"We're really excited to be associated with a premier pitcher like Barry Zito," Boras told ESPN Insider's Jerry Crasnick. "He's a guy in the prime of his career. He reminds me a lot of Greg Maddux in the early '90s. He's got dominance as a location and control pitcher, and he's durable and consistent at what he does."
Zito's principal appeal lies in his durability. From 2001-05, he led all big leaguers in starts and ranked fourth in innings pitched behind Livan Hernandez, Mark Buehrle and Bartolo Colon. But he is a fly-ball pitcher, meaning a spacious ballpark with a good defensive outfield is crucial to his success.
"He's pretty dependable," an AL personnel man said this spring. "You can count on him for innings. But I don't know if you roll him into Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium and he'll just shut them down. I don't think he's that kind of guy."
Boras said he hasn't spoken with Zito at length about plans for this offseason, when Zito will be one of the top free agent pitchers on the market along with Jason Schmidt.
"We're just working with him physically and mentally about what he does the rest of the season," Boras said. "When it gets around to what Barry does contractually at the end of the season, we'll talk about that then."
Zito is expected to command top dollar, and Boras has a history of landing large contracts for his clients. Last winter, Boras negotiated a five-year, $60 million contract extension for Texas Rangers' pitcher Kevin Millwood and a four-year, $52 million dollar for Johnny Damon with the New York Yankees.
Zito's numbers have cooled since he went 23-5 with a 2.75 ERA in his Cy Young season. In the past three-plus seasons, he has gone 47-42 with a 3.78 ERA.
From Oakland Offical website
An impending free agent, Zito has been dealing with trade rumors for three seasons, he said, so the latest round of speculation is nothing new.
What occupies his mind, the 28-year-old southpaw insists, are Oakland's 45-43 record, its deadlock with Texas for the American League West lead, and taking good care of himself.
"For me, it's about focusing on the A's, getting us back to the playoffs and staying healthy," Zito said. "I don't see me being traded. We're in first place. ... It's not like we're out of it. We've always had good second halves. If we can get hot, it's a good formula for us.
"I came up with the A's. They came out and said they're not going to negotiate [a contract extension] until the end of the year. I think that's good. It allows me to chill out, not worry about a contract hinging on what I do today."
Asked if he anticipates spending the rest of his career in the Bay Area, Zito said: "Anything's feasible. I haven't ruled out anything. We do have new ownership, guys who want to sign guys. These are great owners, baseball guys. They want to bring a new stadium to Oakland, with a winning team.
"Yeah, that's definitely feasible. You deal with stuff as it happens. I'm just focusing on wearing the green and gold. I've been hearing those trade rumors for three years. I don't pay attention to it.