Friday, May 2, 2008

Where Can Barry Bonds Find a Home?

Barry Bonds, still one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball (.276/.480/.565 last year in 340 PA), has not yet signed for a team in 2008. While I find this situation to be utterly ridiculous, it does make for a good opportunity for speculation about his future home. Some think that he will end up with the Tigers; others think that he will end up with the Yankees. I think that he will end up with the Mariners.

The Tigers already have a glut of hitters, including DH candidates Gary Sheffield and Marcus Thames. While both Sheffield and Thames are right handed, Sheffield remains competent against righties, posting a .819 OPS against them during the past three years. Plus, they have plenty of outfielders already; Magglio Ordonez and Curtis Granderson will need to be rested from time to time and inserting Bonds as the DH full-time removes the possibility of giving other hitters partial days off. Due to an already clogged OF with good options available, Bonds doesn't make much sense in Detroit without a trade or two for bullpen help. And since good relievers are in short supply these days, it is unlikely that such a deal will be made and there has been no sign that one will materialize soon.

As for the Yankees, they suffer from a similar problem. They already have four outfielders who warrant regular play (Matsui, Damon, Cabrera, and Abreu) and a clogged DH situation. Jason Giambi is a liability at 1B and needs regular rest to avoid injury. Shelley Duncan can play 1B and OF and hammers lefties. Jorge Posada might need days off from catching once he gets back from the DL, and the DH spot is a perfect fit for him on those days. Plus, The Yankees are already heavy on lefty bats, making Bonds a less than perfect fit. And in the New York media circus, it is a near certainty that Bonds will dominate the headlines. All in all, this makes little sense.

The Seattle Mariners, however, are a different story. While they just called Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien, they still have room for Bonds. Their outfield situation isn't crowded; they have their starters (Ibanez, Ichiro, and Balentien) and Willie Bloomquist. No offense to Willie, but he's not an everyday player. Plus, their DH situation isn't that crowded either. Sure, Clement needs to start some days but he can catch and Kenji Johjima isn't exactly burning up the majors right now. If Clement catches against righties, then the Mariners have plenty of at-bats to give Clement and Bonds. Jose Vidro is washed up and has been for some time now. Additionally, the Seattle lineup only has 2-3 left-handed batters right now so there's no worry about overloading the lineup. There's nothing standing in the way of adding Barry to Mariners' lineup.

Plus, the Mariners are not built for long-term success. By trading away Adam Jones, they essentially went for broke this year. Adding Barry Bonds would make their lineup much more formidable and would improve their chances of catching the Angels in the AL West.

So how about it, Bavasi?

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