I actually have a hunch that if Zito is traded, it will be to one of two teams. Either the Arizona Diamondbacks or the Chicago Cubs. Both are stocked with young talent, which Billy Beane covets and the Cubs have a ton of great young arms. The Cubs could also be looking to bolster a starting staff that has its share of injury problems over the past several years. We all know Zito's stellar health resume. Zito would also get a chance to do the Curt Schilling act in Chicago (lead a pathetic and hopeless franchise to the promised land), and get to play on the bigger stage that he seems destined for. Of course his spotless injury record would be greatly tested by Dusty "Pitcher Killer" Baker.
Boy, would this be a coup for Hendry. Looking at the Cubs starting rotation as it is currently constructed we are looking at Zambrano, Prior, Maddux, Rusch and probably Jerome Williams (yes, I am leaving out Kerry Wood, that's what Larry Rothschild told me to do. Anything out of Wood will be considered a bonus). That roatation does not inspire much confidence.
So if Billy Beane is dangling Zito, I hope Jim Hendry picks up the cell phone and makes a call. I no longer have any confidence in any of the Cubs prospects that were drafted and/or developed by the Cub organization. There is not one of them that I wouldn't include in a deal for Zito or Juan Pierre for that matter. Yeah, I'd even deal the great Felix Pie.
Zito is an innings eater. Over the last 5 years he's pitched 214.1, 229.1, 231.2, 213.0 and 228.1 innings. He has been pretty average the last few years. 11-11 in 2004 with a 4.48 ERA & 14-13 in 2005 with a 3.86 ERA. Still he started the season 1-6. He really put things together from that point on. Zito's WHIP was down from 1.39 to 1.20 in 2005.
A front three of Zambrano, Zito and Prior would be most impressive. Hendry missed out on Mulder and Hudson last winter. I hope he takes a serious look at Zito.