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Archive for Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Free-agent market set for review

MLB union to investigate why Bonds received no offers

March 19, 2008

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— The lack of offers to Barry Bonds will be examined by the baseball players' association as part of its annual review of the free-agent market.

Less than two weeks before opening day, the 43-year-old home run king remains unsigned.

"He's in playing shape right now. He just hasn't hit off live pitching," Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, said Tuesday. "I've had conversations with Barry. It would probably take him about two weeks to get ready."

Bonds was indicted in November on four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice, charges stemming from 2003 grand jury testimony in which he denied knowingly using illegal performance-enhancing drugs. The seven-time NL MVP pleaded not guilty.

Tampa Bay acknowledged last month that it had internal discussions about the prospect of pursuing Bonds. St. Louis manager Tony La Russa had interest in Bonds but Cardinals management decided against opening talks.

Borris said Bonds was working out in the Los Angeles area. He wouldn't comment on the status of any negotiations.

"He wants to play," Borris said.

After speaking with the Los Angeles Angels during his annual tour of spring-training camps, union head Donald Fehr said his staff will examine possible collusion against Bonds and others.

"We always look at the free-agent markets every year and make judgments about them, and if we come to the conclusion with respect to any player that there's a matter worth pursuing, we'll pursue it," he said. "But I'm not going to make any suggestions or accusations unless and until we come to that conclusion."

Fehr wouldn't say whether he found it troublesome that no team has publicly said it wants Bonds.

"I haven't talked to him about it or his agents and I don't want to comment personally about it since I haven't had the opportunity to do that," he said.

Bonds hit .276 last year with 28 homers, 66 RBIs and a major league-leading 132 walks. He made $19.3 million, and the Giants decided to let him go after 15 seasons in San Francisco.

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