A's lose Thomas, now seek Bonds
The Oakland Athletics need a designated hitter, and they aren't going far for one potential candidate to fill the spot: Barry Bonds.
A's general manager Billy Beane has had conversations with Bonds' agent Jeff Borris about the 42-year-old slugger, who has played the past 14 seasons with San Francisco. Oakland lost Frank Thomas yesterday when he finalized an $18.12 million, two-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bonds, who became a free agent after the season at the conclusion of a $90 million, five-year deal with the Giants, also is being pursued by San Francisco.
The seven-time NL MVP has said he would like to play his 22nd and perhaps final season for the Giants and finish his career in San Francisco, which hosts the 2007 All-Star game at its waterfront ballpark.
Bonds, who had surgery on his troublesome left elbow after the season ended, has 734 home runs and is closing on Hank Aaron's record of 755.
"We've talked about a lot of players internally," said A's assistant GM David Forst, speaking on behalf of the organization as Beane dealt with a death in the family. "Barry is one of the guys out there who we're considering. ... He's probably the best player in the game the last 15 years. I think anybody would be interested in having his bat in the lineup."
How much that would cost is another issue. If the A's couldn't keep Thomas, how would they possibly be able to afford to sign Bonds — which makes a move by Bonds across San Francisco Bay to the American League appear to be a long shot. With Bonds also comes the constant accusations of steroid use and the possibility he will be indicted on perjury charges if a federal grand jury finds that he lied to another grand jury that he'd never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
While he is open to being a DH and no longer playing left field, Bonds doesn't want to take a big pay cut next season.
Still, new A's skipper Bob Geren, hired yesterday as a first-year major league manager, has thought about the possibility of working with Bonds. And A's owner Lew Wolff has had kind words regarding Bonds' talent.
"I have let that creep in my mind," Geren said. "All I can say about him is he's the greatest player I've ever seen in my baseball life. I couldn't imagine anyone who wouldn't want him on his team."
After missing all but 14 games in 2005 following three operations on his right knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and 77 RBIs in 367 at-bats in 2006. His defense in left field was spotty at times, though Bonds showed late in the year that he had regained strength in his legs and made several running catches.
Bonds has helped the Giants draw 3 million fans in all seven seasons of their stadium's existence.
Red Sox: Infielder Alex Cora stayed with Boston, agreeing yesterday to a $4 million, two-year contract. The 31-year-old hit .238 with one home run and 18 RBIs in 96 games with Boston this year. He started 47 games at shortstop, 10 at second base and four at third.
HAWAII WINTER BASEBALL
WEST OAHU 4, WAIKIKI 3
Sean Kazmar hit an RBI double to tie the game in the top of the ninth and Jeff Corsaletti had an RBI single later in the inning to lead the CaneFires to a come-from-behind win over the BeachBoys at Les Murakami Stadium.
Gilbert De La Vara (3-1) earned the win, pitching 1/3 of an inning. Jarod Plummer earned his second save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth, striking out two.
NORTH SHORE 5, HONOLULU 2
Mike Carp went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs and Lorenzo Cain also had two RBIs as the Honu beat the Sharks last night at Hans L'Orange Park.
Scott Koerber (4-1) went five innings for the Honu, giving up three hits, one run (earned) while striking out seven and walking one.