Keith Law chimes in on the ESPN Insider website (costs $$$):
[F]rom the club's perspective, this is one of the worst contracts ever signed, for its length, for its annual salary, and for the entire misguided notion that Zito is this good a pitcher. He's been the beneficiary of a favorable ballpark with lots of foul territory, a favorable schedule, great bullpen support and outstanding outfield defense -- and he's not going to receive either the defense or the relief help in San Francisco.
The contract boggles the mind for a number of reasons:
• Why would anyone give seven or more years to a starting pitcher? Because Kevin Brown and Mike Hampton worked out so well?
• Why would anyone give such a long contract to a pitcher whose fastball has already shown signs of deterioration, and who just posted the second-worst strikeout rate of his career?
• How did Barry Zito, who led the AL in walks last year, end up with the reputation of one of the best pitchers in baseball? Because he won a Cy Young five years ago -- one that probably should have gone to Pedro Martinez?