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.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.