Olney On Zito, Brown, Jeter, Reyes

As ESPN.com's Buster Olney points out, the Giants would have to have a legitimate alternative in place before dumping Barry Zito and the $64.5MM remaining on his salary. If Jeff Suppan earns a rotation spot or someone else pitches unexpectedly well, the Giants could consider releasing Zito, but until then they can use the durable left-hander. Here's more on the Giants and other notes from Olney:

  • Olney says now is the time for the Giants to dump Zito if they're ever going to do it. The Giants are coming off of a World Series title, so Olney argues that they're working from a position of credibility. They aren't likely to cut Zito, however.
  • As Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes, manager Bruce Bochy says Zito is the team's fourth starter and GM Brian Sabean says the team isn't frustrated with him.
  • One talent evaluator says "the athleticism has been taken out" of Domonic Brown's swing.
  • Derek Jeter's relationship with the Yankees will be defined by the team's perception of what's required to win, writes Olney. The team will likely be willing to put Jeter at the bottom of the order or switch him to another position if his performance declines. 
  • It's for that reason that Jose Reyes could become a solution for the Yankees when he hits free agency after the season.

107 Responses to Olney On Zito, Brown, Jeter, Reyes Leave a Reply

  1. I’ve been saying that Jeter should be batting 7-9 since after the 09 season. I’m very sick of him hitting weak ground balls to 2B or SS to start off almost every game

    • j6takish 4 years ago

      Jeter is one of the worst GIDP offenders in the game, the move to the leadoff spot was supposed to hide this problem, but I think he has aged so much that it’s time to move him down and watch him hit weak ground balls to 2b or ss to end almost every inning

      • im with you on jeter not hitting in the lead off spot,but I think it’s disrespectful to suggest Jeter should be hitting 7-9. 2 hole is a great spot for jeter; he’s a great situational hitter. The guy is a pro and future hall of famer, and for sure a top 5 best yankee of all-time.I project a come back year.

        • j6takish 4 years ago

          Refer to the previous comment, Jeter used to bat 2nd, and they moved him to leadoff because he lead the league in GIDP

    • MB923 4 years ago

      Exactly. Gardner should be leading off. He takes pitches, steals bases and led the team in OBP last year, even ahead of Cano. I can honestly say he was the 2nd best (or more valuable) batter in the lineup behind Cano last year.

      • Good call. Jeter has played shortstop for 16 seasons. He’s played in 147 playoff games. Dude isn’t the same guy he used to be. Put him in 8th.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          don’t understand all the hate for jeter’s bat. his glove deserves it, but jeter had a wOBA of .390 in 2009. his .406 OBP that year was only 20 points higher than his career mark of .385

          if he drags his feet this year like last year, maybe decline has set in. but it’s way too early to make that call. and way too early to anoint gardner the new leadoff king.

          • The_Silver_Stacker 4 years ago

            There is nothing wrong with Jeter’s glove

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            that’s actually true. when he gets to the ball, he’s a very good defensive player. the problem is how rarely gets to it

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            but there is a problem with his legs

          • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

            You mean his GOLD glove?

            (disclaimer: this is a joke post before you all jump on me about his defense)

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            maybe thats why his range sucks, he’s weighed down by his gold glove..

            See what I did there?

          • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

            all five of them

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        Gardner not batting leadoff is the biggest reason I think Girardi is inept. You’ve got a guy with an OBP north of .380 and great speed, and you’re not batting him leadoff?

        • MB923 4 years ago

          To be honest with you, and you might disagree with me on this, I think they bat him leadoff out of respect. Kind of like keeping him at SS instead of A-Rod. Also, not to mention, giving him a large new contract. If he wasn’t with the franchise so long, they certainly wouldn’t have done all they did for him.

