Why Barry Bonds Should Be a New York Yankee

Matthew GoodmanAnalyst IJuly 25, 2008

I know what some of you are going to say already: Barry Bonds did steroids, he's a horrible person, the New York media is going to go crazy, etc.

But none of that really matters. None of that impacts anything on the field. 

Yankees’ management owes it to the Bombers' fans to do everything within the rules to win. Right now, that means signing Barry Bonds, plugging him into left field, and ignoring the media. Here's why.

Hideki Matsui is likely out for the season, and it is obvious that Jorge Posada is not going to be at full strength until he gets surgery, either this year or next. That leaves the Yankees lineup a bit thinner than normal. 

If you've been watching recently, they have been trotting out a lineup with Melky Cabrera, Justin Christian, and Jose Molina occupying the bottom three spots in the lineup. These are not good hitters. 

I don't think I need to explain how bad Christian and Molina are at hitting. But as for those who think Melky can hit, here's a number: .654. That's his OPS this season. 

He has a career OPS of .710. Those are, as one of my professors used to say, some ugly, ugly numbers. And while it won't be Melky that ends up benched, taking Justin Christian out of the equation would help provided depth and stability the lineup.

As for other options, trading for a rental doesn't seem likely to happen. The asking price for Matt Holliday is too high and ditto with Raul Ibanez. The Pirates want premium talent for Xavier Nady and ditto for Jason Bay. 

In any case, as good as these guys are, they aren't Barry Bonds, at least not offensively. Plus, the Yankees have committed to their youth movement. Why lose prospects for a rental when you can just spend money? It is, after all, the Yankees way.

I want to break down exactly how good Barry Bonds is, just in case people don't realize how productive old "Giant Noggin" is, even in his advanced age. Last year, Barry Bonds posted an OPS+ of 170 in 126 games at AT&T Park, a field that had a HR factor of .808, good for 24th in the league in HR rates. 

Yankee Stadium was seventh, with a HR factor of 1.153. 

This article here at the Bleacher Report has a good discussion of exactly how hard it is to hit homers at AT&T Park. Moving Bonds to Yankees Stadium would be like putting Joel Zumaya in a grade-school dodgeball game. 

There would be tears, but they wouldn't be his.

Least you think I would ignore his defensive impact, Bonds was only slightly below average in the field last year, with a FRAA (fielding runs above average) of -6. 

Granted, he only played 94 games there, but his performance the year before was similar (99 games, -6). 

Compare this to Manny Ramirez's spectacular defense of -13 runs in 112 games, and you start to realize that, while Bonds wasn't even average, he was better than Manny. 

And if Manny is good enough to start in LF for the Red Sox, I figure that Bonds is fine for the Yankees. Plus, he won't assault the Yankees' employees. Probably.

So the on-field benefits are all there. But I know some of you still think it's a bad idea, and that the Yankees would be universally reviled for bringing back one of the game's worst characters. 

Thing is, the people who would hate the Yankees for this move probably already hate the Yankees. Sure, Red Sox fans will boo and jeer and mock the "Evil Empire." But they're going to do that anyway. 

My girlfriend (a devout Padres fan) will go on at length about how much she hates the Yankees and how they try to solve all of their problems with money. But she's going to do that anyway. 

It doesn't matter to the Yankee haters what the Yankees do. They're going to hate them anyway, just for existing. So what do you do when faced with people who will hate you anyway? Just ignore them and do what needs to be done.

As for Yankee fans? They'll just enjoy winning. Because in the end, that's what fans love, and that's exactly what the Yankees will do with Barry Bonds.