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Unassisted
05-07-2008, 10:14 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=3384504&type=story


Free agents Bonds, Lofton key parts of MLBPA investigation
By Buster Olney
ESPN The Magazine

The MLB players' association has opened an investigation into the free-agent market. The MLBPA has been investigating for several weeks what has taken place in free agency, in relation to Barry Bonds, Kenny Lofton and other players who have gone unsigned. It is something they have done in the past.

MLBPA general counsel Michael Weiner, when asked if they were near a resolution, said, "I really don't know. We're still waiting for some information."

If the MLBPA determines that there is something untoward, it could file a grievance on the issue of collusion at the end of the investigation.

"The union notified us that it was investigating potential collusion regarding Barry Bonds and asked for information, and we told them that there was absolutely no collusion with respect to Barry Bonds or any other free agent," said Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general labor counsel. "We are aware of no facts which would support a collusion claim regarding Bonds or any other free agents."

Jeff Borris, the agent for Bonds, said, "No team has made me an offer for any amount at any time since Barry became a free agent."

Borris added that "Barry continues to work out," but when asked about his client's prospects for this season, he said, "I'm not optimistic that he will be in a major league uniform in 2008."

Recently, the Mariners and the Tigers have developed what would seem to be a classic situation for Bonds -- the need for a left-handed hitter and an opening at designated hitter -- and still no offers have come in.

Heath
05-07-2008, 10:18 AM
That's absurd.

All players have a chance to sign with someone. Lofton could have signed with the Reds, but didn't want to sign a minor-league deal.

Bruised egos=crying to media.

redsmetz
05-07-2008, 10:38 AM
I think MLB has to walk a tightrope on things like this. I think there was some sort of "course correction" this off-season. Both Bonds, Lofton and Reggie Sanders are good examples here. Each is a lot older than your average FA and I think the market's saying it's not going to pay a premium for those guys. In some ways, Fogg and Lohse are also examples of similar course corrections. Bonds himself is a special case too - he's a bit radioactive at this point.

Of course, given MLB's earlier history of clear collusion, I can't say I fault the Players' Association making inquiries. But it doesn't seem to be collusion just from a cursory look.

blumj
05-07-2008, 10:47 AM
Yeah, that's what the Tigers need, another hitter who can't play defense. You can't have too many of those.:rolleyes:

REDREAD
05-07-2008, 11:12 AM
I think MLB has to walk a tightrope on things like this. I think there was some sort of "course correction" this off-season. Both Bonds, Lofton and Reggie Sanders are good examples here. Each is a lot older than your average FA and I think the market's saying it's not going to pay a premium for those guys. In some ways, Fogg and Lohse are also examples of similar course corrections. Bonds himself is a special case too - he's a bit radioactive at this point.

Of course, given MLB's earlier history of clear collusion, I can't say I fault the Players' Association making inquiries. But it doesn't seem to be collusion just from a cursory look.

My personal theory (which I can't prove) is that the owners did decide to collude against the mid and bottom tier free agents. When you look at the offers FAs got in the 2006 offseason and compare them to this season, it was a clear change. It's always hard to swallow that all the owners simultaneously got a case of common sense. :lol:

I think the owners were smarter about it this time around, because they didn't target the higher end players. The more desirable FAs like Silva and that CF that SF signed got decent money. That's going to make it harder to prove collusion, but my guess is that collusion still happened.

LincolnparkRed
05-07-2008, 12:00 PM
Can't being a turd of person also affect ones job opportunities? What clubhouse would want to contaminate itself with Barry? And if Lofton is such a great guy why doesn't any team ever hold on to him?

gm
05-07-2008, 12:09 PM
If Barry's agent were to call Seattle or Detroit and offers Bonds services for a pro-rated amount (1-2 million) does anyone else think this "collusion" would evaporate?

Joseph
05-07-2008, 12:39 PM
If Barry's agent were to call Seattle or Detroit and offers Bonds services for a pro-rated amount (1-2 million) does anyone else think this "collusion" would evaporate?


Absolutely it would go away. If Leyland could bring in Bonds for even 3 million, he'd be a Tiger already. However, I think they've all seen what a guy like Clemens has gotten for partial seasons the last few years and decided they can still make big money.

