BP’s Joe Sheehan tells it like it is, and it isn’t pretty:
…. The naked glee generated by this decision was embarrassing (links courtesy Buster Olney’s ESPN.com blog), with the San Francisco writers falling all over themselves to praise McGowan for cutting loose the best player in franchise history, the most productive player on the current roster, the best hitter in the National League and, dollar for dollar, one of the better values in the game. The press pool showed no recognition that Bonds remains an amazing player and an asset to any team, even one far from contention. Yes, he requires special treatment; is it some kind of news to everyone that the very best people in any line of work tend to get perks that separate themselves from their peers?
…. The Giants are free to run their team however they care to, but we shouldn’t persist in this fiction that Bonds is what stands in the way of the rebuilding process. The Giants, as effective as they’ve been in drafting and developing pitchers, have had little success with hitters. The Dan Ortmeiers and Rajai Davises populating the outfield and the lineup aren’t prospects, they’re MLB fourth and fifth outfielders who are being evaluated generously by virtue of not being Barry Bonds. The Giants have no prospects being blocked by Bonds, and if they did, they’d actually be being blocked by Dave Roberts and Randy Winn. As we saw with Alex Rodriguez and the Rangers, the team, the press and the public is focusing far too much on the best player with the biggest contract, rather than the money being wasted on the ridiculous contracts for inferior players throughout the rest of the roster. Bonds is worth the money; Ray Durham and Barry Zito, not so much.
Barry Bonds is still a great player. Concerned about how often he can be a great player for your team? At 41 and 42, he’s averaged 127 games and close to 500 PAs a season while playing in the field regularly. This notion that he’s a part-time player who can’t stay in the lineup is another of the myths propagated by the industrious San Francisco media. Bonds is just shy of an everyday player in the National League, and for an American League team, getting most of his playing time as a DH, there’s no reason to think he couldn’t play more often. Even at 125 games and 500 PAs, Bonds is a force to be reckoned with, and a team signing him would be in good position to add in some playing time for him in October.
The local media have portrayed Bonds like a serial killer, and he’s been nothing short of a consumate professional for 15 seasons. Steroid rumors? As Sheehan says, let me know when the guys who have actually tested positive for using steroids give money back, or their teams void their contracts, or give back wins. Until then, all that’s been proven of Bonds is that he’s the best player alive, and has been for almost 20 years.
Hat tip to Jim Adams for the Sheehan mention.