Barry Bonds showed up at San Francisco Giant camp in Scottsdale today, where he will begin a week as a coach/instructor. As I type this, he’s sitting with Bruce Bochy for a press conference.
Having a guy who is among the best ever at baseball coming in to your camp to teach players is huge. Moreover, having a guy who is among the best ever but who, when he played, was reputed to be surly and not always approachable by teammates willingly coming to be a coach is even bigger. Certainly more newsworthy. It’s not anything we’d ever really expected and that’s sort of the definition of news.
But of course, from what I’ve seen of the press conference, the media wants to ask him about PED and Hall of Fame stuff. Because of course they do. For the record, Bonds’ response to PED questions was to tell the reporters to go read the court transcripts. Which, OK, whatever. His response to whether he should be in the Hall of Fame was to say, yeah, he should definitely be in the Hall of Fame but that that’s up the voters and he’s not going to tell them how to do their jobs.
Personally, I’m more interested in Bonds now and the impact an all-time great might have on the 2014 Giants. But since Pedro Gomez and a bunch of those guys are at the presser, I feel like the coverage that comes out of it is gonna smell an awful lot like 2007.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.