Same Question, Different Team

Regular commenter Atheose left the following question in the previous thread. I thought it deserved its own discussion:

By the way, did anyone hear that Bonds is offering to play for free?
He said he’ll donate 100% of his earnings towards buying game tickets
for underprivaledged children. With Matsui down, how would Yanks fans
feel about signing him?

The guys at No Maas have been advocating this move for a while now. Baseball-wise this is clearly (at least in my humble opinion) a no-brainer, especially if Matsui is down for a while (although signs point to him recovering soon). So we’re left with the dicey moral questions, and Bonds’ general unlikeability.

Hey, it would be quite the story, wouldn’t it? I say go for the spectacle. It’s New York City. We can handle it.

And the chances of this happening? Probably .011%

31 comments… add one
  • Sign him, but don’t be half-assed about it. Pay him a prorated salary commensurate to his skill level. If he chooses to donate part or all of his net to charity, so be it.

    attackgerbil July 1, 2008, 1:41 pm
  • Agree. Maybe that’s his strategy for redemption.

    rootbeerfloat July 1, 2008, 1:52 pm
  • Wait, if Bonds plays for free, but donates 100% of his earnings, then he’s donating zero, right?

    SF July 1, 2008, 2:01 pm
  • No thanks. Besides, isn’t the real problem that you sign him to play in July and he’s in jail by September?

    A YF July 1, 2008, 2:05 pm
  • Well it’s “free” in the sense that he won’t be making any money. He said he’d play for the prorated minimum ($390,000) and donate all of it.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 2:05 pm
  • No thanks. Besides, isn’t the real problem that you sign him to play in July and he’s in jail by September?
    Hey, even if he only plays for a month surely $390,000 worth it? To quote Nomaas: pitchers are terrified of him, and he is now dirt cheap. NYC is already a media circus with millions of distractions, so how much worse could Bonds make it?

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 2:07 pm
  • Do you suppose he and Clemens will share a cell? That would make one hell of a cellblock softball team.

    soxgirl July 1, 2008, 2:12 pm
  • No – and not out of some quaint notion that the Yankees are too good for a pain in the butt like Bonds, though I admit to feeling that way as well.
    No – for me the primary issues are:
    1. The Yankee offense is not a problem.
    2.Even if you wanted to improve the offense, the last thing you would seek is a lefty slugger. You’d look for a speedster to wreak havoc on the bases (thus their hopes for Gardner) and preferably a righty to balance the mostly-lefty lineup a bit. But again, the offense is the last place I’d look for augmentation anyway.
    Indeed, we already have a Bonds clone who actually plays slightly better defense than Barry. His name is Jason Giambi. In fact, given where they each are in their respective careers (esp. how Jason is doing in this – his contract year), the fact that Barry would need weeks just to get back to hitting form, and that he can’t run the bases let alone field, Giambi is the better player.
    3. Moreover, the guys who the Yankees rotate through the DH spot to give them a blow and give others a chance for some field-time are Damon and Giambi (not ocunting Matsui as he is out). These guys need regular at-bats as well as consistent field time to stay sharp. Barry’s arrival would reduce both.
    4. All of the above doesn’t even include chemistry/team-building factors. Incidentally, on those too, our Barry-clone gets an A+ whereas Barry gets an F-.

    IronHorse (yf) July 1, 2008, 2:14 pm
  • The highest Giambi has OPS+’ed in the last six seasons was 161, in 2005. Last year Bonds had his second-to-worst offensive year since 1995, and he still OPS+’ed 170.
    Also, the Barry-clone earns more than 23 million this year. That’s 59x what Barry-1.0 is asking for.
    Giambi has played the vast majority of his games at 1B this season, and Damon has only DH’d in six games. Matsui was the only one using up large amounts of DH time. I would keep Giambi at first, leave Damon in the outfield and put Bonds at permanent DH. Gardner’s debut may be exciting, but he’ll get plenty of time as a 4th outfielder. Plus, there’s no way in hell he comes anywhere near the type of production Bonds would. Even if his power numbers drop his OBP was .480 last season. 480!

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 2:32 pm
  • “Even if you wanted to improve the offense, the last thing you would seek is a lefty slugger”
    This sounds dangerously close to Dusty “we don’t want to clog up the basepaths” Baker territory. Signing–let’s be honest–the greatest hitter since and maybe including Babe Ruth, based on results, is hardly the “last thing” anyone would do. The broader point, however, is that the Yanks already have 4 guys who need to be rotated through the DH slot on a regular basis. I’m not advocating a signing of Bonds. But…who would you reallly rather see Wilson Betemit or Brett Gardner pinching in the 9th of a close game? Does the name Strawberry ring any bells, Yankee fans?

    YF July 1, 2008, 2:38 pm
  • In my view, the only truly compelling argument against taking Bonds on is the media hoopla/fall out with players that would result. If we’re talking about on-field performance issues, it’s a no-brainer to me. The Yanks might need more pitching, but their hitting has underachieved–Cano has been awful, Melky has regressed, and Jeter might have started his decline. They have done an especially mediocre job (for them) of getting on base–something Bonds is very good at. Giambi has been playing 90% at first and he’s been fine. But Bonds would add a lot to this line-up. And for the league minimum, it’s very tempting.