Always Red
05-07-2008, 12:51 PM
Absolutely it would go away. If Leyland could bring in Bonds for even 3 million, he'd be a Tiger already. However, I think they've all seen what a guy like Clemens has gotten for partial seasons the last few years and decided they can still make big money.

Bonds (especially) and Lofton have already made so much money in the game that it's just not worth getting off the couch for a lousy $3 million a year.

Say that again, out loud and slowly. And someone (well, their own union) wants to make a case of collusion?? :bowrofl:

If they can prove it somehow, in writing (or emails) then they can make it stick. It's not something that will endear them to the fans, though.

MLB teams have finally gotten that common sense that Redread was referring to, and figured out that younger, cheaper players are the way to go, for most of your team. Every team other than the Yanks and BoSox can have a player or two hauling in big dollars, but no one else is going to pony up big dollars for old men who are hurt and are a gamble.

gm
05-07-2008, 12:53 PM
Absolutely it would go away. If Leyland could bring in Bonds for even 3 million, he'd be a Tiger already. However, I think they've all seen what a guy like Clemens has gotten for partial seasons the last few years and decided they can still make big money.

So my point is, why make an offer to Bonds/Lofton if you already know they're going to turn it down? Especially considering Barry's "baggage"

If they really want to play ball, let them make a reasonable offer. The league's owners/GMs sure don't "owe" them anything

Johnny Footstool
05-07-2008, 12:58 PM
Will Sammy Sosa be joining this lawsuit? Maybe Ryan Klesko can un-retire and make one last cash-grab as well?

bucksfan2
05-07-2008, 01:08 PM
Why is the MLBPA taking up for Bonds? Didn't he opt out of the MLBPA a while back?

Highlifeman21
05-07-2008, 01:22 PM
Why is the MLBPA taking up for Bonds? Didn't he opt out of the MLBPA a while back?

That was my understanding. IIRC, Clemens did the same thing as well. That's why you never see their real names in any of the video games endorsed by the MLBPA.

IslandRed
05-07-2008, 01:26 PM
My personal theory (which I can't prove) is that the owners did decide to collude against the mid and bottom tier free agents. When you look at the offers FAs got in the 2006 offseason and compare them to this season, it was a clear change. It's always hard to swallow that all the owners simultaneously got a case of common sense. :lol:

That's my take on it too.


Why is the MLBPA taking up for Bonds? Didn't he opt out of the MLBPA a while back?

I'm sure he's not their favorite guy. But if they think collusion is happening, they can't let it slide no matter who it involves, or else the owners will take the inch and attempt to run a mile.

REDREAD
05-07-2008, 01:32 PM
I think the union is more concerned about veterans like Fogg and Lohse.
Again, I'm not sure the union is going to be able to win this case, but it seems more than a coincidence that suddenly someone like Lohse only gets a 1 year deal after spring training starts.

Also, the union has to be concerned that if mediocre FAs get small paydays, then the effect will eventually trickle down to arbitration. Now when there's a mediocre starting pitcher going to arb asking for 7 million, the owners can point to Fogg and Lohse as the market benchmarks.. If the owners are able to control their offers to average or worse FAs, they will potentally make a lot more money in 4-6 years..

redsrule2500
05-07-2008, 02:11 PM
or maybe clubs dont want an ancient steroid_driven robot on their team?

Sea Ray
05-07-2008, 02:19 PM
Detroit has issues with Gary Sheffield if they sign Bonds. ESPN First Take was discussing that today. Apparently Sheffield has some issues with Bonds.

You'd think the owners could defend themselves very well against charges of collusion but I've always been amazed at how poor their legal representation is. They rarely win in court and this is unlike their NFL counterparts

Chip R
05-07-2008, 02:35 PM
It's going to be tougher to prove collusion this time around. When they did it back in the 80s, they were idiotic and put the kibosh on signing any other teams' free agents. Andre Dawson had to give a blank contract to the Cubs to force their hand. Some of the best players in the game at that time were not offered contracts by other teams whereas in the past there was a feeding frenzy.