          However, to be a better ball club, they need to move Jeter down in the lineup. Although of course their main problem isn’t Jeter, it’s the SP for now.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            jeter has his first slow year with the bat in like 10 seasons and he needs to move down because gardner has his first up year? gardner’s OBP was .345 in 2009; jeter’s was over .400

            as i said before, it’s way too soon to throw in the towel on a player of jeter’s caliber. he’s overrated because of his defense; his bat has always been legitimately elite. if 2010 is the outlier it seems, you want jeter’s .370 wOBA getting those extra plate appearances, not brett gardner’s .345

            stolen base speedis better used in the bottom half of the lineup anyway

          • Why does it matter what his stats were in 2001? It’s not 2001 he made a great top of the line up guy back then but now he doesn’t. He had an off year in 2008 as well (not as bad as last year) 2009 seems to be more the exception then the rule. Swisher has cemented himself as 2 hole guy, imagine the pitches Gardner will see with Swisher(edit: and Tex, ARod and Cano) hitting behind him. Both Posada and Jeter will see better pitches if Jeter is behind Jorge. I’m not saying it’s time for him to retire or lose the title of captain. I just think it’s time for the Yankees to move on move Gardy up. It’s a transition year for the staff why can’t it be for him? Jeter has proven that he can still play the field (as stated above when he can get to the ball) but ARod will have better range now that he is 100%. So that will take at least SOME of the pressure off of Jeter going to his right.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            “2009 seems to be more the exception then the rule”

            by 20 points. his OBP that year was only 20 points higher than his career line; that’s why i said it the way i did. 2009 might be an outlier, but it’s a significantly smaller outlier than 2010

            this is jeter’s bat from 2007-2009: .319/.386/.442 wOBA .368. 2009 is not a significant outlier at all. has nothing to do with 2001. jeter’s just always been a very good hitter

            even if you include 2010 because you think the decline is real, this is jeter’s bat from 2008-2010 compared to brett gardner’s from 2009-2010:

            .301/.369/.414 wOBA .351 over 2123 plate appearances

            .274/.371/.379 wOBA .351 over 853 plate appearances

            pretty close, except one of them has a proven track record in the AL east. you effectively have 50-100 plate appearances to spare this season. do you want them to go to jeter or gardner? i’d go with jeter

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            it’s intuitive, but i can’t take the lineup protection stuff seriously without seeing some numbers on it. all of the research i’ve seen suggests that if anything, having a great hitter behind you makes it slightly harder for you to succeed at the plate

            anyway, girardi is actually pretty well-read on lineup optimization theory. i think he’ll probably make a good call

          • A lot of people forget the numbers represent people.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          **if egos were not a factor**, this is the lineup card i’d probably fill out for nyy against RHSP. these numbers are averages over the last 2 years (3 years in the cases of jeter and russel martin)


          derek jeter .301/.369/.414 – .351

          robins cano .320/.366/.527 – .380

          nick swisher .270/.365/.505 – .376

          a. rodriguez .277/.370/.518 – .383

          ma teixeira .274/.374/.523 – .385

          br. gardner .274/.371/.379 – .351

          jor. posada .266/.360/.488 – .367

          granderson .248/.326/.459 – .343

          russ martin .261/.364/.356 – .324

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            Are you sure you’d want Gardner in there batting so close to a guy with a surgically repaired hip? I mean, likewise I guess I can see see the same issue arising with him batting near Martin by leading off, but it just seems his skill set doesn’t seem suited to being so close to the middle of the order. If it was me, I think I’d plug it (Oblivious to the lefty/righty splits and I’m not going looking for them):

            Gardner (Speedy, good OBP), Jeter (Hits for average, won’t GIDP as much with Gardner in front of him), Teixeira (High power potential, best on base ability on the team), Cano (Probably the most isolated power on the team going forward), Rodriguez (Still a threat, but declining), Posada, Martin, Granderson (Martin’s probably the worst overall threat, but you don’t want his likely slow speed clogging the top of the order).

            I expect Martin to be the weakest link in their lineup, and usually you want your weakest guy batting eighth to avoid him interfering with the rollover on your top of the order.

