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Anyone Want Barry Bonds? Evidently, No

Update: Still no takers, though a couple more teams have weighed in and officially pulled themselves out of the running for the home run king.

Reds manager Dusty Baker says that he can't see where Bonds would possibly fit with the Reds, in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay.

The Pirates, on the other hand, could clearly use Bonds for a number of reasons. Think about it: A) he'd bring badly needed power to the lineup, B) he'd bring a reminder of the team's renaissance era in the late 90s and C) he'd sell a ton of tickets.

Well, evidently that's not good enough for Pittsburgh, despite the fact that Bonds agent, Jeff Borris, says his client would be willing to play for the major league minimum salary. Here's what team president Frank Coonelly said about Bonds in an online chat at MLB.com (via pirates.com) on Wednesday:

"Barry Bonds has had a great career and had many tremendous years in Pittsburgh, but we are not interested in inviting Barry to Spring Training. Instead, we are committed to the young players who are competing for outfield positions now in Bradenton."

Sure, the Pirates need to promote youth, but when have they not needed to promote youth? Do they really want to suggest that committing one outfield spot to a man who is, without a doubt, one of the best power hitters of all time wouldn't give the team a significant financial boost during a particularly tough recession? That seems ludicrous. Maybe the Pirates and every other major league organization want to keep Bonds in the sin bin because of his steroids abuse. They have every right to.

But if baseball teams want to reject Bonds for moral reasons, they should say they're not interested in him because of his ongoing legal issues. There's nothing wrong with that stance, and it just sounds ludicrous when teams like the Pirates and Reds act like they have better talent in their own camps already.That's patently untrue.

A couple of days ago, USA Today's Bob Nightengale talked to Barry Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, who said that Bonds hoped -- again -- to come back and play in 2009. Bonds is free to play because of the indefinite suspension of his trial, but there was no known suitor for his services and questionable interest in adding all the drama that Bonds brings with him.

Well, now we know that, at least among early teams surveyed, there isn't any interest. As we know from Chico over at Nationals Journal, Manny Acta laughed when asked if the team would be interested in adding Bonds, even with the massive power boost he would provide.

If the Nats were one team that obviously could have found a way to make room for Bonds bat, the Twins are another, and Minnesota could have a lot more to gain. Adding another power bat might be just what the Twins need for more offensive security in an AL Central that looks almost certain to be a year-long dogfight.

Well, that's not swaying Minnesota's management, with GM Bill Smith telling the Associated Press that his team isn't interested, either.

"I would tell you that I don't think it's a very good fit for us right now," the Twins general manager said. "We have five players for three outfield spots and a DH, and we like all five guys. It's just not a good fit for us."

So there you go. Two teams, two emphatic denials. The question remains: Will anyone be interested in Bonds? And if so, who? Could he be a midseason addition to a team that needs a push for the playoffs? What do folks think?

By Cameron Smith  |  March 5, 2009; 2:31 AM ET
Categories:  Nationals , Twins  
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Next: A-Rod Out Till May

Comments

You can put a fork in him, he's done.

He's sat out a year, not seeing live MLB pitching. At 42 you can't tell me that won't impact his ability to catch up to a fastball. Not that he couldn't get back into game shape after a couple of weeks, but as a mid-season addition (which is his best hope), teams wouldn't have that long to wait.

I seem to be one of the few who likes Bonds (even though he comes off as a complete ass) and wants to see him keep playing if he wants. But teams do have the right to not want the circus coming to town that follows him and they're exercising that right.

Pity, because last year he could have made a difference for several fringe teams for a low price but pride got the better of them.

Posted by: adampschroeder | March 5, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

The game of baseball is more than just hitting, and because of his loss of range Barry Bonds has become a defensive liability in left field. You could hide that with the DH slot in the American League, but I for one can't argue with the Pirates or any other National League team who choose not to put Bonds into their outfield.

Posted by: greggwiggins | March 5, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

His range factor was actually above average in 2006 and right around (but slightly below) average in 2007. I know he's not the best defensive OF available, but he's nowhere near the worst.

If he'd been signed going into 2008 the team would have had a guy coming off a 170 OPS+ (70% better offensively than an average MLBer) who was average or slightly below average in LF. And he probably would've only been a few million.

I'm just saying, if you look at the actual statistics of Barry Bonds then it's clear that teams aren't avoiding him because of talent but the distractions he'd bring, as Cameron mentioned.

But if I were a GM last year and my team was a borderline playoff contender mid-year, I probably would have made a call, ESPECIALLY if I was in the AL.

Or maybe the Twins, who lost the AL Central by 1 game, couldn't have used Bonds instead of their DH who hit a robust 272/335/471. Last time Bonds had a line like that was 1989. Or the Diamondbacks couldn't have taken a 1 year flyer with their OFs stinking up the joint? Or the Mets (who wouldn't have noticed the circus since they already had one in town)? The White Sox wouldn't have been better served signing Bonds than trading for Griffey?

Just saying.

Posted by: adampschroeder | March 5, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

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