    Nick-YF July 1, 2008, 2:40 pm
  • 1. The Yankee offense is not a problem.
    They rank 12th in runs scored and 10th in slugging percentage; not bad, but not amazing either. Pitching is obviously their main problem, but adding Bonds doesn’t cost them anything but a spot in the lineup. Matsui was having his worst year since 2003 (his rookie season) and Bonds would be a massive improvement.
    So from the list above, it seems like the only negative would be the fact that he’s a lefty slugger on a team of lefty sluggers (to which I have to rebuttal, because it is a negative) and his effect on teambuilding/chemistry. But like I’ve already said, the only player who has used the DH spot more than 13 times this season is Matsui. Putting Bonds at DH doesn’t affect stars like Gardner coming up and spending time in the outfield.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 2:45 pm
  • Atheose – that OPS/OBP is propped up by tons of intentional walks with a really weak lineup behind him. I don’t know how to feel about it, but just pointing it out.

    Lar July 1, 2008, 2:48 pm
  • The broader point, however, is that the Yanks already have 4 guys who need to be rotated through the DH slot on a regular basis.
    Yankees at the DH this season: (games)
    -Matsui (43)
    -Giambi (13)
    -Posada (9)
    -Damon (6)
    -Rodriguez (3)
    -Ensberg (1)
    With Matsui out Bonds would not be hindering anyone from rotating through the DH spot. If Matsui comes back reasonably early, that’s a different story.
    Even if Bonds’ slugging drops off immensely, he’s still getting on base more than anyone else in the game. That’s nothing but a good thing, unless (as YF mentions) you buy into the “clogging up the basepaths” argument. Dusty Baker truly is an idiot.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 2:50 pm
  • but his OPS is diminished by playing in a pitcher’s park. Bonds in Yankee Stadium, with that right field porch is pretty nuts.

    Nick-YF July 1, 2008, 2:51 pm
  • completely agree with Atheose here.

    Nick-YF July 1, 2008, 2:52 pm
  • In my view, the only truly compelling argument against taking Bonds on is the media hoopla/fall out with players that would result.
    The media is one thing, the players another. There would clearly be media hoopla. But would there be fall-out with players beyond the one or two guys whose job would be put in jeopardy? The worst possible fallout is the annoyance that other players might get from the attention on Bonds. But hasn’t the A-Rod circus over the last few years toughened them to the NYC media? This is a team of mostly veterans, I can’t imagine if Bonds was a positive force on the offense and on the team’s records this would be too big a deal.
    Maybe signing Bonds isn’t ideal to some of the Yankees players, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t put up with it quite happily if it meant winning more games. That goes for players on every major league team, not just the Yankees.

    SF July 1, 2008, 2:52 pm
  • That is true Lar, I didn’t think about that. But then look at it this way: Bonds had 43 IBB’s last season. How many more hits/homeruns will he hit if pitchers are forced to pitch to him?

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 2:52 pm
  • >50% of games played as DH in 2008, sorted by OPS+

    Player         OPS+ G   AB  R   H  HR RBI  BB SO  BA  OBP  SLG
    Milton Bradley  177 70 239  50  76 16  49  48 62 .318 .437 .603
    Hideki Matsui   132 69 251  37  81  7  34  31 30 .323 .404 .458
    Aubrey Huff     123 78 303  46  83 14  46  31 48 .274 .343 .498
    Frank Thomas    123 44 151  19  39  7  27  26 33 .258 .372 .444
    Jim Thome       121 75 242  43  56 16  43  44 73 .231 .355 .488
    Cliff Floyd     119 34 102  14  26  6  15  13 26 .255 .345 .471
    David Ortiz     118 54 210  36  53 13  43  33 37 .252 .354 .486
    Jason Kubel     114 72 247  41  65 12  42  24 46 .263 .324 .466
    Matt Stairs     103 68 210  31  55  8  28  23 49 .262 .340 .414
    Jonny Gomes      94 47 108  17  22  6  15   9 28 .204 .304 .417
    Gary Sheffield   89 46 164  22  37  5  16  26 36 .226 .339 .366
    Craig Monroe     85 46 130  17  27  7  23  10 38 .208 .264 .423
    Billy Butler     82 55 192  12  52  1  18  19 27 .271 .335 .344
    Travis Hafner    81 46 157  19  34  4  22  23 44 .217 .326 .350
    Jose Vidro       63 63 227  22  50  5  35  16 31 .220 .269 .326
    Jeff Clement     62 24  77   7  13  2   6  10 29 .169 .278 .312
    Jeff Larish      54 15  40   4   8  1   7   4 11 .200 .273 .300

    There aren’t many guys on this list that one could make a strong case to say they are better than Bonds would likely be at this particular job.

    attackgerbil July 1, 2008, 3:16 pm
  • Seems to me like this is an attempt to bring out the owners illegal collusion against Bonds. If he says he will play for the minimum, and donate his salary to charity, yet still no team makes an offer, it starts to look even more suspicious than it already does.
    I don’t like the guy, but well played Barry, well played indeed.

