THE GIANTS have no more use for Barry Bonds, having milked his home run chase for all it was worth, while putting together the worst record in the National League this side of Pittsburgh over the past three seasons. Giants owner Peter Magowan told Bonds last Thursday that the team does not want him back as it rebuilds with young players. Said general manager Brian Sabean, "The irony is he can still play."
If Sammy Sosa can get a job (with the Rangers this season) following a year off after hitting .221, and if Mike Piazza can land an $8 million contract (from the A's) after a 68-RBI season, then Bonds, 43, is likely to be playing somewhere next season after hitting 28 home runs, drawing a league-best 132 walks and setting his sights on 3,000 hits. (He needs 65.) Bonds, though, will have to take a deep pay cut from the $19 million he earned this year and, because of his poor defense, probably a designated hitter job.
Who will have a DH opening and the inclination to overlook the distractions that come with Bonds's notoriety? Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Seattle and Texas are possibilities. Bonds wants to keep playing, and he's likely to find one team that, unlike the team that knows him best, believes his bat is worth the baggage that comes with it.