December 20, 2006

How the Scouts view Zito

Michael Morrissey at The NY Post, writes about how the scouts view Zito:

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."

I can already tell this is going to be the day of Zito.

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