Zito the last nine-figure domino to fall

Just as earthquakes have aftershocks, $100 million contracts generate ripples that are manifested in forehead slaps and expressions of "Say what?"

Take Barry Zito's new deal with San Francisco. Even baseball executives who are home this week bonding with their families must have felt compelled to turn up the volume when news reports began popping up on car radios and television news crawls.

Zito is a fine pitcher, as evidenced by his Cy Young Award, 102-63 career record and consistent workloads in Oakland. He leads the majors with 208 starts since 2001 and ranks third behind Livan Hernandez and Mark Buehrle with 1,337 innings pitched during that span.