After taking the 2014 season off, Barry Zito is looking to return to baseball in 2015. On Tuesday he threw for the Houston Astros and potentially a couple of others, according to Evan Drellich of the Chronicle. Drelllich states that four to five teams have seen Zito pitch in all. While Houston sat in on his audition, the team making a serious run at the 36-year old lefty is considered a long shot.
With three pitchers (Dan Straily, Asher Wojciechowski and Brett Oberholtzer) vying for two starting spots, the addition of a veteran starter has its pros and cons. On the plus side, it would provide the Astros with depth, another southpaw in the rotation, and a player with some leadership capabilities. Adversely, the last time Barry Zito had an ERA under 4.00 was back in 2006 with Oakland. From 2007 to 2013, Zito also has three seasons with an ERA above 5.00.
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Part of the reason for this is that his fastball clocked in at just 83.2 mph in 2013, so he isn’t exactly bringing the heat. Then again, he never has.
When it comes down to whether or not to add Barry Zito to the club, my opinion is the same as it was with Ryan Vogelsong, another aging pitcher from San Francisco. While one could make the case for or against the signing, and either argument could be valid, I tend to lean towards sticking with the players that are on the roster right now. In addition to the three aforementioned starters, there is also Brad Peacock who is a legitimate rotation candidate when he returns from injury, and a dark horse candidate in Mark Appel later in the season. Barring too many injuries to the rotation, the depth players that Houston possesses going into 2015 is better than almost any pitcher they could add before Opening Day (save for Cole Hamels).
How do you feel about the Astros rotation as we near Spring Training? Is there a realistic player you’d like to see added to the roster?