Washington announced today that it has made a minor league contract offer to prized free agent Barry Zito.
Washington’s deal is supposed to be guaranteed provided Zito makes the opening day roster. If he does, Zito is expected to make $800,000 on a contract filled with incentives. Zito will make $10,000 for making the All-Star team, $15,000 for winning 20 games and $20,000 if he wins the Cy Young Award.
“Zito knows what it’s like to work for a frugal organization,’’ says a well-placed source with no knowledge of the negotiations. “All he needs is a ball, a mound and a catcher, not to mention a yoga mat and a guitar.”
Zito’s handlers will be mulling over the offer during the holiday break. The Mets and Rangers have been considered the front-runners in the Zito sweepstakes before Washington’s offer.
Zito won 102 games as an Athletic in six full major league seasons. He threw more than 200 innings in each of those seasons. Known as having one of the game’s best curveballs, the southpaw Zito also brings a changeup, slider and a four-seam fastball to the table.
Zito would certainly anchor Washington’s rotation.
“Don’t let the $100 million offers fool you. Zito is a practical guy who has done very well with his money. $800,000 or $100 million, it doesn’t matter,” says the source. “We’ve also heard that Washington is trying to market the game towards the ladies more by bringing in some more attractive players, literally and figuratively, which would explain why they haven’t signed Rich Garces to a deal.”
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