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Muscle Sport Magazine

Yankees, Rays Should Revisit Barry Bonds Pursuit

Injuries to Surprising First Place Tampa, Bombers’ OF & DH Moves Opens Up Spot for Slugger

When Barry Bonds grabbed the microphone last Saturday night during the Giants’ celebration of their former outfielders, his statement of “I haven’t retired, thank you,” should have been listened to intently as an offer for his services. The dog days of August are upon us and the races are getting tighter. With the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline behind us, it will be extremely difficult to obtain a potent bat to pad the line-up.

That is if you’re not looking at Barry Bonds as a short-term project. Down in Tampa Bay, the Rays are enjoying their finest season and current hold a three game lead over Boston in the AL East. But they have recently went through some injuries, including outfielder Carl Crawford and closer Troy Percival, two losses that may hurt them down the stretch. The Yankees are in third place and trail both the Red Sox (6.5 games) and Twins (3.5 games) in the wild card race.

It may be now or never for the Bronx Bombers, who today dumped Richie Sexson and sent down outfielder Melky Cabrera. They need to make up a lot of ground fast and their offense has been a problem all summer long. Losing Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui for long stretches definitely made a negative impact, and a veteran bat that can reach that short right field porch at Yankee Stadium would give them a solid boost, perhaps enough to make a legitimate playoff run in the last season of the original – well, almost original – Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees contemplated signing Bonds at the end of July, and his name came up in organizational meetings. Who’s to say that adding the home run king back then would not have given the team enough juice (no pun intended) to cut into and perhaps take over the wild card lead? They chose to go with Sexson, who has been abysmal for years and produced nothing (one home run, six RBI) in his short stay in New York after being picked up off the Seattle scrap heap on July 18.

The Rays were interested in Bonds during spring training, and not even the Amazing Kreskin could have predicted that the young club would have been this successful in 2008. They passed, and now that they have proven themselves to be a serious player, they should give Bonds a second thought.

Crawford underwent surgery on his right middle finger and is probably done for the season. Rocco Baldelli, who was the then-Devil Rays’ lone bright spot at one time, returned after battling a slew of injuries and has been playing right field. Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd have been playing left field and designated hitter, respectively, but there is definitely room for improvement. Hinske, the former Blue Jay, is batting .253 with 17 home runs and 50 RBI, while Floyd – who is another player that always seems to be injured – has been more of a locker room presence than in the batter’s box with a paltry .261/8/22. Both may be lefthanded hitters like Bonds, but neither come close to the power the former Giant brings to the table.

If some team gathers up enough balls to sign Bonds, they need to act fast. For a player to be eligible for the post-season roster, he must be on the team by August 31.

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