A few of my loyal readers (O.H., M.F., and others) recently backed me into a corner and demanded my take on Barry Zito.
Well, I KNOW it may be after the fact, but in a sense, I am kinda glad he didn't sign with the Mets. Granted he is a good pitcher and a cog in the A's rotation for many years, but something deep down inside my gut told me he would be akin to Bret Saberhagen and a few other pitchers through history who had stellar seasons elsewhere and didn't make it in the Big Apple. It takes a special kind of personality and thick skin to hurl the ball in Queens - OH, plus some good pitches help too!
Zito, it was pointed out in a broadcast during the playoffs as good as he was, he never pitched a real BIG game (think of Jack Morris' 10-inning shutout, Curt Schilling with the toe, etc).
But what made Zito ink the paper in the 415 area code zone? Simple. The answer can be described in symbols instead of words: $$$$. [It may be a coincidence, but don't the SF Giants have a slugger on their team who beefed up his wallet - AND his body (with steroids -- I'm not going to say allegedly - so all you folks in the ACLU take that!). Can the Giants really have that big of a check book? ]
While we are on the topic of pitchers signing elsewhere. I am still baffled that Chad Bradford, a sidearmer who I liked decided to join the Orioles. If its for oogling Anna Benson, then that's a different story. But Chad, man, the opportunity to get a ring rests with the Metropolitans and NOT with the Orioles (Hearken back to 1969 my friend and see what happened).
Darren Oliver - another hurler who was so-so, but dependable also put on wings - literally - and became an Angel. What gives?
OK, we are in the hunt for a few good pitchers -- and, if we DON'T get any pitchers, this scribe, who stays away from the fermented grape and the hops and barley in liquid form -- WILL be drinking pitchers to calm the nerves.
Dontrelle, we'll even let you pee on the pitchers mound if you come north.
Barry, good luck in SF, but now since you are "the enemy," I hope you have an uphill battle a la Lombard Street (see accompanying picture) with your new Uniform.
Omar, it looks like its getting tough to entice and get commitments from live arms. Dangle good deals and get rid of the dead wood - (so far so good, Royce Ring, Roberto Hernandez - tragically - you're next.
OK, so, to sum it up. We may have lost the Zito-stakes, but we learned a lesson. Mets need to be more aggressive with the contracts.
Let's make 2007 a good one. (Place the bets in the sports books in Vegas for the playoffs).
I'm done now...see you back here soon.