Sunday, April 09, 2006

A's to Play Out String With Barry Zito

Athletics GM Billy Beane is resigned to squeezing out every last drop of value from his $7.9 million-a-year ace, Barry Zito, even if it means losing Zito and receiving nothing back. The Athletics can neither afford to re-sign Zito, who is in the last year of his contract, nor trade Zito, because the prized lefty and his deadly curveball is critical for Oakland's pennant run. Once Zito signs elsewhere after '06, Beane will be left with a sold big three in Rich Harden, Dan Haren and Joe Blanton, plus a stable of five other potential starters from which to fill out his rotation: Joe Kennedy, Esteban Loaiza, Brad Halsey, Juan Dominguez and Kirk Saarloos.