Giants Took Too Long To Let Bonds Go

By Deron Snyder
Updated: September 24, 2007

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The only question about the San Francisco Giants’ announcement that they’re parting ways with Barry Bonds regards the timing.

What took so long?

That’s the same question Bonds asked on his personal Web site. He said in his posting that he’s “saddened” and “upset” that earlier notice wasn’t given, denying him the opportunity for a season-long farewell to San Francisco.

“I truly believe this was not a last minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago,” he wrote. “I just wish I had known sooner so we had more time to say our goodbyes and celebrate the best 15 years of my life.”

I don’t believe it was a late decision, either, despite the claim from Giants owner Peter Magowan. He told reporters at Friday’s news conference that he and general manager Brian Sabean reached the conclusion “relatively recently.”

Again, what took so long?

Only the most fervent Bonds sycophants could endorse management bringing him back for a 16th season in San Francisco. The Giants could’ve just as well announced their intentions last winter, when they re-signed Bonds to a one-year deal.

The only reason to keep him around in 2007 was so he’d break the all-time home run record in their uniform. They felt compelled to provide Bonds’ shot at 756, figuring they owed him that much for essentially building and filling their idyllic new stadium.

No other team was interested when Bonds went on the market last winter. If not for the Giants, it’s likely that Hank Aaron would still be the home run king.

The Giants would’ve made a lot of friends in baseball had they left Bonds dangling as a free agent, forcing him into involuntary retirement. Now the stage for that ignominious ending is set again. But Bonds is too arrogant, na•ve or delusional to recognize it and walk away on his own.

“There is more baseball in me and I plan on continuing my career,” he wrote. “My quest for a World Series ring continues.”

Agent Jeff Borris suggests Bonds will have plenty of suitors, including National League teams that would put the 43-year-old defensive liability in left field. American League teams such as Oakland and Texas might consider him for a DH role.

But there’s a good chance no team will make an offer. And I can’t blame them.

Not that Bonds has lost all ability to hit. He had 28 homers and 66 RBI with a .279 batting average entering Saturday’s game at Arizona. “I think the irony here is from a pure baseball standpoint … he can still play,” Sabean said.

But it’s not pure baseball where Bonds is concerned. It’s everything else — the attitude, the allegations, the animosity — that’s likely to drive him from baseball before he’s ready.

He should’ve seen this coming, even before he showed up at the winter meetings in December trolling for a job. Bidding solely against themselves, the Giants bailed him out. But we knew they’d have no use for him once the record was broken. They could’ve announced that when he re-signed.