            In regards to top of the order, while I don’t know whether last year’s first or second half numbers are more indicative of Gardner’s abilities and Jeter won’t likely be as bad as last year, I honestly believe that he’ll post better on base numbers than Jeter going forward.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            – i recognize the intuitive concern of having slower runners in front of gardner, but over the course of the season the number of times this is an issue typically turns out to be trivial/unavoidable. remember that the #1 hitter is only guaranteed to lead off an inning once per game. and by comparison, sticking a stolen base threat in front of power hitters (who are likelier to produce extra base hits) decreases the value of his stolen bases. statistically speaking, the 6-7 spots (in front of less powerful hitters) are the best place for base stealers with solid OBP skill

            – ideally your two best hitters bat 4th and 2nd in the lineup respectively, as these are the spots in the lineup that see the best opportunities to produce runs over the course of a season. with a wOBA around .385 and power to spare, i still consider rodriquez to be the best overall hitter in the lineup. that’s debatable, though. i really think a lot of cano, too, which is why i slot him second

            – ideally, your fifth best hitter bats in the third spot. i think that’s swisher, but even if it’s teixeira i slot him fifth for his HR potential

            – i’m definitely open to switching granderson and martin, but i really like russel’s OBP potential as the lineup turns over

            – you could be right about gardner; i love the guy’s game. i just think i’d make him win the spot and/or make jeter lose it at the start of the season. the deciding factor for me really is that when i have to pick between the two in any given situation, i still bat jeter over gardner – so i want those extra plate appearances to be his

            – lastly, i think people take for granted how absolutely stacked this lineup is top to bottom. boston, too, is just loaded with great bats

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            All true. The caveat being that even with an optimal lineup configuration the impact is incredibly minimal over the course of an entire year.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            to the extent that a win or two can be considered incredibly minimal

    • Yankee_Baal 4 years ago

      Ok, come on… Jeter is just one season removed from a .334 average season and helped the team win a World Series. Granted, he was lousy last year, but there’s no reason to believe that he can’t have somewhat of a bounce back season, matter of fact, for a player of Jeter’s profile its probable that he improves rather than degrades next year. People need to calm down about him.

  2. melkor77 4 years ago

    Derek Jeter’s relationship with the Yankees will be defined by the team’s perception of what’s required to win, writes Olney.

    Umm, how about score more runs than the other team? Jeter should not be the scapegoat for a piss-poor pitching staff, assuming the worse.

    • ltdibo020 4 years ago

      Melk…agree with your comments…except piss-poor pitching staff…should of said “starting staff”…the bullpen is absolutely loaded…love the arms and options for Girardi this year…great bullpens can win a lot of games for you…and girardi is very good with even average bullpens, but a great bullpen like the Yanks have, can change even an average starting staff…also the Yanks have a nice bench this year…Jeter should not be a scapegoat…well said…wonder what happens if he hits .315 this year and plays a solid ss again…??

      • melkor77 4 years ago

        You’re 100% right, I should have said starting staff, not many holes in the pen. That is really what I meant… IF the Yanks aren’t winning it will be because they aren’t getting quality starts, not because Jeter is hitting .260 (which I don’t think he will)…

  3. Rick Garcia 4 years ago

    the Phillies better hope that talent evaluator is wrong about Brown…very disappointing if he falls through for them.

    • explodet 4 years ago

      It’s kind of ambiguous whether that statement is supposed to be bad or good.

    • make way foe mayberry!

    • Jason Klinger 4 years ago

      The deck is stacked against Brown this year. This is an older team built to win in 2011 and 2012. Plus, Charlie loves his veterans, so he’s more likely to go with Francisco than Brown. Dom is probably going to spend the year in AAA unless he hits .500 the rest of spring training and catches everything within 60 yards of him.

  4. myname_989 4 years ago

    Buster Olney blowing something out of proportion? Never…

    • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

      haha he’s been really bad with it lately.

