Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We are now two weeks into spring training, and all-time home run king Barry Bonds is still looking for a job.
There have been a few nibbles, but nothing seems to suggest that Bonds will be showing up in a major league camp anytime soon. Heck, his agent has even floated Japan as a possibility if something can't be worked out over here.
While I am not sure how viable an option that is, it just goes to show you that the interest is clearly not there in the majors.
From a pure baseball standpoint, Bonds can help a team...well, an American League team, anyway. Despite missing nearly 40 games last year, Bonds hit 28 home runs in 340 at-bats. Even at the age of 43, there are still few figures, if any, who are more intimidating at the plate than Bonds.
But we all know there is much more to it than that. Not only do you get the media circus that is certain to follow Bonds, but there is that pesky little perjury indictment hanging over his head. Not to mention that he could potentially rip apart a clubhouse with his charming personality. And without a bat in his hands, Bonds is about as useful as a third armpit.
Despite missing nearly 40 games last year, Bonds hit 28 home runs.
Other than that, he would be a welcome addition to any club.
The Tampa Bay Rays are reportedly kicking around the idea of signing Bonds. I guess it makes sense for them, to a degree. He will sell tickets, that is for sure, and in case you haven't noticed, there are plenty of empty seats inside of Tropicana Field, where the Rays averaged just 17,148 fans last year.
By all accounts, though, Tampa is a team that could be on the rise thanks to young players such as Scott Kazmir, B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, and Evan Longoria. There is an abundance of wealth in their farm system as well.
Do you really want to bring Bonds in and disrupt all that? Chances are Tampa is still a few years away, and when they do start winning, Bonds will be long gone.
Is one year of ticket sales worth all the extra nonsense that may come with it? Absolutely. Potential only goes so far. You have to bring the fans in first, and Bonds will do that.
I don't think Bonds' ego would let him sign in a place like Tampa anyway, so its all probably a moot point. But he may have no other options.
If he was smart, Bonds would sign with any team that agrees to take him. Tampa, Florida, Minnesota, St. Louis, wherever. Go and be a good little soldier for a few months, do and say the right things and most importantly, stay healthy.
If you do that, some contender in the AL will trade for you at the deadline. Can't you just picture Bonds in Yankee pinstripes? I can't believe that hasn't happened yet, to be honest.
Let's be real here. Bonds' days in the field are numbered. He can't move around out there on a daily basis and expect to stay healthy. His knees just can't take it. The National League really can't be an option. He has to sign in the AL and be a designated hitter.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim always made the most sense to me. Vladimir Guerrero has been begging for a big bat to protect him, and they don't get much bigger than that of Bonds. But Angels' owner Arte Moreno just hasn't showed any interest.
Obviously, the perjury and obstruction trial is weighing on a lot of team's collective minds, but that whole process is moving along at a glacial place. It is not happening anytime soon, and it is not going to take place during the season. That recently unearthed typographical error surrounding the date of his failed steroids test all but ensured that.
Either way, though, there is going to be a team that is going to take a chance on him. Maybe it will be Tampa, maybe it won't, but I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that Bonds will be playing on a major league team at some point this year.
Bottom line is, Bonds can still play. Plus, you would think any team that signs him is going to be getting Bonds on his best behavior, as he tries to redeem whatever is left of his once-Hall of Fame legacy.
I think it is a chance worth taking.
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