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merkin Profile
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Registered: 02-2006
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ZITO'S SLIP IS SHOWING


ZITO'S SLIP IS SHOWING
By MICHAEL MORRISSEY

December 20, 2006 -- There is doubt steeped all over Barry Zito's situation. Primarily, it is doubt about whether he would take less money in New York or more money in Texas.

But there also is doubt about the pitcher himself: Whether he's already slipping, whether he's worth a six-year contract and whether the Mets would be making the right move in signing him.

As Met officials huddled with Zito and agent Scott Boras yesterday in greater Los Angeles, baseball sources were finishing a portrait of Zito, a 2002 Cy Young Award winner, as anything but a sure thing.

"I don't know if he cuts it in New York," one insider who knows Zito flatly told The Post.

Boras has given the Mets a statistical workup of Zito, the USC product and ninth overall pick of 1999 who reached the bigs by 2000. But lately, the 28-year-old's stats haven't looked as promising, even in the inflationary offensive age.

In 2002, Zito was 23-5 with a [sign in to see URL] ERA. However, in the past three years, he's only seven games over .500 (41-34) with a [sign in to see URL] ERA. That's a half-run higher than his career ERA.

Also, opponents have batted .247 off the lefty over the last three seasons. They batted .219 against him in 2003, and .218 in 2002.

Interestingly, Met pitching coach Rick Peterson, Zito's guru, left Oakland for Shea in 2004. Zito's supporters will say that Peterson can get Zito back to his prime. But is that a $90 million bet worth taking for the Mets?

"I think he's slipped," one major-league scout told The Post. "The last two times I've seen him the last couple years, he wasn't on at all. He struggled getting his breaking ball over for strikes, and when he does that, he's in trouble. He can't get by on a power arm."

The scout allowed that Zito might not be slipping, per se, but at the very least he's getting by with less exertion, getting by because he knows how to pitch. And that could be the cumulative effect of his workload.

Zito is a workhorse, first in the American League in starts in four of his six full years. He has thrown at least 213 innings every year since 2001. Whether he can go another five or six years without a serious injury is what the Mets and Rangers must factor into the equation.

Asked whether they would give Zito a six-year deal, both a major-league scout and a major-league GM guessed they wouldn't. If the Mets don't offer a sixth year, it could prevent a deal from getting done.

"Can you think of a guy who's gone a six-year period without being hurt?" the scout said. "There's not a ton of guys."

Privately, people in Texas believe something will take shape with Zito before Christmas, which means the Mets better drive a hard, quick bargain. If so, the doubt surrounding Zito's intentions will soon end.

However, the doubts about Zito's ability will linger. The person who doesn't know if Zito can cut it in the Big Apple wonders if his laid-back personality is simply a bad fit in a Type A city. And that won't be known unless and until Zito takes the mound as a Met.

*

The Mets signed five minor-league free agents and invited them to spring training: righties Clint Nageotte, Jorge Vasquez and Lino Urdaneta, lefty William Collazo and outfielder Raymond "Chip" Ambres.


]original here


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"...the best evaluation of players is subjective judgment...The real baseball world is inevitably going to be hundreds of times more complicated than the model that we construct...." -Bill James
12/21/2006, 12:17 am Link to this post   
 
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Registered: 11-2006
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Re: ZITO'S SLIP IS SHOWING


mets seem to be preparing to make a run at suppan, i dont think they would do that if they truely believed he would sign for sure.

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12/21/2006, 3:35 am Link to this post   
 
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MOST VALUABLE POSTER
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Registered: 10-2006
Posts: 963
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quote:

"I think he's slipped," one major-league scout told The Post. "The last two times I've seen him the last couple years, he wasn't on at all. He struggled getting his breaking ball over for strikes, and when he does that, he's in trouble. He can't get by on a power arm."

The scout allowed that Zito might not be slipping, per se, but at the very least he's getting by with less exertion, getting by because he knows how to pitch. And that could be the cumulative effect of his workload.



Wow! This guy saw Zito in two non-consecutive starts in two separate seasons! WOW! What insight!

That's why scouting can be ridiculously funny sometimes. This scout also probably thinks pitch counts are lame, but he's factoring in workload.

Anyway, I agree Zito is slipping and not worth an outrageous contract.
12/21/2006, 11:41 am Link to this post   
 
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Registered: 06-2006
Location: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil
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ZITO'S SLIP IS SHOWING


Zito got owned by Grissom in 2004. He is on his last days!

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12/21/2006, 4:26 pm Link to this post   
 


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