Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has ruled in favor of Major League Baseball over Barry Bonds in the case of Bonds’ allegations of collusion against him following the 2007 season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports.
Word of Bonds’ plans to pursue legal action first broke back in May, and Heyman reported at the time that Bonds had waited until the resolution of successfully-challenged felony charges (obstruction of justice) before attempting to take action against the league. Heyman now writes that Bonds worked with MLBPA lawyers in an effort to use circumstantial evidence to prove that teams conspired against him to keep him out of the game following what was a brilliant 2007 season.
Though he played much of that 2007 campaign at the age of 42 and would’ve been 43 heading into the 2008 season, Bonds put together a .276/.480/.565 batting line with 28 homers. That sky-high .480 OBP unsurprisingly led the league — the sixth time he had led the league in that category in a span of seven seasons. Nevertheless, Bonds’ then-agent Jeff Borris said early in the 2008 season that he did not receive a single offer — even one at the league minimum — for his client. Bonds even went so far as to publicly offer to play for the league minimum midway through that offseason, Heyman notes, but no offers emerged.
Heyman writes that “there was no smoking gun” in Bonds’ case, and Horowitz did not find Bonds’ side to be compelling enough to rule in his favor. Indeed, it’d be difficult to necessarily prove that there was definitive conspiracy against Bonds in spite of the fact that it was surprising at the time that no team — even an AL team with a need at DH — was willing to take on Bonds’ baggage and defensive limitations in exchange for the upside of one of the most potent bats in the game’s history.