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Zito Rumors Are Rampant

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Is Barry Zito going to be traded? That's one of the main questions facing the A's front office this offseason.

If you would listen to the rumors out there, it would appear that it very well could happen.

The Boston Herald, Newsday and the New York Post are all reporting that Billy Beane is shopping Zito. Then again, all three are what amount to as gossip rags, so take that with a grain of salt.

Is Zito being shopped? Well, Billy Beane wouldn't be Billy Beane if he wasn't constantly gauging the market. If he can score a ransom for Zito, which would include a big bat and a young Haren-type of starter, then the deal would definitely be worthwhile. But dealing an ace can be a hit or miss proposition as we saw last year with the Hudson and Mulder deals. I'm not ready to completely write-off the Hudson deal because Meyer is too young to call a bust, but that deal has turned out a poor deal thus far. Of course, he fleeced the Cardinals which made up for the Hudson deal.

I also think that Harden's health (or lack thereof) complicates this situation more than the Hudson and Mulder situations last season. If the A's lose Zito and then Harden goes down to an injury, then they are left with gaping holes in their rotation. Haren can be an ace and Blanton can certainly continue to be a solid three or four guy, but I'm not sure either one of them are ready to assume the role of carrying a starting staff.

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.

But who knows what will happen? I think it would be a mistake to trade Zito...but then again, if the A's could get a remarkable return like the Mulder trade, who am I to argue?