One source said that the Rangers expect Zito to sign with the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers offered Zito a six-year, $84 million contract. They also added a vesting option for $15 million for a seventh year with a $4 million buyout. The option would have kicked in if Zito pitched 200 innings in the sixth year of the contract. But apparently it wasn't enough to lure Zito to Texas.
"I enjoyed getting to know Barry," said Rangers owner Tom Hicks. "I think highly of him as a player and as a person. I wish him well with his new team. I am glad he is not pitching with one of our division opponents. I am comfortable that we made a very strong offer."
Zito -- who resides in San Francisco -- has pitched for the Oakland Athletics his entire career and has chosen to remain on the West Coast. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and the Yankees were all interested in Zito.
According to The Associated Press, Zito will receive the largest contract for a pitcher in baseball history -- a seven-year, $126 million deal.
Zito's agreement, reached late Wednesday night, includes an $18 million option for 2014 that could increase the value to $144 million. Zito must pass a physical for the contract to be finalized.
Zito's deal ties for the sixth largest overall, matching the seven-year, $126 million extension agreed to this month by Toronto and center fielder Vernon Wells. Previously, the largest contract for a pitcher was Mike Hampton's $121 million, eight-year deal with the Colorado Rockies before the 2001 season.
The Rangers continue to have discussions with agent Gregg Clifton about free-agent pitcher Mark Mulder, but he is coming off shoulder surgery and is not expected to be ready until the All-Star break.
Without Zito, the Rangers are left with a rotation of Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Robinson Tejeda and Brandon McCarthy, who was acquired last week from the Chicago White Sox. That leaves one spot in the rotation to be filled in Spring Training. The likely candidates are Kameron Loe, John Koronka, Edinson Volquez and Josh Rupe.
Club officials indicate they have little interest in the free-agent starting pitchers left on the market.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.