Sure it's scary -- but why not Barry? Judd Spicer blogs the Twins
Editor's Note: Today we introduce our Twins blogger for the season, Judd Spicer. Judd will be checking in with dispatches once or twice a week through Spring Training and once the season begins. In his first piece, he makes the case for Minnesota's pursuit of a fellow you may have heard of.
The Twins may need Barry Bonds to be winners in 2008. And while I wholly realize how stupid that sounds, what with the club honing their proverbial "Pluck," and "Fundamental Play," and "Small Market-ness," and "Sandlot" skills and tenets down in Fort Myers, the fact remains that our favorite club enters the 2008 season with more questions than answers, sans longtime team leaders/luminaries Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, and coming off a year in which they finished four games under-.500 even with those celebrated dudes.
Now I happen to believe that the addition of shortstop Adam Everett will shore up the left side of the infield and keep us sound defensively, just as I am of the view that the ascension of Scott Baker, the arrival of Livan Hernandez, and our omnipresent bullpen should have the the staff at/near our strong MLB standing of last year. Yet, the historical production (or lack thereof) of our offense, especially in the DH slot, begs the inquiry: Why not Barry?
I don't like Barry, and am by no means a Bonds apologist. I think he's certainly guilty of steroid use, and I'm anxious to see how his federal perjury charge plays out. But given that Barry's next court date isn't until March 21st (for which he's not set to personally appear), that it took close to 3 years for the government to to arrange said charge, and that his legal team would seemingly arrange for the wheels of justice to turn torpidly should their client find gainful employment during the season -- I'm thinking Barry will be available for the right team come Opening Day.
And that team could, and should be the Twins. Let's break this down further. Given Barry's advanced age (43), we can assume that no NL team will touch him. The guy isn’t playing outfield anymore. He's a DH. Furthermore, within the 14 clubs the make up the AL, I believe that we can eliminate all the following teams from hiring Barry, for the assigned reasons:
The Red Sox, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, L.A., Chicago, and Seattle are all set at the DH. The Yankees would have made the splash already if they were going to do so. Oakland is too cheap. And Tampa (yech) spilled the beans recently that they were flirting with the notion of Bonds, but let's face it: Would Bonds really toil with a club that has never accrued a winning season? That just leaves K.C., Baltimore (who had a solid platoon at the position in '07), and Texas. The Rangers actually seem an the only other potentially agreeable fit.
And then there's us. Dating back to 2002, the Twins haven't had more than 18 homers or 59 RBI from an individual in the DH slot, and both those numbers comes from back in '02, compliments of Big Poopy before he was Big Papi. Since then, our individual home run leading Designated Hitters have accrued the following totals: 9 in '03; 5 in '04; 14 in '05; 2 in '06; 4 in '07. It's also worthy to note from a historical perspective that our favorite club has only once ranked in the top 10 for MLB runs scored since the millennium, that occurring back in '03 when we ranked 10th. And lastly, rounding up to modern day, it should be noted that -- for what Spring Training numbers are worth -- the Twins have only two individual multi-hit performances through March 5, and rank 23rd in home runs.
From a cost standpoint, Bonds had a base salary of $15-plus million last year, almost exactly what the Twins cut in payroll for '08 -- although nobody would pay Barry that sum today.
Signing Barry Bonds in Minnesota would no doubt receive polar reviews and surely there would be opinions akin to the Wild's recent trade for barbaric Chris Simon. But if new GM Bill Smith wants a label other than "the fella that let popular, effective, albeit exorbitantly-priced veterans Hunter and Santana go elsewhere," signing Bonds could be his chance.
Should you, gentle reader, desire to contact Barry to lobby for his services, take a stroll to his web site, and simply ignore the message bearing "Send Barry a short note to show your support and congratulate him." If you'd like to write him, feel free to begin with an introductory sentence that goes something like, "Dear Muscle-Bound-Megalomaniacal-Cheating-Perjuring-Dick . . .."
He may not appreciate that, but, if nothing else, he'll know that we're forthright here in the Bread Basket. And honest. Hell, in the end, we really don’t care about being his buddy. We just want his bat.
-- Judd Spicer