Bonds files for free agency
Home run leader to test market to find new team for '08 season
DENVER -- Former Giants slugger Barry Bonds filed for free agency on Monday, punctuating his stated desire that he wants to continue his baseball career in 2008, his agent told MLB.com.
"We filed about an hour ago," Jeff Borris, Bonds' Beverly Hills-based agent, said in a late-afternoon telephone call.
The free-agent filing period begins at midnight after the final game of the World Series. Borris can talk length of contract and his client's situation with any club, but can't discuss financial terms for the next 15 days. That period of exclusivity is usually left open for the originating club.
But in Bonds' case, the Giants said a month ago that they weren't bringing him back for a 16th season, a position reiterated on Saturday night at Coors Field by Larry Baer, the team's executive vice president, who was in attendance for Game 3 of the World Series.
The 43-year-old Bonds hit his 756th homer on Aug. 7 at San Francisco to pass Hank Aaron into the top spot on Major League Baseball's all-time list. He finished his 22nd season at 762, is four RBIs short of 2,000 and 65 hits away from 3,000. He played his last game for the Giants on Sept. 26 at AT&T Park.
Speculation has it that Bonds' career as a left fielder is at an end, but Borris said that he intends to speak with a wide spectrum of teams in both the American and National Leagues.
"The only teams I'm going to talk to are teams that have a chance of winning," Borris said. "Barry has one thing left open on his resume and that's winning a World Series ring. His personal achievements have always taken a back seat to putting a championship ring on his finger."
Bonds came closest to that goal with the Giants in 2002 when they led the World Series 3-2 against the Angels, but lost the final two games at Anaheim.
Borris said he hasn't spoken to the Giants about Bonds since he was told in September that the seven-time NL Most Valuable Player wouldn't be brought back.
"Who's going to be their left fielder?" Borris said.
That's an open question. Just as open is the question regarding where Bonds will play next season and how far away from his home in Southern California he's willing to go to do it.
This is the second offseason in a row Bonds has filed for free agency, but last year the Giants were very much a part of the bidding, ultimately signing him on Dec. 7 to a one-year contract.
Bonds earned $19.3 million in 2007 -- a $15.8 million base and $3.5 million in incentive bonuses for surpassing 450 plate appearances.
He finished with 476 plate appearances, including 94 hits, three hit-by-pitches, and a Major League-leading 132 walks, 43 of them intentional. He struck out only 54 times, batted .276, scored 75 runs, knocked in 66 others and had an on-base percentage of .480 in 126 games, most of them played during the first five months of the season. Bonds played sparingly in September and missed most of the season's last two weeks after jamming his right big toe trying to make a catch in left field on Sept. 15 at San Diego.He was also voted as the starting NL left fielder for the All-Star Game played on July 10 in San Francisco, his 14th All-Star selection. Asked how much interest he expects Bonds to generate on the open market, Borris said: "I'm anticipating widespread interest from every Major League team."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.