Union Likely To File Grievance Over Bonds

By Bill Shaikin
Updated: July 17, 2008

NEW YORK — The players’ union anticipates filing a grievance claiming owners improperly acted in concert to keep Barry Bonds out of the major leagues this season, a source familiar with the matter said late Tuesday.

No final decision has been made, the source said, but the union is leaning toward filing a grievance. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly in advance of a decision.

Commissioner Bud Selig, speaking earlier Tuesday in a news conference with baseball writers, rejected any suggestion that owners colluded to freeze out Bonds.

“Every club is free to do what they want to do,” Selig said. “I’m not going to respond to those charges. They’re without basis.”

Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations, said he had looked into the matter upon the union’s request.

“We have not found any indication of anything other than clubs making individual decisions that this player is not appropriate for them,” Manfred said.

Bonds, who turns 44 next week, hit .276 with 28 home runs and a .480 on-base percentage last year, a season in which he set the all-time home run record. He since has been indicted on charges that he lied to a federal grand jury by testifying he never had used steroids.

Jeff Borris, the agent for Bonds, said Monday that he had received no offers for Bonds, not even for baseball’s minimum wage. Manfred acknowledged that Bonds’ production as recently as last season could make his unemployment appear unusual.

“There are a variety of factors surrounding this individual that might make a club hesitant,” Manfred said.

Greg Bouris, a spokesman for the union, declined to comment late Tuesday.