New York Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants reached agreement on a $16 million, one-year contract Thursday night that will keep the controversial slugger in the Bay Area to take aim at baseball's home run record.
The deal includes four performance bonuses that could make the pact worth a total of $20 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because there had been no official announcement.
While Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis and other teams showed interest in signing the 42-year-old free agent, the Giants had been considered the front-runners to re-sign their star.
Bonds has 734 home runs and is 22 from breaking Hank Aaron's career record. He has played 14 seasons for the Giants and is coming off a $90 million, five-year contract.
Bonds missed nearly the entire 2005 season after three operations on his right knee, prompting speculation on whether he was almost done. But the left fielder bounced back this year to play 130 games, hitting .270 with 26 homers and 77 RBIs.
Shadowed by allegations of steroid use and a target of boo-birds in many opposing parks, Bonds has remained a fan favorite in the Bay Area. He has been tied to the Giants by family and history - his dad, Bobby, was a popular player with the team; his godfather, Willie Mays, is regarded as the greatest Giant of them all.
The Giants will host the All-Star game next year, and can certainly build the event around Bonds as he nears Aaron's mark.
A seven-time NL MVP, a 13-time All-Star and an eight-time Gold Glove winner, Bonds has stolen more than 500 bases and is baseball's all-time leaders in walks.
Bonds met Wednesday with his former Pirates manager and now-Detroit skipper Jim Leyland, who is close friends with St. Louis manager Tony La Russa.
The Giants have been busy since the season ended. They re-signed Ray Durham and Pedro Feliz and also signed free agents Dave Roberts, Rich Aurilia and Bengie Molina, hoping to boost their lineup.
San Francisco cut ties with manager Felipe Alou after going 76-85 this season, and saw his son, outfielder Moises Alou, sign a free-agent deal with the New York Mets. Pitcher Jason Schmidt is working to finalize an agreement with the Dodgers.
Bruce Bochy was hired away from San Diego to manage San Francisco. Among the first things Bochy did after joining the Giants was phone Bonds.
The day after this season ended, Giants owner Peter Magowan said Bonds would not be the team's main cog if he returned in 2007.
"I think we need to go in a new direction," Magowan said in early October. "We have for a long time had a strategy that has worked well until the last two years, when it hasn't worked so well. The strategy has been one of having a great player - maybe the greatest player in the game - at the centerpiece and filling in with veteran players.
"For a long time that worked well. It caught up with us the past couple of years. Now we do need to get younger and healthier," he said.