I understand Nico's rant, but I don't agree with it. Zito is an articulate truthful guy. He is pretty sure he is out of Oakland. He knows he had a good time, he knows he can get some dumb team to pay him 15 mil a year. What can he say about it? What does it matter what he says about it? It is what it is. Would it be better if it was pre-free agency and the players were all slaves to their teams?
I really believe the top player in baseball could live with a 10 mil/year salary. It really looks like somewhere around 10 mil/year is the A's upper limit, and that the A's can build a very competitive team with about 4 10 mil/year guys and a bunch that make somewhat less, and then about 5 league minimum guys. So if we take as a given that the A's favor shorter contracts and keeping payroll down, then maybe the A's can't offer Zito anything.
But I keep going back to, are we SURE we don't need him? He never gets hurt, he makes his teammates better, he is great for the pitchers in the clubhouse, he is a proven performer. My feeling is make him turn us down. Offer him 4 years 40 mil plus incentives, make him turn that offer down. Then bad mouth him all you want for taking the 5 year 75 mil deal someone offers. But I see absolutely no reason in the world not to put an offer on the table. Because Barry Zito may be the most crucial piece of the A's team over the last 7 years. At least he has been a good player. We know he has Boras, but I would make him turn down a generous, reasonable offer.