Thursday, November 30, 2006

Piazza Talks Show Barry Bonds' Options Narrowing

The Oakland A's progress toward closing a deal with free agent Mike Piazza to replace Frank Thomas at DH signals a narrowing of options for Barry Bonds. Bonds has been the subject of unconfirmed but well-worn rumors that he would cross San Francisco Bay to play for Oakland after reaching a stalemate with the Giants. Bonds had reportedly been seeking something in the neighborhood of $15 million a year to return to the Giants. But the Giants opened talks at about $7 million, and have balked at exceeding double figures. Bonds has been trying to claim that all 30 teams are dickering for his services, but the Giants are keenly aware that the slugger is running out of alternatives. Bonds projects as a poor fit throughout both leagues, not only for reasons of teams' lack of need but because of Bonds' contract demands, health concerns, age and performance limitations. That leaves Bonds with little leverage other than to threaten to retire. It's hard to believe Bonds would actually walk away from his chance top Hank Aaron's homer record, but he's making those noises. The next 45 days will tell.