Now, it's a select few. Guys at the end of their careers who have issues or aren't producing as well as they should. Guys like Bonds aren't going to go just anywhere. If Kansas City made him an offer he probably wouldn't sign with them. He'd have trouble justifying the kind of salary he wants in the NL. Who wants a part time player making the kind of money he wants without being able to DH?

ramp101
05-07-2008, 02:41 PM
apparently not one team has even contacted Bonds about any kind of deal though

that's gotta say something

but alas, I'm sure the Tigers are/were happier with Jacque Jones and the Indians are/were happier with a great guy Jason Michaels and his lack of offense

MrCinatit
05-07-2008, 02:57 PM
Unless I missed the big news during the off season, isn't Eric Milton one of those "others"?
If no one signed him, then the MLBPA might actually have a chance!!

15fan
05-07-2008, 02:58 PM
apparently not one team has even contacted Bonds about any kind of deal though

that's gotta say something


Signing Bonds to a deal is akin to having a date with Britney Spears.

5 years ago? :dancingco :cool:

Now, however, it's more like :runaway: :scared: :yikes: :shocked:

redsmetz
05-07-2008, 03:21 PM
Unless I missed the big news during the off season, isn't Eric Milton one of those "others"?


Oh, I thought I'd gone over to the thread about "Lost".

savafan
05-07-2008, 06:55 PM
Wow, if companies refuse to hire me, can I sue?

Background checks are a part of most employment opportunities anymore, why shouldn't the same be true in baseball?

fearofpopvol1
05-07-2008, 06:56 PM
I think the Yanks will give in and sign him at some point this year. Some team will likely get desperate for 1 (or both) of these players as the season moves on.

Yachtzee
05-07-2008, 07:32 PM
apparently not one team has even contacted Bonds about any kind of deal though

that's gotta say something

but alas, I'm sure the Tigers are/were happier with Jacque Jones and the Indians are/were happier with a great guy Jason Michaels and his lack of offense

Would you want to sign Bonds and run the risk he's going to Federal "pound me in the blank" Prison? I don't think teams want to deal with the public relations Bonds brings with him. Not at the prices he's asking. Other players, I'd have to see the evidence that they aren't being offered anything, but Bonds I can understand why he's poison.

IslandRed
05-07-2008, 07:36 PM
Wow, if companies refuse to hire me, can I sue?

If all the companies in your industry put their heads together and decide not to hire you, and there's a collective bargaining agreement that says they can't do that, then yes, you can.


Background checks are a part of most employment opportunities anymore, why shouldn't the same be true in baseball?

Again, it's a question of whether teams have decided, on their own, not to pursue Bonds or whether there were directives or group decision-making involved. I don't know the answer. There are certainly plenty of reasons for his name to be mud; I know I wouldn't want him on the Reds. But it just seems fishy that not one of the 30 teams wants to talk to him. Seems a bit Seligian.

KronoRed
05-07-2008, 07:46 PM
Great, not some scared owner will offer the * king a contract.

cincinnati chili
05-08-2008, 01:53 AM
Why is the MLBPA taking up for Bonds? Didn't he opt out of the MLBPA a while back?

This is a good point. I don't think he opted out of the UNION, just the licensing deal. But I still think it's a good question.

I think the answer is that if the MLBPA can find evidence of collusion against Bonds, it will make it more plausible to demonstrate collusion, in general.

Personally, I hope the owners HAVE been colluding and that there's another huge damage award coming for the union. While the whole world is talking about contraction, I'm adamantly pro-expansion.

The last time that MLB had an 8-figure collusion award, they paid for it with two expansion franchises.

Yachtzee
05-08-2008, 11:19 AM
This is a good point. I don't think he opted out of the UNION, just the licensing deal. But I still think it's a good question.

I think the answer is that if the MLBPA can find evidence of collusion against Bonds, it will make it more plausible to demonstrate collusion, in general.

Personally, I hope the owners HAVE been colluding and that there's another huge damage award coming for the union. While the whole world is talking about contraction, I'm adamantly pro-expansion.

The last time that MLB had an 8-figure collusion award, they paid for it with two expansion franchises.

Interesting point. Where would you put new teams? Jersey and Portland?

RedsManRick
05-08-2008, 11:53 AM
As I see it, in order to "prove" collusion, you have to show that the teams aren't acting in their own best interest and are acting collectively. The problem with that is two fold:

1. You could point out copious examples of teams making bad decisions which hurt their franchises and the players. Owners and GMs aren't perfect.

