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Stark on the Zito situation

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Jayson Stark has some updates on the Zito situation, indicating that most folks still seem to think that Zito will end up with the Mets.

According to Stark, the sticking point is years...the Mets don't want to go more than four, while Zito wants six. And per Stark, both Texas and Seattle are leery of going past four years for Zito.

I'm really torn about the Zito situation...I think the $100 million being talked about is way too much for Zito, and I'm not sure how well he'll play in Texas. On the other hand, he's a lefty, he's durable, and he's still relatively young...he may not be a true ace, but then, the true aces aren't hitting the market.

I also think that an element that can't be discounted is the political side of this...I think that Hicks is concerned about a fanbase that has lost interest in the Rangers the past couple of years, who sees a team that won't step up and get the pitching it needs to compete, and who sees the stagnant attendance as a reflection of that. I think Hicks is also well aware of the fact that his highest-profile players are reluctant to commit to the team long-term so long as it conducts itself like a mid-market team happy to win 84 games a season.

So I think that the organization may be willing to pay Zito more than he's really worth in terms of performance, in order to energize the fan base (and thus sell more tickets, thus making the contract more palatable) and to show the players that the team is serious about winning.

And I think the organization is trying to walk a fine line, committing to trying to win now -- which would result in the franchise reaping significant benefits in terms of increased revenues -- while not selling the farm, since I am reasonably certain that Daniels, Levine, et al are well aware that if the team goes into the ditch in 2007, the Rangers are likely headed towards a major rebuild job.