We know Barry Bonds has a big head, literally and figuratively speaking. The last time we checked he also had a big bat and was reaching base more frequently than any player in baseball.
Yet no team appears willing to sign the all-time home run leader simply because there isn't a player as identifiable with the steroid era as Bonds. He's 44, has bad knees and a worse reputation.
But for all his baggage, Bonds would represent a significant upgrade at the DH spot for a number of American League teams. No team would touch him last year, but in 2007 with the Giants he hit 28 homers in 340 at-bats, drew a league-leading 132 walks and had a baseball-best .480 OBP. Show me a general manage who wouldn't take those numbers and I'll show you a GM that is scared to death of the negative publicity that Bonds would generate. All it would take is a modest one-year deal with performance incentives. The risk would be low, the potential reward high.
Bonds, who is 65 hits shy of 3,000, would undoubtedly draw fans to the park because he's a controversial figure. So he wouldn't be bad for business. As far as being bad for team chemistry, sitting out for a season gave Bonds plenty of time to reflect on his career and think about what it takes to be a good teammate. So it's highly unlikely that he would attempt to pull rank or request to have a leather recliner at his locker.
I think an ideal landing spot for Bonds – if such a place actually exists – is Toronto. He'd probably like to play for positive-minded manager Cito Gaston. The Blue Jays haven't won 90 games since 1993, the team's second straight year it won the World Series and Gaston's first stint as Toronto skipper. And playing in the AL East, the Jays could use another potent bat because the three teams that finished ahead of them last season have exceptional starting rotations.
Assuming he makes the Blue Jays, the jovial Kevin Millar could publicly embrace Bonds and deflect attention from him in the clubhouse just as he did with Manny Ramirez in Boston.
Are the Blue Jays a good fit for Bonds?