Glenn Dickey: How can the Giants reel him in?

The A’s got their man, Mike Piazza. Now, can the Giants reel in Barry Bonds?

The Giants and Bonds need each other. Despite earlier talk about going young, the Giants have moved to basically put together the same old lineup — emphasis on old. The idea of turning their back on Bonds because they wanted to make a big change seems quaint now.

Butthe players the Giants have signed — or, in the case of Ray Durham and Pedro Feliz, re-signed — are mostly mediocrities, right down to their latest signing, 32-year-old catcher Bengie Molina.

They still have no middle-of-the-lineup hitter to scare pitchers. The options they’ve reportedly investigated, such as trading for Manny Ramirez or Richie Sexson, are more attractive than Bonds, but the Giants have no top trading chip besides Matt Cain, whom they will not deal.

So, it’s back to Bonds, but Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris is sunk deep in fantasyland. First, Borris insisted there was interest in Bonds among all 30 major league teams, overshooting by at least 27. The only teams other than the Giants who publicly expressed interest were the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles and they pulled back quickly. You can forget the latest rumor about the St. Louis Cardinals. I know manager Tony La Russa — and he hates Bonds.

Even now, Borris is insisting on a multiyear contract for Bonds at close to the annual $18 million contract he signed after the 2001 season, when he was at his peak.

Not going to happen.

It was much easier for the A’s. They quickly targeted Piazza to replace the departed Frank Thomas as their designated hitter, waiting only for the Dec. 1 arbitration offer deadline to pass so they wouldn’t have to surrender a draft choice. Piazza also got an offer from the Rangers and his agent, Dan Lozano, left the choice up to him. Piazza chose the A’s offer of $8.5 million for one year.

Meanwhile, the Bonds negotiations seem stalled.

I’ve maintained for months that the Giants would be the only team willing to sign him. Other teams are put off by his baggage — the steroid claims and the threatened legal action. He wouldn’t be a draw for another team, either, until he got within two to three homers away from Hank Aaron’s record. Fans in other cities have no history with Bonds. Many actively dislike him. That’s one reason the A’s weren’t interested, despite rumors to the contrary.

It’s much different for the Giants. Though local writers, who hate Bonds, have campaigned for the Giants to cut their ties with him, the fans who pay the freight by coming to the games mostly love him.

When I’m at AT&T Park, I walk around during the middle innings, talking to people and feeling the love for Bonds. Even from the press box, you can hear the loud cheers for Bonds — and the boos when he’s walked. And you can see the mass exodus of fans after his last at-bat.

He’d be welcomed back by the paying customers, especially since his at-bats would be about the only chance for offensive excitement.

Since Bonds’ agent won’t be realistic, the Giants should make an offer and tell Borris if he doesn’t accept this, the next offer will be lower.

Then, maybe Borris will stop posturing and the Giants will get their man.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A health care worker receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2020. (Courtesy SFgov)
SF to open three large sites for COVID-19 vaccinations

Breed: ‘We need more doses. We are asking for more doses’

Tongo Eisen-Martin, a Bernal Heights resident, named San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tongo Eisen-Martin becomes San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate

Bernal Heights resident Tongo Eisen-Martin has become San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.… Continue reading

Homeless people's tents can be seen on Golden Gate Avenue in the Tenderloin on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 16, 2020. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/S.F. Examiner)
Statewide business tax could bring new funds to combat homelessness

San Francisco could get more than $100 million a year for housing, rental assistance, shelter beds

The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco (a mural by artist Jamie Treacy is pictued) has a lineup of free online programming including activities for youngsters scheduled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 18. (Courtesy Demetri Broxton/Museum of the African Diaspora)
Stanford, Museum of the African Diaspora host MLK Day activities

Online offerings include films, music, discussion

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presides the US House of Representatives vote on the impeachment of US President Donald Trump at the US Capitol, January 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. - The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on January 13 opened debate on a historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters' attack of the Capitol that left five dead. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
House votes 232-197 to impeach Trump a second time

Focus shifts to Senate, where McConnell has signaled he may not stand by president

Most Read