The Bay Area's other Barry is the new face of the San Francisco Giants -- now and well into the future.
Barry Zito and the Giants reached a preliminary agreement on the largest contract for a pitcher in baseball history, a $126 million, seven-year deal. Zito, 28, joins the Giants three weeks after the club came to terms on a $16 million, one-year contract with Barry Bonds for a 15th season.
Zito's father, Joe, and Zito's publicist, Kathy Jacobson, confirmed the deal yesterday, while the Giants were waiting for Zito to take a physical today before making things official. San Francisco planned to formally introduce the three-time All-Star sometime next week.
"I think it's a very, very good fit," Joe Zito said. "Truly, I am respectful of the owners who came forward and would believe in Barry to such a degree that they would go this far."
Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with a nasty curveball and eccentric personality, has never missed a start in his career.
"It's a huge piece of the puzzle as far as solidifying our rotation," fellow Giants lefty starter Noah Lowry said. "We have a couple of No. 1-caliber pitchers. I'm obviously going to be able to learn from him."
Zito's agreement, reached late Wednesday night, includes an $18 million option for 2014 with a $7 million buyout that could increase the value to $137 million. The option would become guaranteed if Zito pitches 200 innings in 2013, 400 combined over 2012 and 2013 or 600 combined from 2011-13. Zito also has a full no-trade clause.
The deal ties for the sixth largest overall, matching the $126 million, seven-year extension agreed to this month by Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells. Zito went 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA last season and has a 102-63 career record with a 3.55 ERA. Zito will lead a rotation that features Matt Cain, coming off a strong rookie season, Lowry, and Matt Morris.
"A lot of money," Zito's former Oakland teammate Mark Ellis said. "I was shocked. That's great for him. That's a good place for him. There couldn't be a better fit, I don't think."
If Wednesday's decision "is allowed to stand it will effectively repeal the Fourth Amendment for confidential electronic records," wrote Donald Fehr, executive director of the Players Association, in a statement yesterday.
The court's 2-1 ruling could help authorities pinpoint the source of steroids in professional baseball. It also could bolster the perjury case against Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who is under investigation for telling a grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Fehr said he was consulting with union attorneys to "determine what our next step should be in our fight to protect the constitutional rights, including the basic right to privacy, of our members."
Options include asking the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case with the same three judges, petitioning the court to hear the case with 15 judges or appealing to the US Supreme Court. Any appeal, even if unsuccessful, could delay the government from getting the records for months or more.