Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bonds Contract Purgatory Continues

Murray Chass over at The New York Times speculates that the Bonds deal, still unsigned, may reflect the Giants' sudden sobriety (a seven-year, $126M deal for another player will do that to you):

Bonds’s $16 million contract created more issues for the Giants, but by the end of last week Bonds had backed off many of his stands and was prepared to accept the Giants’ positions. The Giants, however, suddenly slowed the talks, and a resolution has not been reached.

A lawyer on the Bonds side said yesterday that they suspect the Giants, reacting to negative news media views in the Bay Area, are exploring ways of getting out of the contract. When an official on the management side with knowledge of the talks was asked yesterday if the deal could blow up, he said, “It’s possible.”

Brian Sabean, the Giants’ general manager, did not return a telephone call yesterday seeking comment on the contract circumstances. His secretary, told what the call was about, said she did not think Sabean would comment.

Given the chance to comment, Jeff Borris, Bonds’s agent, didn’t. “I can’t really comment on that situation right now,” he said when asked about the contract talks. Could the deal blow up? “I can’t comment on that,” he said.

Fascinating. Should this blow up, it would be unfortunate from a Dodger fan's perspective. Do the deal, Sabean!

Chass goes on to address the Bonds sycophant stickler, a clause which apparently Bonds has now conceded:

One of the thorniest issues was Bonds’s entourage. The Giants erred five years ago by including a provision in Bonds’s five-year, $90 million contract that allowed his personal trainer and assorted other associates access to the Giants’ clubhouse. Bonds wanted to continue that arrangement, but the Giants adamantly opposed it.

To get around Commissioner Bud Selig’s rule banning such people from the clubhouse, Bonds proposed that the Giants hire the members of his entourage so they would be club employees and legally allowed in the clubhouse. The Giants had no intention of agreeing to that idea, and even if they had, Selig would have seen through the subterfuge and voided the contracts.

Bonds, however, gave up his effort to retain his entourage rights and will be naked in the clubhouse this year, if the contract is completed. Bonds made or was prepared to make other concessions as well. The two sides seemed to be a document away from completing their agreement, but they remain in disagreement.

What's another six to eight guys in the clubhouse? Do the deal, Sabean!

The remaining issue could be who needs whom more. At this juncture, the Giants would not have a replacement for Bonds as their cleanup hitter and left fielder, but they could still seek one in a trade.

Without the Giants, would Bonds have any way of hitting the 22 home runs he needs to break Hank Aaron’s career record? Would another team offer him a contract? If any other teams had been interested in Bonds, they have probably moved past that point.

Oh, we'd take him on the Dodgers. For $100K/year. We have a nice spot for him over in right field, a Dodger Dog's throw distance from our brand-spanking new All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion.


Orel said...

Don't forget this tidbit from that article: "Bonds hasn't signed with the Giants; Drew hasn't signed with the Red Sox. That prompts a thought. If both contracts were to fall through, the Red Sox could sign Bonds to play left field and move Manny Ramírez back to his original position in right."