In the BP Unfiltered Blog, Will Carroll says the Giants appear closest to signing Zito, and on a 4 year deal, to boot. I've been back and forth on the wisdom of signing Zito, but if the Giants get him for 4 or fewer years, I'd be behind it unequivocally. After sifting through the numbers, there's reason to believe that Morris is a solid investment and could be well worth having in the rotation for the next couple years (Check out his Expected FIP [xFIP] compared to Cain, and then notice that after Jamey Wright the fielders put up the worst DER behind him among the starters).
A realistic, slightly optimistic, projection: Let's say Zito repeats 2006 in 2007 for the Giants. Morris's actual production matches his peripherals. Cain improves. Lowry repeats. And one of Hennessey, Correia, or Sanchez is always there to give better production than Wright, et al, did last year in the fifth starter's spot, then that rotation would make up for the loss of Schmidt. According to the Hardball Times's PRC, Zito basically contributed as much as Schmidt did last year, even though his xFIP was really high. The thing is, each of the past few seasons, Zito's FIP has been significantly lower than his xFIP, which may be an effect of his pitching style. In the end, I'd be willing to get him in a Giants uniform for the next four years to find out if he'll be able to keep on keepin' on. Pitching! Catch the ball! Throw the ball! Hope Klesko hits 15 home runs! It's not my money!
Also in Carroll's missive is interesting fodder regarding Randy Johnson and a teaser about some big trade.