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The Conspiracy Against Bonds


Flip217

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So the word is out that MLBPA has evidence that teams conspired against Bonds.

While I agree that most teams would be better off not having his presence in the clubhouse, I think many (most? all?) teams would have been better off with his presence in the lineup. Not sure anybody would be better off with him in the field.

I could see a struggling team wanting him just for the sake of putting butts in the seats, but the obvious catch-22 here is that a struggling team wouldn't be able to pay him what he wants. And successful teams probably didn't want to risk whatever success they have or are building towards by adding a guy who is still defending 14 counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice.

I'm curious to see what this "evidence" turns out to be....

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I get no hits on a Google news search for "Barry Bonds conspiracy". Where did you hear this.

Barry's agent and the players association have been alleging collusion among teams all summer, but no one has ever offered any evidence to support it. Tony La Russa did make comments last spring about being interested in having Bonds in his lineup to "protect" Pujols, but John Mozeliak, the new GM, quickly disavowed that interest from an organizational perspective. With the Cardinals already having been tarred with PEDs controversy over McGwire and Ankiel and allegations that La Russa encouraged or at least tolerated steroids users in his clubhouse, the Cardinals were very averse to bringing in a proven user (along with Ryan Franklin, who served a suspension for failing a steroids test while he was with the Mariners).

There would have been a fan revolt if Bonds had been signed; there was a lot of grumbling just for when Juan Gonzalez was invited to spring training without a contract.

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I'm a fairly strong defender of Barry Bonds, but I think 30 teams did the math and figured out that they didn't/don't want a guy who was:

- very expensive

- has zero (or negative) baserunning or defensive value

- is a jerk

- was 43 or 44 or whatever and very likely to have a catastrophic collapse as a hitter

- was likely to be arrested at any moment

- and now hasn't played baseball in over a year.

Not to mention that only 14 teams have DH jobs, and only a handful of them have a spare $15M to spend on 2/3rds of a season of one DH. The Yanks had Matsui, Giambi, and Damon needing regular time at DH. The Sox had Ortiz. The Angels had four or five regular outfielders on contract. The White Sox had Thome. The Twins don't spend money. Everyone else was out of the pennant race.

He was a truly Ruthian player, who was certainly one of the 2-3 best hitters who ever lived. But you can construct a logical case for not signing him without involving tin foil hat conspiracies.

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I'm a fairly strong defender of Barry Bonds, but I think 30 teams did the math and figured out that they didn't/don't want a guy who was:

- very expensive

- has zero (or negative) baserunning or defensive value

- is a jerk

- was 43 or 44 or whatever and very likely to have a catastrophic collapse as a hitter

- was likely to be arrested at any moment

- and now hasn't played baseball in over a year.

Not to mention that only 14 teams have DH jobs, and only a handful of them have a spare $15M to spend on 2/3rds of a season of one DH. The Yanks had Matsui, Giambi, and Damon needing regular time at DH. The Sox had Ortiz. The Angels had four or five regular outfielders on contract. The White Sox had Thome. The Twins don't spend money. Everyone else was out of the pennant race.

He was a truly Ruthian player, who was certainly one of the 2-3 best hitters who ever lived. But you can construct a logical case for not signing him without involving tin foil hat conspiracies.

I believe Bonds' agent said he offered the minimum veteran salary, and still no team would sign him.

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I'm a fairly strong defender of Barry Bonds, but I think 30 teams did the math and figured out that they didn't/don't want a guy who was:

- very expensive

- has zero (or negative) baserunning or defensive value

- is a jerk

- was 43 or 44 or whatever and very likely to have a catastrophic collapse as a hitter

- was likely to be arrested at any moment

- and now hasn't played baseball in over a year.

Not to mention that only 14 teams have DH jobs, and only a handful of them have a spare $15M to spend on 2/3rds of a season of one DH. The Yanks had Matsui, Giambi, and Damon needing regular time at DH. The Sox had Ortiz. The Angels had four or five regular outfielders on contract. The White Sox had Thome. The Twins don't spend money. Everyone else was out of the pennant race.

He was a truly Ruthian player, who was certainly one of the 2-3 best hitters who ever lived. But you can construct a logical case for not signing him without involving tin foil hat conspiracies.

Bingo, put it better than I could.

