FanDuel - WFBC

December 29, 2006

Zito Breaks the Bank.: Barry Zito stays in the Bay Area, signing a seven-year deal worth $126 million. It's the richest contract for a pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

posted by The_Black_Hand to baseball at 05:26 AM - 38 comments

If Peter Gammons says it's a good deal (and he is as I type this), then it must be so. This would have been much more meaningful if the Giants had re-signed Schmidt, I think. The A's have some good young arms and will still be a factor as usual, I bet.

posted by mjkredliner at 06:35 AM on December 29

Peter Gammons??? Ain't he the guy on the 10 dollar bill....lol

posted by 3pounddickey at 06:58 AM on December 29

I'm just glad it wasn't the Yankees. I thought there was a good chance they would deal the Unit and use the money to get Zito. Amazingly, this IS a decent contract. Zito is 28 and has never been on the DL, has a Cy Young and is in the upper echelon of pitchers (not the upper, UPPER echelon - but the next one to it). I think this is also the kind of contract that can be moved in the next three years if the parties want to. And next year, there aren't any great pitchers hitting free agency outside of Carlos Zambrano, so getting Zito now is probably the best move San Fran can make. Doesn't mean they're anywhere close to contending though.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:53 AM on December 29

I agree with mjk, that if Schmidt could have somehow remained in the rotation (and healthy) it would have been huge. As it is, they basically keep the status quo. Lose a frontline pitcher, pick up a frontline pitcher. As for the contract, as ridiculous as it seems, I don't think there's any really insane contract when it comes to a real good 28 year-old starter who eats up innings, stays off the DL, and can offer up around 16 wins. As it stands now, the team needs Matt Cain and Noah Lowry to really develop into quality starters in order to be in contention. They won't do that based on their offense.

posted by dyams at 08:19 AM on December 29

I was hoping the Rangers would get Zito, even though pitching in Texas would mean the certain ruination of his career. It has to be bitter for A's fans, who won't be able to escape news of his accomplishments for the Giants.

posted by rcade at 08:23 AM on December 29

To my agent, You are an idiot. With sincere hatred, Roy Oswalt

posted by grum@work at 08:34 AM on December 29

Nice 1 Grum-LOL DOOOOOHHHH

posted by oh2rooper at 09:05 AM on December 29

He definitely made the right move (career wise) going to the NL. A move to the AL East or, god forbid, Texas would have ruined him. The Giants have some good things going. Schmidt for Zito is an improvement if only for dependability factors. Matt Cain and Noah Lowry are good young pitchers at 21 and 25 respectively. Adding Zito gives them a majority of their rotation under 30. The money is absurd but I try not to get caught up in that. There's no salary cap so you can't jusge it in an any way except philosophically.

posted by YukonGold at 09:56 AM on December 29

San Francisco is a structurally bad team. This might be a building block when they come to their senses and realize that a whole pile of veterns that win right away could work but is a HUGE gamble. A few role playing veterans is a solid compliment to a good core of players the Giants don't have. If they can get past that mindset and start building a younger, development oriented strategy, a Zito in his prime and a very solid, maturing Cain would be a great start.

posted by dfleming at 10:03 AM on December 29

Wow! Two baseball posts on the eve of the playoffs and the NBA and NHL heating up.I guess the Hot-Stove League is still burning.

posted by sickleguy at 10:20 AM on December 29

the NBA and NHL heating up Those leagues basically heat up until May.

posted by dyams at 10:35 AM on December 29

There´s word Zito WILL NOT SIGN, until SF guarantees him a subscription to ESPN the Magazine! :o

posted by zippinglou at 11:08 AM on December 29

And the I-pod that goes with it....

posted by wdminott at 12:01 PM on December 29

I hope no one actually got their hopes up in Texas over Zito--Texas get pitching? Not when there's a chance to pick up 3 or 4 MORE outfielders.....

posted by jenny at 12:17 PM on December 29

As a lifetime White Sox fan, I was hoping that the CUBS would get Zito. The guy would get a stiff neck watching some monster home runs hit onto Waveland avenue. Oh well, maybe next time.

posted by wdminott at 12:22 PM on December 29

I'm just glad it wasn't the Yankees. And so are several million members of the Red Sox Nation, Weedy. With sincere hatred, Roy Oswalt I've said it before: You don't get paid what you deserve, just what you can negotiate. Good one, Grum.

posted by Howard_T at 01:09 PM on December 29

The A's have some good young arms and will still be a factor as usual, I bet. posted by mjkredliner at 6:35 AM CST on December 29 It amazes me that year after year the A's lose talent but they always contend. As an Angel Fan I'm searching for the secret....and I'm glad we don't have to worry about Zito on a regular basis.

posted by Termite at 01:54 PM on December 29

That's quite a load of cash, hope the DL isn't where he earns it. I like Zito, so I hope that it works for him. History says guys tend to be a bust when the big money gets dealt out. Good luck to all the Gold Card carriers.

