The biggest name remaining in the free agent market is one Barry Lamar Bonds. The most recent rumored destinations for the all-time home run champ have been the Rays, Mets and even Japan. The Rays say there was never any serious consideration and the Mets say they are not interested.
The biggest question mark concerning Bonds is whether his production at age 43 is worth the circus that follows, both in the clubhouse and in the media. Yesterday at my home base, Rays Index, I contacted Chone Smith of Anaheim Angels All The Way, and creator of the CHONE projection system. Smith had used his projection system to predict that the final regular season standings. The Rays are projected to win 89 games and finish third in the AL East, based on a considerable improvement in pitching and defense. The Mets are projected to win 92 games.
In an effort to estimate Bonds’ on-field impact, we asked Smith to substitute Bonds into the Rays and Mets lineups and rerun his projections. With Bonds in the lineup, both the Mets and the Rays improved by 3 games in the standings and approximately 30 net runs (As an Angels fan, Smith kindly refused to run the same projection for the Mariners or the A’s, lest those teams start thinking Bonds is a good idea).
If the Rays are indeed an 87-89 win team (PECOTA projects 88 wins), then Bonds might be a difference-maker. While signing Bonds may indeed be a headache, the difference between 89 wins and 92 wins for the Rays could be the difference between the 2007 Brewers (just missed) and the 2007 Rockies (World Series). And the difference between 92 wins and 95 wins for the Mets could be the difference between the 2007 Mets (one game short) and the 2007 Phillies (one game not short).
To quote one commenter from Rays Index, "Media scrutiny is only hard if you suck. If you’re good, it’s fun."
Let’s take a look at what else is being said about Bonds in the Blogosphere…
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- Squawking Baseball thinks the Angels could be a solid fit for Bonds.
- Baseball Musings will miss Bonds if he doesn’t play this year, and lists several teams that should consider signing him.
- Amazin’ Avenue explores "The Bonds Market" and express their desire for the Mets to sign the aging slugger, calling the apparent blackballing "disgraceful".
- Mike’s Mets doesn’t see Bonds as a clubhouse cancer and thinks he would be good for the Mets, but does not think he will fit from a financial perspective.
- Bugs & Cranks feels that the Dodgers would have a much better shot at winning the NL West if they signed Bonds.