NEW YORK -- Even after signing a contract, Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants might not agree on what it means.
Bonds' $15.8 million, one-year agreement contains a provision giving the club the right to void the deal if he is indicted, but the outfielder's agent says the language is unenforceable under baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
The unusual provision, included in the deal that was completed Monday night, is designed by the team to protect itself in case Bonds is charged in the federal government's steroids investigation. Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in a California federal prison because he has refused to testify whether Bonds committed perjury when he told a 2003 grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
In the contract, a list of criminal acts is spelled out in a section.
"Player acknowledges and agrees that an indictment for any criminal act under [that section] ... is proper grounds for termination of this contract," Bonds' contract states.
"Player also acknowledges and agrees that he will not grieve, appeal or otherwise challenge any club action to terminate this contract as a result of player's indictment for any criminal acts [specified] ... nor will he cause or authorize any third party, such as the Major League Baseball Players Association, to grieve, appeal or otherwise challenge any club action to terminate this contract as a result of players' indictment for any [specified] criminal acts."
The language in the contract was read to The Associated Press by a person with a copy of the agreement.
Complicating matters, Bonds' contract was not approved by the commissioner's office because it contained a personal-appearance provision, a baseball executive said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because those details had not been made public.
Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, said late Tuesday the team was redrafting the agreement and sending him a revised version by express mail for Bonds to review and sign.
Borris said the additional language in Bonds' contract would be unenforceable if the matter were litigated because baseball's collective bargaining agreement would take precedence. Because of that, Borris said the inclusion of the added provision is meaningless.
"Although it is not my policy to comment on the specifics of an individual player's contract, the reporting that Barry will allow the Giants to get out of his contract if he is indicted on the federal steroid investigation is inaccurate," he said. "The collective bargaining agreement governs the work relationship between the owners and players, not the Giants' unilateral assertions."
Gotta love the off-season, where we hang on contract negotiations with scrutiny usually reserved for a no-hitter.