Devil's Advocate: Handicapping the Barry Bonds Sweepstakes

Aaron KeelSenior Analyst IIISeptember 23, 2007

IconIt's the end of an era—Barry Bonds' days as a San Francisco Giant are over.

As reported on Bonds' own website and quickly confirmed by Giants management, Bonds was informed Friday that his services will no longer be need in San Francisco.

So where does that leave the all-time home run king?

Bonds has made it clear he wants to play again next season. But what about the season after that?

With the slugger inching towards his mid-40s, you have to believe another season playing left field in the National League would be his last.

If Bonds were willing to DH in the AL, on the other hand, he could play two or three more years—and challenge the record of 868 home runs set by Sadaharu Oh with the Yomiuri Giants.

That, however, is a big if.

Bonds has said he doesn’t want to be a DH. With his declining skills, though, he may not have a choice.

And which team would give him the chance?

That, my friends, is the 64-million-dollar question.

Let's take a look at the top three contenders...



Why It Would Work

-Location. Location. Location. Oakland is just a quick drive over the Bay Bridge from Bonds' current place of business.

-The fans would welcome of him.

-The A's took a chance on Milton Bradley.

-The team is just one season removed from an ALCS appearance.

-Look what it did for Frank Thomas.

Why It Wouldn't Work

-Bonds would have to take a drastic pay cut.

-Small-market team equals small-market attendance.

-Look what it did for Mike Piazza.


While Bonds could put more butts in the seats, his salary would be a deal-breaker. If Barry's willing to take the pay cut, the odds improve to about 1:1.


Why It Would Work

-Bonds would prefer to play on the West Coast.

-Bonds would provide serious protection for Vlad Guerrero.

-The Angels are consistent contenders.

-Playing near Disneyland, the “Happiest Place on Earth,” could cheer Barry up.

Why It Wouldn't Work

-The Angels don't need any more steroid issues after the Gary Matthews Jr. fiasco.

-What would fan reaction be?

-More importantly, what would Vlad's reaction be?


If not for the Matthews Jr. incident, the odds would be much better. For Bonds, the location and team quality would be huge pluses. Salary could be problem.



Why It Would Work

-Yanks can definitely afford Barry's salary.

-Fans in N.Y. have already made their peace with the steroid issue—see Jason Giambi.

-Bonds could easily hit 40-plus home runs and drive in 110-plus runs in the Yankees lineup.

-Barry wants to play for a winner.


Why It Wouldn't Work

-Three words: New York Media.

-Brian Cashman may be unwilling to sign another high-priced veteran.

-Fans likely excused Giambi as the lesser of two evils.

-Location could be problem for Bonds.



Cashman may be willing to roll the dice if he thinks Bonds can help bring the title back to the Bronx. Endorsements from Jeter/Torre/A-Rod could make all the difference.

In the end, no one knows for sure where Bonds will end up.  Until he does sign, we can debate the merits of each contender until we’re all blue in the face.

But one thing’s for sure—wherever he ends up Barry will always be in the one place he knows best:

The eye of the storm.


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