Realistic discussion of signing Bonds has no doubt cooled both amongst fans as well as in the front office, but Bonds does still hope to play in 2008 and will fight the "allegations" against him. However, there was supposedly serious talk between the A's and Bonds before MLB magically found the necessary evidence against him. Ignoring social and ethical concerns for the moment, the question is simple:
Does Barry Bonds propel the A's into contention?
I know Bonds scenarios have already been considered on AN during this off-season, but to briefly rehash some ideas:
Bonds would no doubt be our full time DH, which could either mean he simply replaces Jack Cust, or, hopefully, that Cust would be moved to RF, while either Swisher or Buck would man center.
In the former scenario, Bonds' improvement over Cust is a questionable financial investment due to a series of fairly obvious factors I won't delve into.
In the ladder scenario, however, the addition of Bonds would essentially equate to an offensive swap of Kotsay/Denorfia's bat for Bonds' bat, while defensively we would be swapping Kotsay's/Denorfia's CF defense for Buck/Swisher's CF defense and Buck/Swisher's corner defense for Cust's.
I realize this would make our defense truly dismal, but it would it really not be worth the drastic offensive improvement?
I think the three main uncertainties here are:
How good will Denorfia's/Kotsay's defense truly be?
How bad would the defensive downgrades truly be?
How bad will Denorfia's/Kotsays hitting be?
ZIPS projects Bonds at a 2008 OPS of 0.974, whereas Kotsay is at a cool 0.688, and Denorfia at 0.788.
I attempted to find some decent defensive metric numbers to run some comparisons, but to no avail. Regardless, I think Bonds would be worth it. We would have the worst outfield defense in baseball for sure, but still pretty solid infield defense, and our lineup would have eight above average offensive producers, and who knows maybe this could allow Crosby to relax and re-learn to hit.
Didn't our outfield at one point feature the defensive power houses of T-Long, Ben Grieve, and Jeremy Giambi? I think that Buck, Swisher, Cust would be similarly dismal, but not as dismal as Kotsay's hitting...
Given the Angel's "sideways" moves, putting Bonds in the lineup really seems like it puts the A's right back into the hunt. I'd like to see the A's sign Bonds, find a solid bullpen arm, and hold onto the rest of their funds for possible all-star break trades or draft money.