Interesting news coming out of Tampa, where it appears the Rays are considering signing Barry Bonds. Gotta say, I didn’t see this one coming, and it’s worth wondering how serious Bonds would be about lacing up his shoes for this group.
The one thing we would know for sure if this deal comes to fruition is that Bonds cares far more about collecting his 3,000th hit than he is in pursuing his first World Series ring. The Rays are no longer the dregs of the American League East, but short of a miracle, they aren’t about to win this division, either.
Buster Olney, an ESPN baseball analyst who is as respected as anyone in baseball, thinks a Bonds addition would be a good move, and lists four reasons why he feels that way. Here would be my two main arguments against Olney’s reasoning.
1. Bonds won’t play for chump change — the figure I keep hearing is that he won’t settle for anything less than $10 million — and the Rays aren’t rich. Moreover, I don’t think he’d be as much of a gate attraction as people think, especially in Tampa. Much of the clinentele for the Rays is the retired crowd, and it seems the older generation is more inclinced to take a stand against Bonds’ indictment for perjury by not buying tickets.
2. Yes, Tampa Bay’s young and developing hitters could learn patience from Bonds, but they would also learn how to thumb their noses at any authority. Simply put, Bonds is a clubhouse cancer (hate to use that word, but it fits) on teams that aren’t in contention, so it’s not hard to see him having a negative impact on Tampa’s young players.
The fact that the Rays are even a consideration indicates that Bonds is getting itchy, and that is surprising. Believe me, come July some team will decide it needs just one more bat to get to the promised land, and then the offers will come. I would argue that Bonds will have a better opportunity to land in a playoff-type situation if he continues to wait. Obviously, we’re about to find out whether he’s as patient off the field as he is on it.