  5. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Reyes can dramatically change the dynamic of any lineup he leads off for. If he has a good season, which is not out of the realm of possibility, he could set himself up for a huge payday due to the shallow shortstop free agent and trade market. Really, there’s Hanley and Tulo, then there’s everyone else. Reyes can separate himself from the pack with a good season and make it the big 3 shortstops instead of 2.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      reyes would have to add power he’s never shown to make it into that category, but nevermind that: if you sign reyes next year, where are you playing the jeter?

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago


      • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

        Ah… you know what, I wasn’t specifically referencing the Yanks. I think he makes any lineup better because of his speed and high average leading off. Imagine Reyes on base when Tex, A-Rod, and Cano come to bat. (Sorry Swish)

        Personally I don’t think the Yanks go for Reyes, mainly because of the Jeter dilemma you mentioned, but if they were to sign him, I’d say Jeter moves to LF? I think either Swisher’s or Granderson’s contract ends after this year. Or Yankees realize that Gardner’s bat, or lack there of, is just not enough to play him everyday, and he becomes a late inning defensive upgrade, replacing Jeter in LF.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          granderson’s on board through 2012 and you’d have to decline swisher’s club option for $10m

          besides i thought pujols was playing left? =D

          • MB923 4 years ago

            No, Pujols is a starting pitcher for them

          • JerseyJohn32190 4 years ago

            Move Jeter to left, Gardner to center, Granderson to right, and Swish to DH. Or just move Jeter to DH. Or Jeter over to 3rd and A-Rod to DH. Just brainstorming, probably won’t happen anyway.

    • BaseballFanatic0707 4 years ago

      You know this is the case when Jose is the third highest rated SS in fantasy baseball, behind the two you mentioned, and Derek Jeter comes in next about 40 ranks later.

      • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

        his real life value isn’t that high. His OBP is garbage.

  6. rockfordone 4 years ago

    Zito will win 11 games as a 5th starter who cares about the money

  7. AmericanMovieFan 4 years ago

    The moment he signed that contract I think everybody knew it was gonna be a bust. No disrespect to Zito- he took the best deal possible at the time and its made him an insanely wealthy man- but he’s not worth that money and was not going to age well- that was pretty clear. Also Oakland was a low-pressure environment. Cy Young or not, he just didn’t get nearly the same scrutiny or expectation levels in Oakland. He clearly has anxiety issues or something, and thats hampered his performance.
    Anyway, the dude couldn’t handle the deal.

  8. daveineg 4 years ago

    Jeff Suppan an option?? Really??

    • Paying Zito $65M to leave, and replacing him with Suppan would be like the Cubs paying Soriano to leave now and replacing him with Marcus Thames. Just a ludicrous amount of money to spend getting rid of a player you’re better off keeping.

      If you don’t want the player for the length of the deal you sign him to, don’t sign him.

      • daveineg 4 years ago

        Not really. Thames is still a major league bat. Suppan isn’t really a major league pitcher. Don’t let 3 scoreless spring training innings fool you into thinking he is.

      • It’s a matter of basic economics. Zito’s contract is a sunk cost, meaning you are paying the same cost whether Zito is the rotation or Suppan is. The difference is entirely Zito’s benefits vs Suppan’s benefits. Between that, I’ll take Zito.

        • Zito is a mildly effective pitcher. You don’t get rid of a guy with that kind of amount of money owed because he doesn’t pitch to his dollar.

          • He doesn’t even have to be a mildly effective pitcher for it to be the right decision economically. He just has to be a better-than-Jeff-Suppan pitcher.

  9. pfelon 4 years ago

    Will Carroll was a guest on the Baseball Press Podcast last week and pointed to Barry Zito’s role as an inning-eater as a big reason the Giant bullpen was available to spell the other Giant starters, and an indirect reason for the success of Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez and Bumgarner. link to baseballpress.com (33 minute mark)

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      not many people are under the impression that zito’s pitching is bad for a team. it’s his contract that earns the insults

  10. Giorgi Almonte 4 years ago

    haha mr. Brown its a joke, he cant hit in big leagues…even he couldnt in the dominican haha

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      he’s better than you

      • Giorgi Almonte 4 years ago

        well, dude i play baseball almost everyday, and im sure that i can hit the ball better than him…he cannt even touch it dude!!

