Make It Interesting And Give Barry Bonds A Call

For the first time in as long as I can remember, watching the Mets play is not Plan A of my summer existence. Livan Hernandez is pitching tonight? Maybe "Wipeout" is on. Oliver Perez going against the Nationals? Let's go rent Watchmen from that dollar machine at the supermarket instead. Injuries are clearly the main culprit this season. However, watching players like Omir Santos, Jeff Francoeur, and Livan is frustrating, considering the thought process behind their significant playing time. It took a torn quadriceps from Fernando Nieve for Jon Niese to finally get the call from AAA. That he has been in the minor leagues since mid-May is indefensible. In sorry times like this, one option is to call up minor leaguers to see what they can do. Outside of Niese, Nick Evans, and a few others, there aren't too many legitimate options though. To this end, I am suggesting the Mets look into signing Barry Bonds through the rest of the season. It would make this team more interesting to watch and also improve the product on the field.

Bonds did not play in 2008 but was looking for work before this season. According to this article about his farcical legal proceedings, he is "at home awaiting trial and hoping that a major league team will ask him to play again." For the sake of this post, I'll assume he is open to playing baseball again at a reasonable salary. Let's look at his numbers from 2007:

PA wOBA UZR +/- Runs FanGraphs WAR
477 .429 -8.7 -7 3.9

These are borderline All-Star caliber numbers, with his ridiculously good offense compensating for the poor defense. How this was his last major league season is pretty odd. Yes, he's supposedly a big jerk but so is everyone at one time or another. Yes, he used PEDs but who really cares anymore. A team like the Royals continues to play sub-replacement dreck like Jose Guillen and Mike Jacobs, but won't take a flier on Bonds. Seriously?

Bonds turns 45 tomorrow, which is ancient for a major leaguer. He hasn't taken a major league swing in 22 months. Considering these factors, there is no guarantee about his performance level. The Marcel projection system took a stab this offseason, projecting Bonds to have an .887 OPS in 248 plate appearances. You already knew this, but an .887 OPS would lead the current Mets roster. To be conservative, let's knock that down to .830 (say .240/.370/.460) and -4 in the field over ~150 plate appearances, covering the remaining 2 months of the season. Using some quick and dirty math, this would make him a ~.5 WAR player the rest of the way, which is more than can be expected from most of the current roster.

Why trot out replacement level outfielders like Cory Sullivan, who has neither youth nor upside, when Bonds is available? Barry would likely be more valuable than Sullivan or Francoeur, and at least has a chance to be an offensive force. If/when Gary Sheffield returns, the pair could form a solid no-field, decent-hit left field platoon of angst. Also, fans' interest might be piqued and more tickets could be sold. I know I would be more likely to see a game at Citi Field if Bonds was in left field. Justifying the price of admission, parking, food, etc. is hard to do these days for non-Johan games. One final benefit would be observing the collective aneurysm had by the "Holy Writers" on sports pages everywhere upon the return of the worst human being to ever walk the earth.

The season is already a total circus, so signing a polarizing figure like Bonds wouldn't be too outrageous. I have spent a lot of time in the past advocating things that the Mets front office would probably never consider. I won't stop now. To John Ricco, Omar Minaya, and Tony Bernazard): Call Barry Bonds's agent and ask how the home run king is doing. You did the almost the same thing with 40 year-old Gary Sheffield and that has worked out quite well.

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