Not what Scott Boras wanted to hear: multiple newspapers are reporting that both New York teams have minimal interest in Barry Zito. This is the complete opposite of what we were hearing in April. Popular speculation is that the Padres and Rangers are now the biggest horses in the race.
Some other possibilities:
Orioles – Another offseason, another promise of spending money. Doesn’t seem like Angelos would meet Zito’s price, though he probably loves the flawless medical record. In addition, Angelos does not like to deal with Boras. So scratch this possibility; they’ll probably acquire a lesser starter.
Blue Jays – They’ve got money to burn and need at least one starter. I think the Jays will at least entertain Zito but will probably miss out.
Red Sox – I don’t see him fitting into Theo’s plans, especially if Papelbon is moved to the rotation.
Mariners – Seattle will have three vacant rotation spots this offseason assuming Gil Meche departs. Zito could be Plan B if they miss out on or can’t afford Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Phillies – Unless that whole J.D. Drew thing still lingers for some reason, the Phillies could be a player. They will have some vacancies in the rotation. Still, I don’t see them coming in with the best offer.
Cubs – The Cubs could try to make a statement: fire Dusty, throw down the big bucks on Zito. Jim Hendry doesn’t mind working with Boras at all. This team is better primed to win in 2008, though, and needs position players the most. For that reason I see the money going towards Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano.
Diamondbacks – The club has no issues with Boras, dealing with him on Stephen Drew and others. They also have a definite need for pitching if they are to compete in the near future. Would Josh Byrnes take on a contract like that? Guess we’ll see.
Dodgers – If Greg Maddux returns, the Dodgers don’t have an opening. They seem more likely to spend their money on Aramis Ramirez.
Giants – San Francisco will need to replace Jason Schmidt, but Ted Lilly seems more their speed. And he wants to play there.
There’s no standout player aside from the Rangers and Padres. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jays, Mariners, or Cubs jump into the bidding, however.