Barry Bonds and Detroit Tigers Are a Perfect Match

Paul RangelContributor IMay 20, 2008

The all-time leader in home runs is unemployed. The Detroit Tigers possess the most underachieving team in the majors, as well as the second-worst record in the American League. These two need each other.

Alright, so he can't take the mound every fifth day, or replace Zach Miner in the bullpen, but he could stabilize their lineup, and maybe they could score enough runs until their pitching comes around. (If it comes around.)

With all of the talent the Tigers have, they should be scoring runs more consistently. To be shutout seven times already is ridiculous. They shouldn't get shutout seven times all season. I think it all points to one thing: pressure. Mainly, they haven't handled the weight of heavy expectations very well at all. Bonds would change that.

As soon as he steps on the scene, all of the attention will go on him for a while. There will be a small circus for a while, but it will take the attention away from everybody else on the team, and maybe that will finally get them to relax and just play ball.

Bonds might be an asshole, and he might alienate some of the guys on his team, but he doesn't mind the spotlight. He can still play ball, too.

He turned 43 last year, and his OBP was .480. Nobody on the Tigers is even close to that. His patience at the plate would be a welcome sight, as would his .565 SLG percentage (also higher than anybody on Detroit right now). He might clog up the bases once he reaches, but at least he'll get on.

Matt Joyce has been playing decent ball since being called up from the minors to replace Jacque Jones, but he can't be counted on for the whole season. Bonds would give them the left-handed bat they need. He could DH, and they could leave Sheffield in the field where he says he wants to be.

The best part about rolling the dice on Bonds is that if it doesn't work out or he becomes a distraction, they can just cut him. If he really wants to play, they can dictate the terms of the deal, and there's no way it'd be longer than one year.

Jim Leyland handled him once before in Pittsburgh, and still speaks fondly of him (even though they had that classic confrontation in Spring Training). Leyland has also recently said he's out of answers. Why not try to shake things up? He might just rejuvenate this team, and get the only thing that's missing in his career: a World Series ring.