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          fine you win, I’ll take your word for it, you’re better than dom brown…

          What slow pitch girls team do you play for ?

          I’ll draft you on my fantasy team

    • Jason Klinger 4 years ago

      First time using a keyboard?

  11. wait_HOWmanyrings 4 years ago

    again not on topic, but someone just offered me a trade proposal: i give: mccann and dbrown, i get: heyward and posada,

    is that a good deal?

  12. Hoosierdaddy92 4 years ago

    If the Giants really want to get rid of Zito, send him, Rowand, and DeRosa to the Cubs for Soriano and Cash. Cubs take on more salary for 3 players instead of one. Giants get a power hitter for LF that’s better than Burrell, they get rid of Rowand’s two years of contract, and rid of Zito.

    Now even though the Cubs payroll expands by this move, it’s worth noting that they have options for next year. Although Rowand would be a 12MM dollar platoon player this season with Fukudome(which he was going to be with San Fran anyway), with Fukudome gone after next season, they can shift Rowand to RF for 2012. It would be great to get DeRosa back in the clubhouse, even if it is for one season. Deploy him mostly at 2b and at 3b if ARam gets hurt.

    Giants get a power hitter that can match Burrell’s production on a somewhat more consistent basis and they free up 12MM in payroll for 2012 by moving Rowand. Money that will come in handy to retain either Lincecum or Cain.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      so you just the cubs to never win then?

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      whats the deal with the edit button??

      so you just want the cubs to never win then?***

    • Muggi 4 years ago

      So the Cubs get to overpay Rowand to be a 4th OF this season, then overpay him to be a below-avg OF next season…and that’s the UPSIDE of the trade?

      Somehow I don’t see this happening.

      • Please stop putting Rowand and the Cubs in the same sentence.

        • Muggi 4 years ago

          Hehe sorry.

          (btw, greatest unauthorized T-shirt ever seen during the ’08 playoffs…in the style of safety placards seen in businesses, fire at the bottom of a stairway, stick-figure with giant beergut holding a bat running down the stairs into the fire. “in case of fire, use Stairs”)

      • Hoosierdaddy92 4 years ago

        Upside is getting rid of Soriano and clearing a spot for Colvin in LF. Rowand and Fukudome are basically the same player on opposite sides of the plate and they could platoon in RF. Also getting DeRosa is the coup. The Cubs are probably not going to get much production out of 2b this year with DeWitt/Baker there. I have faith DeRosa could rebound this season. At the very least, DeRosa is the clubhouse presence the Cubs have lacked the past two seasons. If you look at the free agent OFs next season, there really isn’t much so it’s better for the Cubs to have the OF locked down next season and focus on improving the IF and pitching.

        • Muggi 4 years ago

          There may not be many FA’s, but it wouldn’t matter as the Cubs would be eating half their freed-up money paying for players they don’t really want. Your deal would add $20m to their payroll this season (even before discussing whatever cash you think they’d send to SF), 13m to their payroll next season (and DeRosa would be gone or need resigning)…there’s just no way to make sense of it.

          It seems to me, with the exception of the “clubhouse presence” of DeRosa, the cubs would be a better team and in better financial shape by just sitting/trading Fukudome or Soriano.

    • iheartyourfart 4 years ago

      do you honestly think there are two people who want rowand more than sabean and bruce bochy?

  13. optionn 4 years ago

    I don’t understand why a team wouldn’t just pay 15 million out of the 64.5 million remaining on Zito and take him off the Giants hands. I mean for 5 million a year he is a good deal. Maybe I’m missing something, but why don’t more teams structure a deal like this?

    • Muggi 4 years ago

      Because the Giants have to agree to the deal; that’s the problem.

