Where does Barry Bonds go from here?
By Tom Covill PA SportsTicker Staff Writer
What’s next for the new king? Apparently, baseball next season but not for the San Francisco Giants.
Through his web site Friday afternoon, Barry Bonds announced that the Giants informed him Thursday he would not be back with the team in 2008. In a press conference a few hours later, San Francisco confirmed that the free agent outfielder would not be back.
So if not San Francisco, where might Bonds play next season?
Considering the fact that he is a liability in the field at the age of 43, Bonds is most likely to draw offers from American League teams who would make him a designated hitter.
Not to be forgotten, of course, is the grand jury sitting in San Francisco investigating Bonds for perjury. With their term having been extended six months this summer and set to expire over the winter, perspective suitors should wait to see whether or not the alleged steroid user is going to be indicted.
Here are five places that don’t have a set designated hitter in place for next season that could take a chance on Bonds with reasons why it would work, and reasons it would not:
1. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
WHY IT WORKS: The Angels are the obvious destination because they are in a constant search for a power hitter to compliment Vladimir Guerrero in the middle of the order. Anaheim currently ranks 13th in the American League with just 80 home runs, and if there’s one thing Bonds knows how to do, it’s put the ball in the seats.
Plus, the Angels have the most money of any potential suitor.
WHY IT DOESN’T: Manager Mike Scioscia likes to run and won’t stand for a player in his lineup that doesn’t take the extra base on a single. Bonds, who was one of the most prolific base stealers in the league in his younger days, is three or four knee surgeries past being able to take any extra bases.
2. The Oakland Athletics.
WHY IT WORKS: Bonds fits perfectly into the “Moneyball” philosophy, consistently leading the league in on-base and slugging percentage. He would make the third slugger on the downside of his career that the A’s have slotted in as the DH, after Frank Thomas in 2006 and Mike Piazza this season.
Plus, Bonds would have a short commute across the bay from his current home in San Francisco.
WHY IT DOESN’T: No money. While Oakland has seen its payroll increase over the past few seasons, the purse strings for the small-market club are probably stretched as tight as they possibly will go. And after a down-year this season, general manager Billy Beane has more holes than just DH to fill.
Also, career minor leaguer Jack Cust has emerged as a power threat at DH, providing the A’s with those precious walks and homers at a discount rate.
3. The Seattle Mariners.
WHY IT WORKS: It’s safe to say at this point that the Mariners swung and missed on both Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, and a down year from Raul Ibanez this season has left the club without a consistent run producer in the middle of the order. Having just signed Ichiro to a five-year extension, Seattle is saying they want to win, and soon.
Plus, it’s the Northwest, where the pesky media won’t hound Bonds as much as other places.
WHY IT DOESN’T: If the Mariners need anything, it’s starting pitching. Bonds can do a lot of things with the bat, but he can’t give Seattle seven solid innings and get the ball to that great bullpen.
4. The Baltimore Orioles.
WHY IT WORKS: The Orioles need to make themselves relevant again, and Bonds would certainly get people talking. Baltimore needs a slugger - and Bonds fits the bill.
WHY IT DOESN’T: Veteran front office man Andy MacPhail was brought on this summer to remake the team, and adding an aging slugger probably isn’t the best way to begin a rebuilding process.
Also, after the Rafael Palmeiro debacle two years ago, the Orioles probably aren’t anxious to add any other players who have steroid allegations trailing behind.
5. The Minnesota Twins.
WHY IT WORKS: Like the rest of the teams on this list, the Twins don’t exactly light up the scoreboard on a nightly basis, and with Torii Hunter likely to leave via free agency this winter, Bonds would provide a nice compliment to Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer in the middle of the order.
Plus, Cy Young winner Johan Santana will be in the final year of his contract next season, and the pressure to take the next step and get to the World Series will be huge.
WHY IT DOESN’T: Like Oakland, the Twins don’t have any money. Like the Angels, Minnesota loves players that take the extra base and are willing to give themselves up for the team through sacrifice bunts and hitting behind runners. Bonds doesn’t do those things.