The Deal That Wasn’t
You may have heard by now that Barry Zito has been demoted to the bullpen, after an atrocious start to the season for the San Francisco Giants (0-6, 7.53 ERA).
As Mets fans, why should we care?
Because for every time we weep when the names Scott Kazimir, Brian Bannister, and Nolan Ryan are mentioned (among others) — players that were sent away only to become stars — we should also be thankful that certain deals didn’t happen.
For those with a short-term memory, Barry Zito was — in the minds of the fans and pundits — the number one target of the New York Mets during the 2006-2007 offseason. And for about a year before Zito was on the free market, it seemed as though the Mets were perpetually on the “verge” of acquiring Zito from the A’s in return for Lastings Milledge.
The Mets did, in fact, offer Zito a contract during the winter of 2006 — one for five years and $73M. Scott Boras laughed at the offer, claiming he had a $110M offer from the Giants (we didn’t believe him). Imagine now if the Mets caved in to Boras’ demands, and handed Zito a nine-digit contract? Most likely, there would be no Johan here, and the organization might be in dire straits.
As my friend Hot Toddy quipped, Barry Zito’s current contract commitment makes Carlos Delgado look like a bargain. Hat tip also to Toddy for finding these great T-shirts.