MLBTR: Could you see any team beside the A’s signing Barry Bonds? In your estimation, what’s the most the A’s would pay for a year of Bonds
Slusser: An insider told me at the winter meetings that two other teams besides the A’s had asked about Bonds, so it’s impossible to rule out. If he plays – and that seems to be a pretty big if — Oakland has the best shot, but estimating a salary is really tough. If there’s no other interest and Bonds really wants to play, considering all the issues that surround him, the price tag could be pretty cheap, say $5-$6 million. If there’s more interest, it could go up. The A’s did pay Mike Piazza $8 million last year.
Do the A’s really want Bonds, though? There are good reasons to sign him, and equally solid reasons not to. They need to put fans in the seats after moving their most popular player, and they don’t have much in the middle of the order right now. On the other hand, they might alienate much of their fan base with Bonds, and a team that is in "full bore” rebuilding mode might not be looking to spend on a 43-year-old free agent with lots of legal problems and an iffy clubhouse reputation. There is no doubt it has been discussed internally, however.