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I get no hits on a Google news search for "Barry Bonds conspiracy". Where did you hear this.

Sorry -- I thought it was pretty well known by this point so I didn't include a specific link. And I think I'm using the word "conspiracy" somewhat inappropriately -- they're calling it "collusion". I heard it on WIP radio this morning, and a quick search on Google news gives me these results:

http://news.google.com/news?q=barry%20bonds&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=N&tab=wn

Wait....are you yanking my chain? :o I'm so gullible sometimes....

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I'm a fairly strong defender of Barry Bonds, but I think 30 teams did the math and figured out that they didn't/don't want a guy who was:

- very expensive

- has zero (or negative) baserunning or defensive value

- is a jerk

- was 43 or 44 or whatever and very likely to have a catastrophic collapse as a hitter

- was likely to be arrested at any moment

- and now hasn't played baseball in over a year.

Not to mention that only 14 teams have DH jobs, and only a handful of them have a spare $15M to spend on 2/3rds of a season of one DH. The Yanks had Matsui, Giambi, and Damon needing regular time at DH. The Sox had Ortiz. The Angels had four or five regular outfielders on contract. The White Sox had Thome. The Twins don't spend money. Everyone else was out of the pennant race.

He was a truly Ruthian player, who was certainly one of the 2-3 best hitters who ever lived. But you can construct a logical case for not signing him without involving tin foil hat conspiracies.

I'm not such a strong defender of Bonds, but couldn't we find quite a few players who are expensive, not great defenders, jerks, and walking a thin line between impulsive, childish behavior and being arrested?

Though I don't suppose we could find one that has all those qualities to the same degree Bonds does.

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Willie Aybar is a starting DH in the ALCS. Yes he is a switch hitter and they have a lefty DH in Cliff Floyd (who didn't crush it this year and was out quite bit with knee problems, including having surgery to repair a torn meniscus). But they are Dhing Willy Aybar of a career .780 OPS.

And left handed hitter Gabe Gross is pretty much the starting right fielder with a career .750 OPS. But he is from B'more so I guess he deserves a little extra credit.

The Rays got a .760 OPS from their DH spot this regular season.

This was a great fit for him. There are obvious reasons why TB might not have wanted to take a shot that are not collusive, but the fit was there for a guy who rakes, was willing to play for the minimum who was not gonna be subject to any legal barriers to playing out the course of the regular season and postseason.

Teams have shied away, not wanting to deal with the glare of attention Bonds would bring. The outfielder, who turns 44 on July 24, has been offered by Borris to all 30 teams for a prorated share of the $390,000 minimum.

Borris said Bonds even would play for free -- offering to donate whatever salary he receives to purchase tickets for children.

link

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Sorry -- I thought it was pretty well known by this point so I didn't include a specific link. And I think I'm using the word "conspiracy" somewhat inappropriately -- they're calling it "collusion". I heard it on WIP radio this morning, and a quick search on Google news gives me these results:

http://news.google.com/news?q=barry%20bonds&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&sa=N&tab=wn

Wait....are you yanking my chain? :o I'm so gullible sometimes....

Thanks! No, I wasn't "yanking your chain". I appreciate the link to your google search. If I'd used "collusion" instead of "conspiracy", I'd probably have found what you did.

I knew that Barry's agent and the players association have been alleging collusion all summer long. I wonder if they actually have any evidence whatsoever beyond the fact that no team even made Barry an offer. Arbitrators have historically tended to side with the union on this issue, finding "proof" of collusion on extremely flimsy evidence.

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Willie Aybar is a starting DH in the ALCS. Yes he is a switch hitter and they have a lefty DH in Cliff Floyd (who didn't crush it this year and was out quite bit with knee problems, including having surgery to repair a torn meniscus). But they are Dhing Willy Aybar of a career .780 OPS.

And left handed hitter Gabe Gross is pretty much the starting right fielder with a career .750 OPS. But he is from B'more so I guess he deserves a little extra credit.

The Rays got a .760 OPS from their DH spot this regular season.

This was a great fit for him. There are obvious reasons why TB might not have wanted to take a shot that are not collusive, but the fit was there for a guy who rakes, was willing to play for the minimum who was not gonna be subject to any legal barriers to playing out the course of the regular season and postseason.

link

In addition to that, the effects of media scrutiny were often cited as a reason against signing Bonds, but I doubt there is a place that would have created less of a media firestorm than TB.

