Rob Neyer wrote about Barry yesterday as did Joel Sheehan.
Last year, Bonds batted .276/.480/.565. Had he qualified—he was 25 plate appearances short—he would have the led the NL in OBP by a wide margin and finished in the top ten in slugging. In fact, using the rule that you can add an 0-for-25 to his stats, he actually did lead the NL in OBP. That’s called dominating the category.
Of course, a chunk of Bonds’ OBP comes from the intentional walks he receives: 43 last season. You can argue that this disproportionately inflates his OBP, a function less of Bonds’ abilities and more of Brian Sabean’s inability to find hitters better than Ray Durham and Bengie Molina to hit behind his Hall of Famer. So lop 35 intentional walks off of Bonds’ total, and give him the average performance in his other at-bats in those 35 times up. That makes him a .276/.439/.565 hitter, assuming he drew no walks in that time and saw the same distribution of lefties and righties, both ungenerous assumptions. He’d pick up a couple of homers, and almost certainly a lot of RBI, both of which would inflate his value to the people who seem to think “66 RBI” is an indication of value.
Sports is not exactly a place that truly values ethics. You cheated? Who cares if you can help the team win. There are plenty of other steroid users in the league and sure Barry comes with a bit more of a media circus, but that would mean he should be kept out of New York and Boston.
Of course Rob Neyer thinks it is a matter of people not wanting to pay all that handsomely for the privilege to have a crazy distraction and believes if he came with a cheap price tag he would find a home. His 170 OPS+ tells me he can pretty much add a shit ton of value to a team on the cusp. Say the Seattle Mariners or someone along those lines.
I cannot see baseball blackballing him because he has not done anything different than many, many, many other players who had no problems finding contracts or roster spots. This entire situation is perplexing to say the least and the longer he stays out there the more bizarre it is. It is not as if he adds marginal production or is looking for a long term deal that I know of. I could see why people would stay away from him in that case, but he still can do things that very few players can do.
He has cranky knees and cannot run all that fast, but there are far worse fielders out there and far slower runners. Any team that has him might have a 24+1 situation. They might not. I say who cares. They will get an extremely productive ballplayer that can maybe push a team into the playoffs.
It turns out it wasn't just Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner meeting with Sandy Koufax on Saturday morning. The Mets also had Jon Niese, the top left-handed pitching prospect in the organization, get together with Koufax.
I always like to read and hear these things, but I have no idea if any of that actually helps. I mean, that's what pitching coaches are for, right? In the end I guess another perspective does not hurt and especially the perspective of a guy like Koufax to other lefties.
Willie Randolph possesses the qualities and credentials a manager in New York most needs: he's battle-tested, he's a winner, he's smart, he communicates well, and if you get to know him, he has a great sense of humor, which is a necessity at a time like this.
A winner? He was on winning teams, but I don't think that has any thing to do with him being able to win here. As for being smart in the baseball sense, that remains to be seen.
Mets people have spent a lot of the winter discussing and dissecting ways to improve. But if they think Randolph is going to become a different person, that's unlikely; after all, he rose from his roots being the way he is.
That would be reason enough for me to get rid of him. He actually needs to change a lot. Let us hope he is actually capable of change.