"It ain't over until it's over," Yankees immortal Yogi Berra has often been quoted as saying, and for unemployed home run king Barry Bonds, it's over.
Berra -- special advisor adviser to the Yankees front office -- said Monday in comments to MLBnewsonline that any chance of Bonds signing with the team is dead.
"They're not going to do anything with it," the former Yankees catcher, coach and manager said flatly at the conclusion of National Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, N.Y. The returning 1972 Hall of Fame inductee dismissed any speculation to the contrary as "a lot of paper talk."
A confidential clubhouse source at the same said that the speculative signing of Bonds had been a subject under consideration at the urging of team Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner, but that it had been rejected largely after the team had weighed the terms of the deal.
Though the source last week said a proposed contract had been drafted, it could not be learned whether it had been tendered to Bonds or his agent Jeff Borris. General Manager Brian Cashman had earlier been reported in The New York Times as virtually confirming Borris had been contacted, saying without elaborating: "I would not say that I have not."
Borris had claimed Bonds was working out and would be ready to face major league pitching in 10 days.
Bonds has maintained his innocence as he he faces trial next March on federal charges of justice obstruction and lying to a grand jury about his alleged abuse of performance enhancing substances.
Bonds had been the subject of vague speculation that he was under consideration to be signed by the Red Sox and Diamondbacks, but had been directly confirmed as being up for discussion last week as Steinbrenner and the Yankees brain trust met in Tampa. But the idea was undermined shortly thereafter when the team traded prospects to acquire Pirates outfielder Xavier Nady.
A key impetus to sign Bonds in the first place had been that no prospects would be be given up to acquire him, as Bonds contract was not renewed last year by the Giants and he was unattached to any team.