Friday, December 29, 2006

Earthshaking news from San Francisco and it's not the earth moving...

Let's start this post with a simple request from me to baseball owners: NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER AGAIN cry poverty.

Barry Zito signed a 7-year $126 million dollar deal with the San Francisco Giants.

STOP - go back and re-read the last sentence.

The former Oakland A's pitcher went 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA last season and has a 102-63 career record with a 3.55 ERA. He won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award after going 23-5. Not bad numbers. But are you kidding me with this contract?

First, a guy who plays every five or so days gets roughly $18 million a year? Throughout his career, he has pitched about 35 games a year. If he does that for the Giants, that will be $514,285.71 per start. That's a lot of sushi for Peter Magowan's team to sell at the ballpark to pay that deal off.

Then take into account a 7-year deal. There is precedence as to why you shouldn't give a pitcher a deal like this. Actually, there are two deals to look at - the largest contract for a pitcher was Mike Hampton's $121 million, eight-year deal with the Colorado Rockies before the 2001 season. Now pitching for the Atlanta Braves, he has averaged a 10-9 record with a 4.63 ERA since signing his deal.

Kevin Brown received a $105 million deal from 1999-2005 from the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also had access to a private plane to fly him back and forth to his home near Macon, GA. He did a little better than Hampton, he averaged an 11-6 record with a 3.55 ERA.

The New York Mets were the lead dog in the race for Zito, but even GM Omar Minaya wouldn't give Zito more than five-years. "I could not recommend to our ownership crossing the barrier of five years," Minaya said yesterday on a conference call. "Our final - first, really - offer was for five years. We were going to be aggressive on the AAV (average annual value), but we wouldn't go seven years."

Pitchers are not always like fine wine and age well. Roger Clemens is the exception to the rule. When and where he signs - Clemens may look like a steal compared to Zito's deal. Big money is on the Yankees to get him, but keep an eye on Boston. Be a great way to end his first ballot Hall of Fame career where he started.

The big winner on this deal, besides Zito, is his agent Scott Boras. Is there a big contract in baseball that gets done without this guy? Between Zito and his Boston deal with Daisuke Matsuzaka, we won't need to hold a benefit for him again this year.

The funniest part of this deal is that the ink isn't dry on the contract and people are already saying that the Giants still can't improve their spot in the NL West.'s Jacob Luft predicts that the Giants will still finish fourth in their division.

Bottom line of all of this is simple - if you have a kid who is left-handed, tape a baseball to his hand at a young age and make him a pitcher. Heck, anyone who doubts me can check out Bruce Hurst. Was the ying to Clemens yang with the Red Sox's in the 80's. He signed a nice contract with the San Diego Padres and finished his career with a 145-113 record with a 3.92 ERA.

Quick hits from elsewhere....

Kudos to Rutgers for winning their first bowl game ever and finishing the year with a 11-2 record. If you went to Vegas to start the year and told any sportsbook that this would happen, you would have made a lot of money. Of course, you would have had to wait for them to stop laughing at you.

Please Texas Tech, win a game for all of us. It's a nice story that Bobby Knight is going to win 880 games and break the record, but please don't tell me the warm fuzzy story about Knight. No one can sell that story to any of us.

Saddam Hussein is supposed to be hanged at some point soon. Think we can carry that live on Fox News or CNN? Would definitely get better rankings than that OJ "If I Did It" stuff.

Mike Tyson was arrested for DUI and cocaine possession. At least he's consistent - ya have to give him that. Sad, just sad.

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