      If they’re only going to save $15m over three seasons, isn’t a 200-inning guy worth that? What’s the point of trading him when they’d save paltry money and probably get next to nothing in return?

  14. Sure last season jeter’s production deserved to be hitting 7th or 8th but just because folks are redsox fans or don’t care for the yankees it doesnt mean you have to trash a player haha. as a yankees fan i dont’ care for boston but i’m not going to say lester sucks and a-gon is just a walking injury and trash their players. i just will wait until they lose to take a perverse pleasure in their free agent spending this past off season 😀

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago


    • bjsguess 4 years ago

      There is a huge difference (I’m not a Red Sox or Yankee fan).

      Jeter did suck last year. No way should he have stayed as the lead-off hitter.

      Lester does not suck. And A-Gon is hardly a walking injury. Now if you want to trash Beckett/Lackey …

    • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

      who’s trashing Jeter?

  15. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Milton Bradley + Prospect for Zito + Cash

  16. 0bsessions 4 years ago

    Is defense accounted for at all in your league?

    If not, you make that deal now before your opponent sobers up, why are you even asking us? Go go go go go.

  17. rainyperez 4 years ago

    Reyes would be great for the Giants at the leadoff spot. Remember DeRosa & Freddy Sanchez’s contracts both are up after 2011. Reyes if he can prove healthy this year can take advantage of AT&T and the NL West’s expansive ballparks.

    • rainyperez 4 years ago

      Also Tejada thats a good 18 million off the books for us….

      Plus if Charlie Culberson continues to hit he’ll be our 2nd baseman of the future

  18. woadude 4 years ago

    Seattle has been known to take toxic contracts, work out a trade to get Zito to be in the rotation with that stud Bedard to see who can rebound faster, come on Jack Z get it done.

  19. northsfbay 4 years ago

    Zito is is the 5th starting pitcher. You don’t have a replacement for him and you have to pay his contract whether he plays for you are not. No team in thier right mind would take on his contract. Zito ins’t going anywhere.

  20. TheHotCorner 4 years ago

    Domonic Browns “athleticism” has been taken out of his bat. Geez, you think the talent evaluator might want to elaborate a little more on that comment.

  21. John 4 years ago

    I’d rather wait for Hanley. He’s a MUCH better hitter, and he wants out of Florida. I’m sure he’d love to play in pinstripes where he has an owner that actually wants to win, and isn’t concerned with pickpocketing revenue sharing money.

    Loria belongs in jail, and Hanley belongs in Pinstripes. I’d put good money on him not pulling what he pulled this year in a Yankee uniform.

  22. FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

    would the Giants seriously burn $65 M just to free up a rotation spot?

  23. northsfbay 4 years ago

    The Giants can’t aford Reyes when he is a free agent. Pitching and power is the reason the Giants won the World Serries. Stick to that.

  24. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    I’m pretty sure it is, unless it isn’t but it might be or not. either way

  25. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    I think it’s just a high environment

  26. roomwithamoose 4 years ago

    the second he signs a deal upwards of $100MM is when it’s a high pressure environment…

  27. MB923 4 years ago

    Starting Pitcher

  28. Giorgi Almonte 4 years ago


  29. MB923 4 years ago

    Pretty sad when your worst starter is the highest paid pitcher and makes almost the same amount of money as your 1-2 pitcher combined.

  30. bjsguess 4 years ago

    You have to keep him unless you can move the guy for any salary relief. An ERA+ of 100 is decent – better than most 5th starters in baseball and better than a lot of 4th starters. Zito is only dogged because of his contract. He’s a fine player to have – just not at $20m.

    Basically he is the Vernon Wells for pitchers. Not a bad guy to have – he’s just overpaid by at least $10m a season.

  31. guydavis 4 years ago


  32. bjsguess 4 years ago

    It is sad but it’s also unfair since Zito was a FA and Cain/Freak have next to zero leverage as arb guys (at least when they signed their deals).

  33. FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago


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