While spring training is just around the corner, we're still in the last gasps of baseball's offseason. That can mean only one thing, wild speculation! With people such as Sammy Sosa, David Wells, Bartolo Colon, Shawn Green and Mike Piazza still unsigned. I thought I'd take a look at where the biggest name (and head) of the list might end up...Barry Bonds
This is not intended to be a post about the character of Barry, or what he may (and more than likely did) put into his body. Bottom line is that Barry was a very good baseball player that may have used steroids to make him the home run champ. He still hits very well, and is someone to fear in the batter’s box. A player like this could be very helpful to a team on the fringe of being a contender. I am not writing this to defend or attack Barry. That’s another post for another time. This is just about a big name veteran player and where he could end up
We now return you to our regularly scheduled post…
Barry’s knees are torn to shreds, and that will take him out of the running (no pun interned) for a lot of the NL teams, who can't give up a roster spot for a guy that basically amounts to a professional pinch-hitter at this point of his career. But in the AL, Barry could survive. Barry says he wants to play for a winner, but the top 4 in the AL already have an everyday DH (Sheffield, Hafner, Ortiz, and Giambi). Still Barry is very close to 3000 hits and becoming the MLB leader in runs and extras base hits. So one would think he might sacrifice a winner to get playing time to achieve those goals. Maybe even help a second tier team make a pennant run. Well, where can he go? Here are some options.
The Serious ones:
Yesterday they finalized a deal to get Eric Bedard. Bedard is Canadian for Johan Santana. With Felix Hernandez, that gives the M's rotation one of the best 1-2 combos in the league, if they both stay healthy. The spent a ton of money on Jose Vidro to be the DH. That money got them 6 HRs and 59 RBI in 147 games. Bonds hit 28 HRs with 148 less plate appearances.
They gave Sammy Sosa a chance, why not Barry? Sosa was not re-signed because he did not want to take a reduced role. The Rangers have two very promising young catchers in Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (my spell check exploded after typing that one in). But you can only play one at a time. Last year there was talk of Guillening Jarrod into a first baseman. The offseason acquisitions of Ben Broussard and Chris Shelton (who was just designated for assignment) seem to show the Rangers wanting to keep Salty behind the plate. That would lead me to believe that Laird and Jarrod would be shuffling between the catcher spot and DH. If I were newly hired Ranger president Nolan Ryan, I’d seriously think about trading one of those catchers for a quality pitcher, and filling the DH slot with Bonds.
The past two offseasons have seen GM Billy Beane bring in Frank Thomas and Mike Piazza. Thomas had a revival at the plate and turned in into big money in Toronto. Piazza was hurt for half the year and is now unemployed. Location wise this would make sense, seeing as the Barry would not have to pack to play across the bay. One hurdle to this is that the A's are in "rebuilding mode" after trading Dan Haren and Nick Swisher in the offseason. One of the reasons Bonds was not re-signed by the Giants is because they franchise was focusing on a "youth movement" just like the A's. Beane has shown in the past that he will be willing to sign anyone, as long as he can get them at a value, but would Bonds ego allow him to be signed for less then market value to play for a non-contender. That depends on how desperate he is to play
The Not-So-Serious Ones:
Having shipped out Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes in the offseason, the Rays have a hole in the depth chart at Jerk-Ass. Plus he could join the likes of Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff who hit milestones (3000 hits for Boggs and 400 HRs for McGriff) in a Tampa uniform. Carlos Pena hit 46 HR for Tampa last year, maybe there's something in that Dome air?
Kansas City Royals:
Why not? They might actually sell out games based on people coming to the park to boo him.
Chicago White Sox:
This wouldn't last long as Ozzie would have Bonds practicing bunts on the first day.
St Louis Cardinals:
With Ryan Franklin, Troy Glaus, Rick Ankiel, and now Juan Gonzalez on the roster, Bonds would fit right in (allegedly).