Thursday, April 30, 2009

What About Bonds?

Jason Whitlock made his case in the Star yesterday for bringing Barry Bonds to Kansas City. Here’s a little of what he said:

Barry Bonds should be wearing a Royals uniform this season. The game’s greatest hitter has yet to retire or be convicted of a crime. He’s been railroaded by the commissioner, a publicity-seeking federal prosecutor and the hypocritically self-righteous segment of the baseball media.

Whitlock asked a number of current Royals their thoughts about Bonds and they had good things to say him. Only former Royal Brian McRae expressed skepticism about the hypothetical move—saying that Bonds is 45 and his body is shot.

I have no idea if Bonds could still be productive or not. From the way it sounds, he could be had for little or nothing, so there’s no financial risk for the Royals. But he’d by taking someone’s spot on the roster—probably Billy Butler’s—with the notion that his bat could give the Royals a sustaining force that might lead to a push toward the AL Central crown this season. If it doesn’t work out, Moore could cut him loose and most of the baseball world would cheer because they would have proof that Bonds can no longer play at a high level.

So, signing him would seemingly bring minimal risk. But not so fast. You don’t need me to tell you that Bonds has a notoriously bad attitude. We already have one of those guys on the team in the form of Jose Guillen. Do we really need another one? Somebody will probably say that winning has a way of erasing such problems and that’s probably true to some degree, but the Giants did win when Bonds played there. They won the NL West three times and the wild card once. Did all of that winning curb Bonds’ attitude? Did he ever become a leader for the Giants? Did he leave San Francisco with the respect of his teammates?

And think about this . . . by and large, the Royals clubhouse isn’t a hang out for ESPN. If the Royals signed Bonds, national reporters would be asking his new teammates all sorts of questions about Bonds on a regular basis. That’s not a good reason to avoid the services of a player, but it certainly would bring a New York-type atmosphere to the clubhouse and most of our players have never been under such intense scrutiny. Could they hold up under it?

I hope the Royals decide not to sign Bonds for same reason I think signing Guillen was a mistake. I don’t think trading on-field production for a bad attitude is a good choice to make. And I like the chemistry the team has currently. I’ve been critical of Butler, Mark Teahen, and Alex Gordon and I’ve also said that all three need to produce this season. I still feel that way. To willingly remove one of them from the equation for Bonds isn’t worth the risk.

What do you think?

4 comments:

iwillbeginagain said...

I'll gladly chime in. Signing Bonds would be a fantastic move. Even on the road there is nothing else in baseball so intense as a Bonds at bat. It's totally electric at home. His presence would raise the focus of the whole team (and it wouldn't be hurt by the additional fans coming from long distances and the crowds in right field). Being noticed is good. Since being a Royal would mean he doesn't have to play defense, there wouldn't be anything to complain about. The vast majority of his (hitting) teammates on the Giants really liked him despite what the press said. You can find, if you look hard, obscure articles about Ray Durham, Kevin Frandsen, Rajai Davis, and Fred Lewis talking about how much he helped them. Even recent Arizona State guys. Even the Giants new president talks about the knowledge he can share (he can call the pitches and locations nearly every time, which is why he hits better than everyone else).

Do not believe any MSM articles on chemistry. Bonds isn't going to hustle. He'll just hit. Even if he's old he'll do it better than just about anyone. We really don't know if he's got the want to play - and if he doesn't he wouldn't be signing with the Royals even if they offered.

Lee Warren said...

Thanks for you input. Bonds certainly would bring intensity and exposure to Kansas City. Appreciate your take.

jgsteeler said...

Barry Who?

We don't need him. I think that Billy showed us all what he can do last night. Remember the Royals have only played 21 (and a half) games so far this year. I am not ready to give up on these young guys yet. Butler showed me last night that we should still be patient and these guys will get it going. I think that Seitzer is going to get the bats going. We will be fine. This team will become less fun for me to watch with Bonds out there.

Lee Warren said...

I hope you are right. This is the year that Butler-Gordon-Teahen all need to step up and have good years. If they do, and if Meche and Greinke can stay healthy, it will be a fun summer.

 
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