Female atheist president.
Portuguese military base on Jupiter.
"Now taking the mound for the Giants, Barrrrry Zito!"
Still in shock.
Myth: This prevents the Giants from constructing a good team in the future. Crazy talk. The key word is "prevents." If Zito's taking $20M, that still leaves $80M to $100M for the Giants to play with, and that's being conservative with the payroll inflation. Zito might make the task harder, but it shouldn't prevent a team from building a contender. A competent GM should be able to build a team with that money. Whether or not the Giants have a competent GM is another question. It kind of keeps me in business.
Fact: The Giants have a better rotation now than they did yesterday.
Myth: The Giants don't have an offense worth a damn.
Fact: Wait, no, that one's legit. Klesko and Molina would have to combine for 40 homers to bust the average barrier. Still, adding Zito makes 2007 a better team. And I'm getting tired of the "The Giants have no chance!"-weenies. Front runners? Maybe not. Out of contention? Get out of here:
Vizquel - .280/.360/.390
Klesko/Aurilia - .260/.350/.450
Bonds - .270/.440/.590
Durham - .270/.360/.490
Aurilia/Feliz - .260/.320/.450
Molina - .260/.310/.450
Winn - .270/.340/.430
Zito - 225 IP, 115 ERA+
Cain - 200 IP, 115 ERA+
Lowry - 190 IP, 100 ERA+
Morris - 200 IP, 95 ERA+
Lincechezesseyerria - 200 IP, 95 ERA+
Which of those projections are completely ridiculous? That's a team that is far too light on power, but it isn't hopeless, especially in the National League. Throw in some seasons that exceed expectations -- Lincecum going Verlander is the one I keep dreaming of -- and the team would do just fine. The bench should be excellent. Also, bullpens don't exist in this particular fantasy world. Again, this isn't what is going to happen, but it wouldn't be half as surprising as the Tigers' run.
Myth: Zito makes up for missing out on Vlad. Pfffft. Todd Linden deciding he was as good as Vlad would make up for missing out on Vlad. Zito makes up for missing out on Greg Maddux three years ago.
Fact: The Giants didn't do much with Jason Schmidt last year, and Zito is not a sure bet to replace Schmidt's production. I'm optimistic that Lowry will rebound, and I'm hoping Morris can at least keep his ERA under 5.00. Cain should be better for the full year, and it wouldn't be out of the question for just one of the youngsters to solidify the rotation. That's a whole bunch of ifs. This entire team is a bunch of ifs. I'll take it, but let's not get too giddy.
Fact: There is something to be said for the perceived value of Zito and what that does for the business end of the franchise in the short-term. Just listen to KNBR for ten minutes; there are a lot of excited San Francisco fans out there right now.
Fact: Good gravy, there is about zero chance the end of this contract is going to be pretty. Teddy Higuera. Mike Hampton. Jack McDowell. Tom Browning. Denny Neagle. Wilson Alvarez. Perfect comps? Not at all, but there are a lot more of those guys than Tom Glavines. Hoping for Zito to perform to the standards of Chuck Finley, Frank Viola, and Mark Langston seems to be a good compromise between the cynical and optimistic sides of my brain. That would still make the contract a waste of millions by the end.
Seven years? Really? That was absolutely, positively necessary?
At least it won't be boring.