2. Bonds, Wells, Lofton, etc. all have one thing in common -- they're old. It's one thing when a peak of his career all-star like Raines or Dawson can't find work. It's quite another when a guy in his 40's and a PR nightmare can't find it.

cincinnati chili
05-09-2008, 02:30 AM
Interesting point. Where would you put new teams? Jersey and Portland?

These might be fine choices. First on my list would be Vegas. Next on my list would be Raleigh and Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach, I believe, is the country's largest metro-area without a major sports team. The median income in Raleigh and Virginia Beach is in the top 10 in the country, higher than Los Angeles, NYC, Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C. and Honlolulu. Raleigh gets the edge because of corporate sponsorship, transplants, and the likelihood that you'd get baseball fanatics driving from Charlotte and throughout the region.

http://www.forbes.com/2005/10/27/richest-cities-US-cx_sc_1028home_ls.html

I'd also consider Charlotte and adding another team in Southern California (Riverside?). It's a little small, but I'd look hard at Salt Lake, esp. if market research tells you that people will pour in a few games per year from distant parts of the state (1 million in the metro area; 2.5 throughout the state).

If you're thinking long term (say 10-20 years from now), I would try to get back into Montreal. Major League Baseball really blew it by letting ownership groups constantly piss on that great market. San Juan is close too. They'd need a different yard. If you're thinking 20-30 years from now, and if you're an optimist, maybe a Dominican team. I realize there's a huge economic dropoff from MLB cities to Santo Domingo, but it would really be something to see that happen in my lifetime.

If you're a serial optimist, think about the furor for baseball in Cuba if it ever de-Castrofies.

Yachtzee
05-09-2008, 10:03 AM
These might be fine choices. First on my list would be Vegas. Next on my list would be Raleigh and Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach, I believe, is the country's largest metro-area without a major sports team. The median income in Raleigh and Virginia Beach is in the top 10 in the country, higher than Los Angeles, NYC, Seattle, Boston, Washington D.C. and Honlolulu. Raleigh gets the edge because of corporate sponsorship, transplants, and the likelihood that you'd get baseball fanatics driving from Charlotte and throughout the region.

http://www.forbes.com/2005/10/27/richest-cities-US-cx_sc_1028home_ls.html

I'd also consider Charlotte and adding another team in Southern California (Riverside?). It's a little small, but I'd look hard at Salt Lake, esp. if market research tells you that people will pour in a few games per year from distant parts of the state (1 million in the metro area; 2.5 throughout the state).

If you're thinking long term (say 10-20 years from now), I would try to get back into Montreal. Major League Baseball really blew it by letting ownership groups constantly piss on that great market. San Juan is close too. They'd need a different yard. If you're thinking 20-30 years from now, and if you're an optimist, maybe a Dominican team. I realize there's a huge economic dropoff from MLB cities to Santo Domingo, but it would really be something to see that happen in my lifetime.

If you're a serial optimist, think about the furor for baseball in Cuba if it ever de-Castrofies.

You make good arguments for all of those cities. I think that when Cuba opens up, we may see a boom of development down there so that an MLB team in Havana in 20-30 years isn't unthinkable. I think as baseball expands its global reach, there will be larger pools of talent to draw from. I would be concerned about Vegas long-term, but then there are plenty of examples where a team spends 20-40 years in a city and moves again. I think my concern is that I'm not sure continued development in places like Vegas are sustainable. We're already seeing water issues in the South and Southwest because of growth and I think it will only get worse in the next 20 years. With the Great Lakes states and Canada seeking to enact a compact preventing the sale of water outside the region, you may see a second boom in that region because of the availability of cheap water. Of course, tons of money flows into Vegas, so it might not affect them as much as other cities, but it may limit the growth of surrounding residential communities from which a team would draw its fan base. Maybe we should start another thread. I'm always interested in this topic.

