Friday, July 18, 2008

Barry Bonds Deal Hinges on Hideki Matsui

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is in the process or has completed a proposed contract offer for free agent slugger Barry Bonds, an offer that hinges on the medical condition of left fielder Hideki Matsui, a confidential source within the Yankees organization told

Having signed former Seattle first baseman Richie Sexson, the Yankees remain perhaps the most logical destination for Bonds, providing a left-handed bat once it is clear Matsui is out for the season, the source said.

"When you hear that Matsui is out for the season, that's when the contract will be offered to Bonds," the source said.

The Yankees would neither confirm nor deny the report. "We have no comment on any reports," team spokeman Michael Margolis told

A number of other media outlets, however, cast considerable skepticism on the original report, including the New York Daily News:

"....There's no truth to a pinstriped pursuit of Bonds, according to a Yankee official, who said, "It's all nonsense."

The rumors even made their way down to Wall Street, the official said. The official had calls from friends who work there.

At the same time, Yahoo Sports quoted Bonds agent Jeff Borris saying, "I'm not in negotiations with the Yankees. I'm not in negotiations with anybody." While possibly true, the Borris comment would not necessarily be at variance with the facts as outlined by the confidential source.

Cashman favors signing Bonds to a 1-year deal with options not only because of his demonstrable skills from the left side of the plate, but because he comes without contractual obligation to another team, the source said.

Moreover, the Yankees would not have to give up prospects as trading chips, as the team would be forced to do to acquire other talent being shopped throughout the major leagues, the source said.

The Yankees were awaiting a decision from doctors as to whether Matsui would require surgery that would sideline him for the remainder of the season. The source said that the team had already braced for the worst, and that Bonds was the key option as a replacement.