Weighing the Bonds Option

here's an article i wrote for SoCal Sports Hub, discussing Barry Bonds:


Yes, it’s that time.

The Halos offense is so bad that Barry Bonds is being suggested as a late season pick-up for the Angels. Before I go into details, though, I warn you - I am not a Bonds supporter. I have never liked him as a person nor as a player. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with it.

I was driving home from my girlfriend’s house earlier today when I decided that it was time to change CDs. When I popped out the old CD, the radio came on. Of course, the first station I heard was none other than “Your Home for Angels Baseball”, AM 830. There was a talk show on, and the topic being discussed was Barry Bonds and what he would bring to the Angels, if they were to sign up. Needless to say, I was intrigued.

The host (I can’t remember who it was) was in favor of the Angels signing Bonds under very strict conditions. He stated that if he was the owner, he would have a face-to-face meeting with Bonds and lay down the law. As he said it, Bonds would get no extra treatment whatsoever; he would be treated like just another player. He would have to be the perfect teammate, cause absolutely no distractions to his team, and at the first sign of the infamous “Bonds ego”, he would be cut from the team. Again, I was intrigued.

Under those very specific circumstances, I think I actually side with the host of the show. As I said before, I have never been and will never be a fan of Barry. But really, can we afford to be without his production? Bonds’ career line is .298/.444/.607, including 41 homers and 139 walks. Last year, in 126 games (340 ABs), Bonds had a line of .276/.480/.565, including 28 home runs and 132 walks. Clearly, he is still a feared hitter. Looking at that line, can we honestly say that we couldn’t use that kind of production in our lineup? Our power numbers and OBP are way down this year, and he would help raise both of those. Listen, I love Torii Hunter as much as the next guy, but he is not the player we need to protect Vlad Guerrero. We need another feared hitter in our lineup to add the, as the radio host put it, “Crap Your Pants Factor”.

In this age of baseball, it is no longer enough to have one big hitter surrounded by a bunch of “smaller” guys. When you look at teams like the Red Sox (who, at this point, will probably take the Halos out of the playoffs again), you will notice that they have at least 2 guys that can drive in a huge number of runs, along with a balance of speed and more power. When you look at the Halos, you see one huge hitter: Vlad. Torii Hunter, Casey Kotchman, Howie Kendrick and the others are all great players, but they DO NOT add the scare-you-to-death factor to that lineup. The fact is, Vlad needs another guy in the lineup to protect him, and that guy could very well be Barry Bonds.

Obviously, the other way to get more production into is to trade for a power hitter. Well, let’s weigh the two options. if we were to trade for another hitter, like an Adam Dunn or a Mark Teixeira, we would obviously have to give up some good pieces, namely, a starting pitcher. At this point in the season, I would not want to do that. Kelvim Escobar is returning, yes, but we don’t know what he’s going to be capable of or how long he might last in the starting rotation. Let’s say we did include Weaver in a trade for a hitter and Kelvim’s shoulder acts up or tears again… what do we do now? At that point, we are forced to dip into the minor leagues and rely on a guy like Nick Adenhart or Dustin Moseley, both of whom did not perform well in the starting role. Considering how important pitching has been to the Angels this season, that’s not something you can seriously look at. The Bonds side of that equation looks like this: Barry has stated that he would play for the league minimum ($390,000), and that he would donate every penny of that to charity. That’s hard to argue with.

The one flaw in all of this is that we would have yet another aging outfielder/DH, and I think we’re already over our limit on those. The only way Barry would see playing time would be at DH, and that would mean that one of Garret Anderson or Gary Matthews Jr. would be on the bench every day. While that may not be a bad idea, you can bet that Scioscia would never do it.

Do I think the Angels should go out and sign Barry? Only under very strict conditions. If they were to actually add him to the lineup, he could be the difference between another World Series banner or another Red Sox sweep in October.

P.S. If they did sign Bonds, my lineup would look like this :




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