Tuesday, July 08, 2008
THE BARRY BONDS QUESTION
A story leaked to ESPN that the Red Sox were internally discussing picking up free agent outfielder Barry Bonds. The homerun king has been sitting around all season, waiting for a team to call him up and stuff his roided out body into one of their uniforms. For the Red Sox, several factors may just make Barry Bonds a perfect acquisition, as bone chilling as that sounds.
David Ortiz's injury is the main reason why Bonds' name is even being mentioned by Red Sox brass to each other. Ortiz has been out of the lineup for over a month now, and his power at the core of the batting order has been sorely missed. Although he took batting practice on Monday with no reports of complications, his return is still a long way off. If he makes a return at all.
Without Ortiz, the Sox lineup dissolves into an entirely new entity. Instead of Ortiz-Ramirez at 3 and 4, it will be Drew, or Lowell. This also means that the 5 and 6 spots suffer. Instead of black holes like Varitek and Lugo at 8 and 9, they have to hit closer to the top of the order.
Bonds could potentially fix this. He doesn't hit for average anymore, but his bloated OBP (.480 last season) more than makes up for that. And his power is still there (28 HRs in 126 games).
Furthermore, he wouldn't cost that much. He made $15.5M last year, but pro-rated for 1/3 of a season and it's very affordable for the Red Sox. He also wouldn't cost anything in terms of prospects given up in a trade. The Braves had to trade 5 prospects to get Mark Teixera last year, including #1 catching prospect in the universe Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
The big questions with Bonds are his clubhouse attitude and his legal issues. But the only outspoken critic of his with a Red Sox uniform is/was Curt Schilling, but he's not going to be around. Plus, he owns a McNabb jersey, Forget him.
This is a veteran team. Guys like Lowell, Varitek, Youkilis, Drew, Wakefield, and Timlin either won't be bothered by Bonds' B.S., or won't tolerate it. Manny won't even realize that Barry isn't David Ortiz.
And if he does cause a problem or doesn't perform, then it's an easy cut.
Look, I don't like Barry Bonds. I think it's a shame that he has more homers than anyone else in history. Seeing him in a Red Sox uniform would be painful. But not as painful as watching Tampa Bay win the AL East, or losing to the Yankees 5-4.
And if you have delicate sensibilities out there, and enjoy standing on moral high ground, I'd like to ask you how you feel about Randy Moss. Corey Dillon. Rodney Harrison. Bryan Cox. Zdeno Chara (for the 2 Bruins fans out there). Tell me you wouldn't go nuts if Bonds hit a walk off Grand Slam against Mariano Rivera.
Hopefully, Ortiz's wrist will heal and this speculation will be forgotten. But if things don't go well with Big Papi, it's time to bring in the Big Cheat.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer