Zito a Top-50 Earning Athlete

Zito Top 50

This is a lot easier to write given that he's is performing at an average-ish level in 2012, but it's still mind-boggling: Barry Zito was named one of the 50 highest-earning athletes in America recently.

Sports Illustrated did their annual list of the 50 biggest moneymakers in American sports, and Zito checks in at No. 36.

Actually, it's "T-36" -- Zito is tied with Carl Crawford, which is kind of awkward considering the performance level from both guys thus far in their huge contracts.

Also making things a little easier: Zito is down on the list! In 2011, Zito was 33rd on SI's ranking. So people got paid, I guess.

"Married actress Amber Seyer in the offseason, his ERA has been lower than during any of his first five seasons with the Giants, including last year's career-high 5.87," SI notes.

The magazine points out that Zito made $19,000,000 in salary this season and, along with $1,000,000 in endorsements, the left-hander sits at an even $20 million for 2012.

Even with his strong-ish performance this year, that doesn't quite seem fair.

On the bright side, at least the Giants are playing well: there are three Phillies ahead of Zito, as well as a Twin (Joe Mauer) and, most inexplicably, Vernon Wells checking in at No. 17.

So even though he's ridiculously overpaid, it could be argued that Zito isn't the worst value in baseball anymore. Yay!

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