posted by melcarek69 at 02:00 PM on December 29

History says guys tend to be a bust when the big money gets dealt out. Actually, what really happens is that people seem to remember the busts more than the successes, usually because the players were successful before the big money and nothing really changes. The problem lies when they hand out big money to one-season wonders. Examples of big money successes in recent history would be: Roger Clemens signing with the Blue Jays (back-to-back Cy Young seasons) Manny Ramirez signing with the Red Sox (still one of the most feared hitters in baseball) Albert Pujols' most recent contract Randy Johnson signing with the Diamondbacks Alex Rodriguez's monster deal with the Rangers (despite howls of derision, he's still one of the top 10 players in baseball) I'd worry less about Zito's big money deal, and more about Garry Matthews Jr. (did you know he was "designated for assignment" by three different teams before this monster contract?).

posted by grum@work at 02:34 PM on December 29

I knew, grum, and it was one reason his play last season was a joy to watch. I was hoping the Rangers could hold onto him, but you can't blame Gary for following the money. He's a good guy, (and patrolled center field in Arlington as well as any Ranger has), and I wish him well.

posted by mjkredliner at 02:51 PM on December 29

SF continues its quest for mediocracy with another retarded move. See ya in the cellar.

posted by yay-yo at 03:27 PM on December 29

And my Reds biggest signing this off-season is 40 year old Jeff Conine to platoon at 1st base. What a world, what a world.

posted by carolinared at 05:19 PM on December 29

SF continues its quest for mediocracy with another retarded move. See ya in the cellar. What's your reasoning for saying this is a retarted move? Zito is an ace, has stayed off the DL so far, is a former CY Young winner, and was essentially the best pitcher on the market.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:12 PM on December 29

As a lifetime White Sox fan, I was hoping that the CUBS would get Zito. The guy would get a stiff neck watching some monster home runs hit onto Waveland avenue. Oh well, maybe next time. posted by wdminott at 12:22 PM CST on December 29 Hell, if he signed with the Sox, he would have already been traded to the Rangers for Brandon McCarthy and 2 more prospects. That way Kenny ' the Tinkerer' Williams can still move Buhrle and Garland and continue the complete ruination of what was once a reasonably good team.

posted by t money at 06:43 PM on December 29

Whoops, it's Buehrle. My apologies to all 6 Sox fans out there.

posted by t money at 06:48 PM on December 29

It amazes me that year after year the A's lose talent but they always contend. As an Angel Fan I'm searching for the secret... Are you the only educated baseball fan in America who hasn't read Michael Lewis' Moneyball? Get a copy, and forward another one to the Angel's front office. Signed Someone in Australia

posted by owlhouse at 08:12 PM on December 29

rcade-It has to be bitter for A's fans No it isn't, at least not with me. I learned back with losing Big Mac, which I took badly at first, that many very good players can come from giving up one great one. I'm glad Zito is still in the bay area and he has my upmost respect but he alone cannot take the Giants to the Series. Although the A's can never seem to close the deal, I'm sure we'll be back in contention as usual.

posted by hoyty at 01:17 AM on December 30

When the Yanks signed Andy Pettite, I was pissed because I knew we weren't gonna pursure Zito. But looking at the situation now, I'm happy and content with the fact that Brian Cashman went with a proven winner and big game pitcher instead of Zito. Zito will have more wins than Pettite this year and he'll put up good numbers, but I'll take Andy as may game 3 starter instead of a guy who sucks at guitar and relies most heavily on a pitch that rarely hits 70 mph.

posted by antwan at 04:00 AM on December 30

I personally haven't read to what extent the Yankees actually went after Zito. They were trying to ship Randy Johnson off, and I know some speculated they wanted to get rid of him to free up a spot for him. As for having Pettite and not Zito, anyone would like to have the luxury of both, but at least I know for sure Pettite can handle New York. Zito's been living his entire career in little ol' Oakland. The media paint him as "way out there," but Oakland and New York are as different as it gets. I guess we'll never know. Give me a full year with Clemens and I'll forget the whole thing.

posted by dyams at 12:36 PM on December 30

What's your reasoning for saying this is a retarted move? 1. It's the Giants 2. The Best Option on the Market (not the best pitcher in baseball) 3. It's the Giants

posted by yay-yo at 04:35 PM on December 30

So what exactly should the Giants do to make themselves a better team. If signing the best option on the market is a retarted move, then there doesn't seem to be much they can do. You say they are mediocre (or at least heading towards mediocracy) and yet you say signing the best player they could is a stupid move. Your logic is quite flawed.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:59 PM on December 30

So what exactly should the Giants do to make themselves a better team. If signing the best option on the market is a retarted move, then there doesn't seem to be much they can do. You say they are mediocre (or at least heading towards mediocracy) and yet you say signing the best player they could is a stupid move. Your logic is quite flawed. Signing one very good player while also stacking your team with VERY old and crumbling players is a stupid move. It would probably have been a better idea to save that money and target it for better options later (when, say, Johan Santana becomes a free agent after 2008). In the meantime, stop stocking the team with AARP membership candidates and try to build from the minor leagues up.

