For months (seems like years) both New York teams have been claiming ownership of Barry Zito. We know that he kind of likes the city and won’t re-sign with Oakland. Both the Mets and Yankees sorely need a dependable #2 like Zito.
But Ken Rosenthal reminded us recently that the Astros will have a ton of free cash after 2006 for a player like Zito. Jeff Bagwell and Andy Pettitte make a combined $34.5MM this year, and there’s little chance Roger Clemens is still around. That will leave a lot of money and a huge void in the starting rotation behind Roy Oswalt. Zito’s estimated worth according to Baseball Prospectus for 2007-2010? Just $22MM. Not that the Yankees care.
If Houston doesn’t snag Zito, I see them signing or trading for Jose Contreras, Jason Schmidt, Kerry Wood, Kelvim Escobar, Adam Eaton, Mark Mulder, or Doug Davis instead. Wood, of course, is from Irving, Texas – but does that really matter? A topic for another time: with the impending free agency of Davis and Carlos Lee, should the Brewers go for broke in 2006?