    LocklandSF July 1, 2008, 3:22 pm
  • Yeah, I was skeptical about the collusion conspiracy before this, but if he still remains unsigned by this time next week I’ll start believing.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 3:25 pm
  • I’m really surprised the Sox so quickly dismissed the possibility of signing Bonds when Ortiz went down. I’m naturally skeptical of conspiracy theories (in part because when I was a dumb high schooler I believed so many of them), but I must admit to being flummoxed that not one team hasn’t thought, “What do we have to lose?” and taken a flier on him.

    Paul SF July 1, 2008, 4:12 pm
  • Look at that line for Jose Vidro. Wow. Like the doctor says, if it hurts when you do that, STOP DOING THAT. Earth to the Mariners! Why don’t they sign Bonds? Heck, why don’t they sign the Gerb???

    YF July 1, 2008, 4:36 pm
  • > Heck, why don’t they sign the Gerb???
    I work under a non-compete clause. My arms, legs, head and torso are not allowed to compete with gravity.

    attackgerbil July 1, 2008, 4:44 pm
  • Comparing Giambi’s salary to Bonds’ is irrelevant in my view because it is not as if we are swapping the two or deciding which to sign. We will still have Giambi’s salary regardless of whether or not we sign Bonds.
    The compelling counter-argument to mine above is that Bonds simply outperforms (as judged by OPS+) anyone else, or – more to the point – any other DH the Yanks have.
    Given the OPS+ stats noted above and AG’s review of full-time DH’s in ’07, it is hard for me to maintain my argument against signing Bonds, esp. since the most comparable Yankees in OPS-terms (A-Rod & JG) would not be displaced by the addition of Barry’s bulbous head into the line-up.
    Nevertheless, I still don’t want him. Perhaps despite my protestations to the contrary, I really do simply think the Yanks are better than to add this guy to the team – not a great argument I will admit. I rationalize to myself by noting that I don’t think he will put us over the top (I think nothing will without a reliable #4 and even a passable # 5 and I think if we got those we would be just fine with our current offense) and so I don’t want the hoopla and opprobrium that comes along with him.
    I go further to consider that if Matsui, who at .323 is tied with Joe Mauer for best BA in the AL, is really only down for a 15-day DL stint, I don’t want to bump his DH opportunities for Bonds, notwithstanding Bonds projected monster OPS+. Even if Matsui is out for a month Bonds would presumably only be hitting his stride by then. This is NOT to argue that Matsui is at all the offensive threat that Bonds is. I just think he is good enough to not want to see him displaced and he doesn’t bring any of the baggage that BB does.
    Of course, if you gave me a late-season, late-inning situation with men on in a must-win game and I could either bat away with Melky or send PH Barry to the plate, I realize I would be an idiot to argue against the latter.
    I just don’t want him – let’s leave inconvenient things like stats and facts out of it, shall we?

    IronHorse (yf) July 1, 2008, 5:51 pm
  • Comparing Giambi’s salary to Bonds’ is irrelevant in my view because it is not as if we are swapping the two or deciding which to sign. We will still have Giambi’s salary regardless of whether or not we sign Bonds.
    Sorry, I only brought it up because of the “we already have a Giambi clone” argument.
    I emulate your overall feelings–when debating whether or not I would like him on the Red Sox, my gut feeling said no. However, arguing for him to play on a different team is easier without those silly emotions.
    On the topic of collusion: Frank Thomas lasted about 2 days on the market after being dropped by the Blue Jays, and rightfully so; Frank Thomas is a great player, and is still hitting well. But he’s no Barry Bonds.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 6:16 pm
  • It’s OK Atheose. If the Sox had spent the last several years paying that much money for that inconsistent production I’d raise it at every possible opportunity myself…

    IronHorse (yf) July 1, 2008, 6:19 pm
  • > et’s leave inconvenient things like stats and facts out of it, shall we?
    Well of course. You can prove anything even remotely true with facts.
    Seriously though, I haven’t thought of a single compelling reason why the Yankees shouldn’t sign him. Just imagine this lineup::
    Damon LF
    Jeter SS
    Bonds DH
    ARod 3B
    Giambi 1B
    Posada C
    Abreu RF
    Cano 2B
    Gardner CF
    I mean, come on!

    attackgerbil July 1, 2008, 6:32 pm
  • I see that Melky is already forgotten. Trading Melky for pitching ain’t a bad idea.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 6:37 pm
  • > Melky is already forgotten
    That’s funny.. I had a line about Melky in that comment that I deleted by accident. He’s not forgotten, but the reality of Melky has taken a good deal of the shine off the thought of Melky.

    attackgerbil July 1, 2008, 6:40 pm
  • Last year there was a big debate on here about who was better–Melky or Coco. I argued (along with plenty of other SF’s) that Melky was extremely overrated despite being young, whereas YF’s argued that Coco was a player that had one good season under his belt and was aging fast.
    Turns out everyone was right–they’re both unimpressively average.

    Atheose July 1, 2008, 6:45 pm

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