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Do They Only Scout From A-Y?

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Now before you feel compelled to remind me, let me acknowledge that I am fully aware this is an A's blog and not a Yankees blog. It's actually quite easy for me to remember, because the A's are the team I adore and the Yankees are the team I abhor. But the Zito negotiations, from the start, have had me waiting and wondering about the Yankees--and whether it was really possible that they would stay silent to the end.

With the A's, the thought process behind their silence was clear: Zito will command about 1.5 times what we can afford to pay him, so we'll turn our attention elsewhere. But while Zito was wining with the Rangers, dining with the Mets, and signing with the Giants, you just never heard about the Yankees having the slightest bit of interest in making Zito an offer. Which is especially strange in light of the fact that:

* So far in his career, when his team has scored 4 runs for him Zito has won 95.5% of the time, which statisticians tell me is quite often. The Yankees usually score about 4 runs for breakfast, then head out to the ballpark to consider adding a few more. A nice fit, n'est-ce pas?

* While lefties may be ill-suited to Fenway Park, they are well matched to the spacious left-center field confines of Yankee Stadium. Even Zito's signature "hanging changeup" is apt to find an outfielder's glove in the Bronx. Heck, the Yankees were so keen on adding left-handed starters that after the Astros took Andy Pettitte, aged him, broke him, and then returned him older, damaged, and without the original receipt, the Yankees took him back anyway. But they never showed any interest in Barry Zito?

What exactly does it take for a pitcher to be deemed worthy by the Yankees? Apparently Al Leiter was good enough, even though the Yankees signed him at a time when Leiter's commentary was far sharper than his slider. Jaret Wright was thought to warrant an expensive contract just in case he figured out, for the first time, how to get major league hitters out. In 2005, the Yankees were prepared to go exactly as far in the playoffs as Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon could take them--and what do you know, it wasn't all that far.

Hmm...A healthy, 28-year old left-hander who will win 19 games every 20 times you give him four runs to work with. And the Yankees declined to share bids with the likes of Texas and San Francisco? Okey dokey then.