On the collusion issue, to get us back on topic of the thread, I think it's going to be difficult to find here. The players involved haven't exactly been lighting it up in years past and seem to have large salary demands. Plus, none of them play first like Julio Franco. I don't know, but maybe another issue with a guy like Bonds, besides the steroids, high salary demands, and diminishing performance, is that he still sees himself as a left fielder and teams don't want to push someone else out to satisfy him.

redsmetz
05-09-2008, 10:10 AM
On the collusion issue, to get us back on topic of the thread, I think it's going to be difficult to find here. The players involved haven't exactly been lighting it up in years past and seem to have large salary demands. Plus, none of them play first like Julio Franco. I don't know, but maybe another issue with a guy like Bonds, besides the steroids, high salary demands, and diminishing performance, is that he still sees himself as a left fielder and teams don't want to push someone else out to satisfy him.

I agree that collusion in these circumstances will be hard to prove. Likewise, I think some of these guys who want to hang on later, have to come off their enormous salary expectations. Frankly, in that way, Clemens fiascos the last two seasons have been a detriment to these older players.

They've made significant amounts of money, backing off on top dollar this late where they will essentially fill roles, not be full time players, would go a long way to make them something a team would take a flyer on, IMO.

Jpup
05-09-2008, 12:16 PM
Barry Bonds is a part of the MLBPA. He just doesn't take part in their endorsement deals. He does his on his own. He is as much a part of it, outside of that, as any other player.

cincinnati chili
05-09-2008, 10:11 PM
Barry Bonds is a part of the MLBPA. He just doesn't take part in their endorsement deals. He does his on his own. He is as much a part of it, outside of that, as any other player.

I also did a big headslap about the issue of why the union would want to defend him.

Duh. The union gets x percent of whatever teams sign him for.

cincinnati chili
05-09-2008, 10:13 PM
We're already seeing water issues in the South and Southwest because of growth and I think it will only get worse in the next 20 years. With the Great Lakes states and Canada seeking to enact a compact preventing the sale of water outside the region, you may see a second boom in that region because of the availability of cheap water. Of course, tons of money flows into Vegas, so it might not affect them as much as other cities, but it may limit the growth of surrounding residential communities from which a team would draw its fan base. Maybe we should start another thread. I'm always interested in this topic.

Interesting. I'm oblivious to this topic. You probably know that Colorado has courts that do nothing but water issues, and it's also one of two states (can't think of the other one) where when you sell your land you, by default, do NOT own the water on it.

[/thread hijack]

Yachtzee
05-09-2008, 11:05 PM
Interesting. I'm oblivious to this topic. You probably know that Colorado has courts that do nothing but water issues, and it's also one of two states (can't think of the other one) where when you sell your land you, by default, do NOT own the water on it.

[/thread hijack]

I never really thought of it until this past summer when Atlanta had major water issues because of drought. Seeing shots of the water level of Lake Lanier (Atlanta's main water source), where I had visited a few times in my teens, got me looking into water issues. From what I gather, water is becoming such an issue that the water from the Colorado River is largely used up by the time it reaches the sea. It makes you wonder if development in AZ and NV is sustainable at current rates.

BCubb2003
05-09-2008, 11:13 PM
I never really thought of it until this past summer when Atlanta had major water issues because of drought. Seeing shots of the water level of Lake Lanier (Atlanta's main water source), where I had visited a few times in my teens, got me looking into water issues. From what I gather, water is becoming such an issue that the water from the Colorado River is largely used up by the time it reaches the sea. It makes you wonder if development in AZ and NV is sustainable at current rates.

You're welcome to come up here, where we get 112 inches of water every winter.

Yachtzee
05-10-2008, 01:26 AM
You're welcome to come up here, where we get 112 inches of water every winter.

I'm actually getting quite a bit myself right now in the area of Akron, OH. If water costs ever skyrocket, I have a feeling places like Akron and Syracuse will be doing well. Although I looked at a job in Rome, NY and suddenly remembered stories of how much snow they were getting the past few winters.

By the way, I just visited a town called Hannibal, I think, not too far from Syracuse. Those towns are so small up there it's sometimes hard to tell what town you're in. I'm often in Bath, NY to visit the in-laws and my wife's friends have relatives up there. I'll probably be in Bath for Thanksgiving this year.

cincinnati chili
05-10-2008, 08:36 PM
I don't think anyone's posted this yet. A good read from Ray Ratto on why Bonds hasn't been signed. I agree 100%.

http://cbs.sportsline.com/columns/story/10819440

I still suspect somebody will sign him.