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A seven-year contract for a starting pitcher.

Seven years, at $126 million. With an $18 million option for 2014 that could increase the total value to $144 million.

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Insanity.

And yet, if Barry Zito isn't worthy of the largest contract for a pitcher in baseball history, who is?

He'll give you more than 200 innings every season. And he's 102-63 in his career, with one Cy Young Award.

But still...

Johan Santana must be salivating.

It's hard to criticize the Orioles for not going hard after Zito, given the cost.

People close to Zito made it clear from the beginning that he wasn't coming to Baltimore. And I don't see Peter Angelos approving a seven-year contract for a pitcher. Four years makes him sweat. Seven years? No way.

Mike Hampton's eight-year, $121 million deal with the Colorado Rockies had been the most lucrative for a pitcher, and we all know how that turned out.

Suddenly, the Cubs look thrifty.

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