So the San Francisco Giants swooped in late and blew everyone out the water to land Barry Zito (who will henceforth be referred to as “Zits,” instead of Zeets which would have been his nick if he came to NY like a good pitcher).
Not a whole lot anyone can complain about here though, in all honesty. For some reason if a team like Texas put up huge funds to get Zits, it would make less sense. Arlington is a bad stadium for pitchers, you have the poor history in terms of Boras free agents going to Texas, and clearly neither Texas or Zits would gain from such a scenario.
But for the Giants, to be honest, I think it makes sense. They have a young staff with guys like Matt Cain and Noah Lowry who could use a solid veteran mentor. They’re also obviously preparing for the end of the Barry Bonds era, and could use a “franchise player,” whether Zito is truly one of the premiere pitchers in the game is sort of beside the point, he can definitely be marketed as such. In effect the Giants are transitioning from the reign of King Barry I, to King Barry II.
I liken the move to the Pedro signing by Minaya also. You overpay for reputation, pedigree, and making a statement to your fanbase. If you think about the Giants team if they don’t make this signing, I think that’s where you find thei mpetus to go above and beyond. With all the drama surrounding barry, this would be a lost team without the addition of Zits. I don’t know if Barry II will insure the Giants are legit contenders, but the NL West is definitely not that strong, so if you have a decent starting rotation you should be able to remain in the mix.
And as far as the Barry not being a true ace talk goes, obviously everyone tabs Johan Santana as the Big Man, but there’s a lot to be said for consistency and durability. That is what being a great pitcher is about. That said, I don’t think Zito would have remained at the solid-but-not-great plateau he’s been at since his Cy Young year in ’02 if he stayed in the AL. But the move to the NL, as we’ve seen for just about any pitcher makes a huge difference. In that park Zits should become a perennial Cy Young contender. I fully expect him to have a really big season next year, as he introduces himself to the NL with something to prove. And that big year, just like Pedro’s first good season with the Mets, may make the contract worth it all by itself.
As for the Mets, it definitely sucks. I had Zeets penciled into the rotation for ’07 since early last year. In the end I sort of feel like we’ve been “Minayed,” in the sense that as mentioned above Omar set a little precedent in showing that overpaying for the right guy can payoff for the franchise even if thep layer doesn’t quite live up to the standards established by such a big money contract. Either way we’re still the cream of the crop in the NL as far as I’m concerned. We have the best lineup in the league, easily. We still have a solid bullpen, even if we have to try out a couple new pieces. And while our rotation may look a little patchwork to start, it’s not horrible. And most importantly, we have some interesting and promising young arms to evaluate. So there’s definitely no need to panic. This will put a lot of pressure on Tom Glavine, who needs to maintain his own “ace” form of last year, but we have a great nucleus of players, and plenty of chips to deal if we need something. And obviously we have an extremely pro-active, but still discerning GM, so not having Zits is not the end of the world. All we have to do is take a look in the mirror to see that.