By Mike Steffanos
In today's Daily News, John Harper speculates that yesterday's trade where the Rangers picked up Brandon McCarthy from the White Sox signals that Texas has become discouraged over their chances of signing Barry Zito.
Harper quotes Texas GM Jon Daniels on the Rangers growing feeling that Zito will not pitch for them next season:
At this point I'm not optimistic about that. I don't really want to get into specifics of our conversations, other than to say I'm not terribly encouraged by our chances.
While no one completely discounts the Rangers and their owner Tom Hicks, this could mean that Zito's price tag for whoever signs him might be at least palatable, if not quite reasonable. Of course, Harper alludes to "whispers" that Zito prefers to remain on the west coast, which would favor San Francisco and Seattle.
In any case, Harper sites a Mets source on the implications Texas falling out of the chase:
Hopefully this means the price is staying within reason. With Texas there was always the concern that they might blow everybody else out of the water (with an offer). If that's not the case, it has to improve our chances.
Either way, I'm sure that Scott Boras will find a way to keep enough teams in the chase -- or at least appearing to be in -- to keep the suspense going right into the new year. Oh, well ...
Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate the holiday.