Seattle is another team that was a great fit. Obviously not in hindsight, but the Bavasi clearly thought of this as being "their year", and their DH production was absolutely putrid. They used Jose Vidro for most of the year mixed with an amalgam of other thrown together options and got .221/.273/.334 line from their DHs on the season. To get that line out of the DH position is almost staggering incompetence. Add to that their being on the West Coast, and they seem to be a good destination.

I can buy that a team wouldn't have wanted to sign Bonds. But all 30? And at the league minimum? I'm not sure if I buy the collusion story, but I don't buy that GMs were acting rationally here either.

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Willie Aybar is a starting DH in the ALCS. Yes he is a switch hitter and they have a lefty DH in Cliff Floyd (who didn't crush it this year and was out quite bit with knee problems, including having surgery to repair a torn meniscus). But they are Dhing Willy Aybar of a career .780 OPS.

And left handed hitter Gabe Gross is pretty much the starting right fielder with a career .750 OPS. But he is from B'more so I guess he deserves a little extra credit.

The Rays got a .760 OPS from their DH spot this regular season.

This was a great fit for him. There are obvious reasons why TB might not have wanted to take a shot that are not collusive, but the fit was there for a guy who rakes, was willing to play for the minimum who was not gonna be subject to any legal barriers to playing out the course of the regular season and postseason.

link

The link was from June 25th. Up to that point most teams were assuming that it would take ~$15M to sign Bonds. Bonds may have been making the same assumption, too.

By that point in the year he hadn't played baseball in almost nine months. Willy Aybar and a few thousand of his buddies had been playing daily since February. Bonds was also still a 43-year-old jerk who has recently missed about 25% of his team's scheduled games.

So, reasonably, the Rays could have gotten him in uniform for about 60 games. They would have had to dispose of Cliff Floyd, who also happens to be an old, left-handed DH with zero baserunning or defensive value, but who was being paid $3M to do almost exactly the job Bonds would do.

Floyd created about 5.8 runs per 27 outs. Bonds might have been able to give them, what, nine? Eight? No one really knows. But what's the value of 2-3 runs per 27 outs over maybe 60 games? Two wins maybe?

I think the Rays decided that having an old, fragile, surly, rusty DH with an astronomical collapse rate for 60 games wasn't worth dumping Cliff Floyd and $3M, just on the off chance that he'd get them an extra couple wins.

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In addition to that, the effects of media scrutiny were often cited as a reason against signing Bonds, but I doubt there is a place that would have created less of a media firestorm than TB.

Seattle is another team that was a great fit. Obviously not in hindsight, but the Bavasi clearly thought of this as being "their year", and their DH production was absolutely putrid. They used Jose Vidro for most of the year mixed with an amalgam of other thrown together options and got .221/.273/.334 line from their DHs on the season. To get that line out of the DH position is almost staggering incompetence. Add to that their being on the West Coast, and they seem to be a good destination.

I can buy that a team wouldn't have wanted to sign Bonds. But all 30? And at the league minimum? I'm not sure if I buy the collusion story, but I don't buy that GMs were acting rationally here either.

If Seattle was rational they would have just stuck Jeff Clement in the DH spot for 500 PAs and been done with it.

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The link was from June 25th. Up to that point most teams were assuming that it would take ~$15M to sign Bonds. Bonds may have been making the same assumption, too.

All we know is that it was publicly reported on June 25th that Boras had already offered Bonds at a pro-rated share of the minimum to all 30 clubs at some prior point.

----

Its obvious the Rays decided against signing Bonds. Its equally obvious there are non-collusive reasons for doing so.

But none of that refutes the point, which is that TB is a place where Bonds could have fit in nicely. Tampa did not lack a place for Bonds, they simply chose not to have him.

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I'm not sure why you frame the issues as one of Cliff Floyd v Barry Bonds, as Floyd only played 80 games this season and spent a month on the disabled list early in the season. Tampa didn't have to cut Floyd to sign Bonds, and Floyd's early injury led to a month on the DL that opened a roster spot.

Either way, two wins over 60 games is huge, and the edge was greater than that because TB trotted out much worse than Floyd at DH a good bit, just as they are now doing in the ALCS, and the opportunity to sign Bonds appears to have arisen earlier than the last 60 games of the season.

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