest

The Chicago Cubs appear to be in midseason form after Carlos Silva blew up and began fighting third baseman Aramis Ramirez in his own dugout during yesterday’s Spring Training tilt.

Keith Law doesn’t care much for the Jose Bautista extension.

The Seattle Mariners spent more than any other team on international signings this past year.

A pronunciation guide for baseball statistic acronyms? LMAO!

Ozzie Guillen reports to us via Twitter that A.J. Piersynski was pulled over on his way to a Spring Training game while he was still in uniform.

Joe Posnanski does some investigative leg work into the story of the 1955 MVP.

Florida policeman continue to get help from MLB players in reaching their monthly quotas as Coco Crisp was arrested for a DUI earlier this week.  Mugshot!  Apparently, designated driving wasn’t listed in his assistant’s job description.

The Seattle Mariners acquired Aaron Laffey from the Cleveland Indians as the balance of power in the AL West makes a massive shift.

An ode to the stadiums that never were.

Doc Gooden will be conferring with Doctor Drew on the next season of Celebrity Rehab.

Josh Hamilton’s contract negotiating style consists of praying and not much else.

Finally, the baseball fan flowchart may help you justify a switch in your favourite team.

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