posted by grum@work at 08:44 PM on December 30

One of the most expensive BART tickets the Giants organization has ever purchased for an employee. This move was smart, especially since Schmidt is gone. However, the Giants have made several other mistakes in personnel choices so far in the off-season. Re-signing Bonds was only one of them.

posted by lex2000 at 03:49 AM on December 31

I think the Giants organization is getting kind of a bad deal in this thread. The Zito signing continues a very successful effort to date on their part in accumulating talented young pitchers and surrounding them withsolid veterans. There is quite a bit to be impressed with in Matt Cain, Vinnie Chulk, Kevin Correia, Noah Lowry, Scott Munter, Billy Sadler, Merkin Valdez (even with pending TJ surgery) and Brian Wilson. Matt Morris, Steve Kline, and future Hall of Famer Armando Benitez may not be the ideal veteran presences around these kids, but they are solid performers. Putting Zito at the head of this development is not a bad move. Because of his inconsistency, Schmidt is not the best guy to rely on as your #1 starter, and while I would have liked to have seen him stay (if I were a Giants fan) I would also be more pleased with a seven-year deal for Zito than a three-year deal for Schmidt given an either/or situation. Yes, the Giants are old, and Todd Linden is their only marginally exciting offensive prospect. But their old guys have performed pretty well to date -- Vizquel and Bonds are still All-Star calibre -- and the recent free agency periods have illustrated how critical it is to develop strong young pitching from within. The Giants may end up guessing wrong, but their philosophy doesn't look so terrible to me.

posted by BullpenPro at 01:55 PM on January 01

But will Barry Zito be an elite pitcher for the next 7 years? I don't think so; my personal opinion is the move to the NL will mask the fact he's become a very average pitcher over the last year or so. Maybe it's a fluke and he'll get over it, but he doesn't scare me in a big-game situation against my team.

posted by yerfatma at 04:08 PM on January 01

But will Barry Zito be an elite pitcher for the next 7 years? You know, you made me look closer at Zito, and frankly now I'm not sure of his current status as an "elite" pitcher. His ERA is clearly below the league average, but he has just as clearly benefitted from being in the AL West. Despite being given the title of ace of the A's staff, he didn't face very many tough pitchers in 2006. He won a lot of games against the Hector Carrasco's of the league. He owned Jamie Moyer. But the only really good pitcher he beat was Schilling. He lost to Wang, Millwood, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Padilla. He split with Josh Beckett and John Lackey, and I think maybe that's a good place to put him on the pitcher scale -- more Lackey than Beckett because of the durability thing. My guess is that, through the next four years, in every five outings Zito has 1 great outing, 1 awful outing, and 3 average (3 ER in 6-7 innings) outings. He will probably run an ERA between 3.30 and 3.50 consistently, and his record will depend on four things: 1) whether he is regularly matched up against aces on other clubs; 2) whether the Giants show up offensively for his starts; 3) how long Bochy is willing to stick with him in both the great outings and the awful outings; and 4) how good the Giants bullpen will actually be. Going to the crystal ball, I say 11 wins in the first year and everyone points to his run support. He will improve considerably in the next two years to the 17-18 win range, then slide after that throughout the last four years. When the Giants look back, I think they will consider this to be a good deal, but only because $18 mil won't be so outrageous a figure for an average inning-eater by 2013.

posted by BullpenPro at 05:22 PM on January 01

frankly now I'm not sure of his current status as an "elite" pitcher I didn't want to look like a bombthrower, to come right out and say I don't think he is an elite pitcher anymore, but it's something Yukon and I discussed a week or two ago and it's something I've seen mentioned elsewhere. Can't say I'd want to see him on an AL East team (in spite of the Red Sox handling him just fine), but I wouldn't want the Sox to pay for him either.

posted by yerfatma at 07:20 PM on January 01

I've since invested my $29 in the Baseball-Reference membership and I can bring forth the following stats about Barry Zito. Career regular season record: 222 games, 1430.3IP, 102-63 (.618 win%), 3.55 ERA Career regular season record against NL teams: 21 games, 135IP, 8-8 (.500 win%), 3.53 ERA Career regular season record against AL-West teams: 81 games, 518.3IP, 41-16 (.719 win%), 3.65 ERA Other interesting notes: LHB do better against him than RHB (.730 OPS vs .661 OPS). It's rare to see the "reverse platoon" numbers on good LHPs like him. He has a 4.05 ERA at AT&T Park (his new home park), albeit in just 3 starts (20IP). Among his new NL West rivals, he's feasted on Colorado, Los Angeles and Arizona (5 games, 36.6IP, 1.96 ERA) and got tossed around a bit (comparitively) by San Diego (2 games, 11.3IP, 3.97 ERA). Corey Koskie (1.348 OPS in 21 PA) and Nomar Garciaparra (.982 OPS in 24 PA) are probably glad to see him come over to the NL, but I'm betting that Jacque Jones (.358 OPS in 20 PA) and Scott Spiezio (.363 OPS in 29 PA) wish he'd stayed where he was in Oakland.

posted by grum@work at 10:55 PM on January 01

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