Short move? A's showing interest in free agent Bonds

Updated: November 18, 2006, 5:51 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics need a designated hitter, and they aren't going far for one potential candidate to fill the spot: Barry Bonds.

Left Field
San Francisco Giants

Profile
2006 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
130 26 77 74 .454 .270
CAREER STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
2860 734 1930 2152 .443 .299

A's general manager Billy Beane has had conversations with Bonds' agent Jeff Borris about the 42-year-old slugger, who has played the past 14 seasons with San Francisco. Oakland lost Frank Thomas on Friday when he finalized an $18.12 million, two-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bonds, who became a free agent after the season at the conclusion of a $90 million, five-year deal with the Giants, also is being pursued by San Francisco. The seven-time NL MVP has said he would like to play his 22nd and perhaps final season for the Giants and finish his career in San Francisco, which hosts the 2007 All-Star game at its waterfront ballpark.

Bonds, who had surgery on his troublesome left elbow after the season ended, has 734 home runs and is closing on Hank Aaron's record of 755.

"We've talked about a lot of players internally," said A's assistant GM David Forst, speaking on behalf of the organization as Beane dealt with a death in the family. "Barry is one of the guys out there who we're considering. … He's probably the best player in the game the last 15 years. I think anybody would be interested in having his bat in the lineup."

How much that would cost is another issue. If the A's couldn't keep Thomas, how would they possibly be able to afford to sign Bonds -- which makes a move by Bonds across San Francisco Bay to the American League appear to be a longshot. With Bonds also comes the constant accusations of steroid use and the possibility he will be indicted on perjury charges if a federal grand jury finds that he lied to another grand jury that he'd never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

While he is open to being a DH and no longer playing left field, Bonds doesn't want to take a big pay cut next season.

Still, new A's skipper Bob Geren, hired Friday as a first-year major league manager, has thought about the possibility of working with Bonds. And A's owner Lew Wolff has had kind words regarding Bonds' talent.

"I have let that creep in my mind," Geren said. "All I can say about him is he's the greatest player I've ever seen in my baseball life. I couldn't imagine anyone who wouldn't want him on his team."

After missing all but 14 games in 2005 following three operations on his right knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and 77 RBI in 367 at-bats in 2006. His defense in left field was spotty at times, though Bonds showed late in the year that he had regained strength in his legs and made several running catches.

Bonds has helped the Giants draw 3 million fans in all seven seasons of their stadium's existence.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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