From what I've heard in interviews and read in the papers, Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio are going to be busy this offseason, considering all options, working hard to make the '07 Brewers a competitive team. As they ought to--if 85 wins takes the wildcard in '07, I say a flag should be flying in Milwaukee.
If they're really going to be considering all options, I've got one: sign Barry Bonds.
There are several reasons why the Brewers shouldn't go anywhere near Bonds--a couple of those reasons might even be worth considering. But let's start with the reasons to add the greatest slugger of all time to the 2007 Crew:
- Demand may be low. The Giants will make at least a token offer to bring him back, and the Angels will probably get involved, too. However, the Angels are set at the corners and DH, and the A's--who were long expected to be Bonds's destination in '07--have Frank Thomas, who makes Bonds redundant. In other words, Bonds may be inexpensive for the production he brings.
- And, oh, that production. Bonds's VORP is 47.6--in other words, he'll be worth 5 wins with the bat this year. Even accounting for the several runs below average he is with the glove, that's still a major contributor--and he was slumping for the first half of the season! Now he's healthy (relatively speaking, anyway), and as good as ever.
- Bonds would make the Milwaukee lineup look nasty. Consider this:
- Gwynn Jr., CF
- Weeks, 2B
- Bonds, LF
- Hall, SS/3B
- Fielder, 1B
- Hart, RF
- Hardy/Koskie, SS/3B
- Rivera, C
- Slugger, P
Nice mix of lefty power and righty power, and if Weeks and Hart develop the power that's expected of them, you could have 5 consecutive 30 HR guys from 2-6. Scary.
- He would give Milwaukee instant credibility. Want to lure a pitcher to break their no-trade in July? Barry Bonds says Milwaukee is competing this year. Dream of seeing Milwaukee on national TV and Bill Hall getting All-Star votes? You better believe Barry would bring that, too.
- Barry would basically pay for himself. I could put together a proposed roster, including Barry at $12m, that wouldn't represent much of a raise in payroll, but just imagine what pre-season ticket sales would be like if there were a 50/50 shot that Bonds would hit 755 or 756 at Miller Park. There would be backlash, sure, but history is history, and Barry Bonds is it.
He might embrace going somewhere where the media is a little less intrusive (of course, some media would follow him, but the Journal-Sentinel wouldn't scare anybody). He might also like the idea of mentoring some very talented young players. Apparently, if your name isn't Jeff Kent, Bonds is a prince of a teammate. Hell, he might just want to beat up Ned Yost, I don't know.
I also don't know what Barry will command on the open market. If the Giants decide to go for it with Barry for one more year, he could be very expensive. It isn't far-fetched to think he could get $15m from San Fran. However, there aren't a whole lot of other options for him if you figure that Oakland and LAA aren't going to be too interested. The Yankees and Red Sox don't have room, either, which eliminates two more high-payroll teams from the running.
My gut feeling: Bonds is worth $12m (perhaps plus some incentives, like perhaps another $1m for 40 HRs, another $1m for MVP, etc.) to the Brewers. Maybe a little more--I don't know just how many tickets he would sell, or how much money the additional media attention would be worth. I suspect it's somewhere between "a lot" and "a hell of a lot."
Doug Melvin: make the call!