Last week, espn.com reported that Barry Bonds may still be seeking employment:
Say what you want about the guy, but the last season he played (2007) was truly awesome. Just look at these numbers for Bonds, who finished the season at age 43:
"I'm not retiring," Bonds said Saturday night. "I'm not retiring."
He finished 6th in baseball in wOBA and 1st in the NL in OPS+ (for players with 400+ PA's), and yet no team was willing to sign him. I find this strange. Yes, he's one of the top villians in baseball for various reasons, most of them justified. His placement on a team instantly increases media scrutiny and ESPN's Pedro Gomez is dispatched to follow his every move. He's a pain in the ass. But is the headache of Bonds's presence that much worse than the circus following Manny Ramirez? I say no. Did Bonds use PED's? Almost certainly. But so did Paul LoDuca, Todd Hundley and Lenny Dykstra, players who are generally well regarded by Met fans.
After a year away from the game, 44 year-old Bonds would probably not put up the same numbers as he did in 2007. But is it that far off to think he could produce at a .250/.390/.480 clip? His defense in '07 wasn't as bad as I expected. Bad, but not any worse than Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell or Adam Dunn. It too would worsen obviously, but to what extent? Would Bonds consider a 1-year, $6-7 million contract? There is a Marcel projection for Bonds in 2009, and it is not very optimistic about his chances of playing much - 248 PA's, 11 HR, .887 OPS. Also, he's solid vs. LHP: .985 OPS for his career, .991 in 2007.
There is basically a 0.01% chance the Mets sign Barry Bonds. It's barely even worth discussing. But 400 PA's from Bonds in LF in 2009 could be of some value to a team - and it wouldn't require a 3 year, $30+ million commitment.
***EDIT***: An interesting read today by Jack Marshall at The Hardball Times (via Rob Neyer), where he discusses the ethical implications of signing Bonds. He writes:
I have no problem with the belief that signing Bonds is unethical because he is a cheat. A person is entitled to their opinion in this matter. My problem is this:
Are baseball commentators really so disconnected from the ethical imperatives of the game? Do they really not grasp what signing Barry Bonds, for any amount of money or no amount at all, would have meant?... But just as, in Sir Thomas More’s words, "it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world," signing Bonds in order to make the playoffs would have been a dubious and foolish deal for any team, even if one buys the questionable assumption that he would have played well enough to hold up his end of it.
A team could employ one of the many mediocre, borderline or journeyman players whose names appeared in the Mitchell Report without making the implied statement that it was endorsing and rewarding a cheat. Signing Brendan Donnelly, Paul Lo Duca or Paul Byrd would not be seen as an enlistment in the Dark Side..Bonds was a different matter entirely, if for no other reason than he had ridden performance enhancement drugs to the pinnacle of baseball’s records.Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems like he says it's OK to sign Lo Duca or Byrd because they're mediocre players, but it's not OK to sign Bonds because he is one of the best players ever. I'm not an ethicist but this doesn't make sense to me. If you are against signing Barry Bonds because he is a cheater, that's fine with me. But don't simultaneously be OK with signing Lo Duca, Donnelly or Byrd. This is not ethics - it's hypocrisy.