Tomorrow — Tuesday, February, 26 — Rays Digest columnist Ted Fleming will continue Speaking Of Sports' weekly breakdown of the AL East division, focusing on the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. In addition, a large portion of the discussion will center around the latest rumors related to the Tampa Bay Rays' alleged interest in controversial free-agent outfielder Barry Bonds. According to Rays manager Joe Maddon, there is some validity to the story, originally reported by the St. Petersburg Times on Monday morning. The Rays could sign Bonds, baseball's all-time home run king, at a discounted rate due to the weak demand for the former Giants slugger, although any deal would still come at a high price. The distractions associated with the slugger, however, have led to some doubts about whether Bonds' addition to the clubhouse will have detrimental effects on the development of several of the Rays' young stars. This rings especially true for an organization that recently attempted to remove all negative vibes in its clubhouse, trading away troubled outfielders Elijah Dukes and Delmon Young.
The rest of the rays outfield corps would welcome Bonds with open arms, writes Mark Topkin.
Bonds was still an effective offensive player in 2007, hitting 28 homers while finishing with a line of .274, .480, .565. If the Rays are serious about competing right now, perhaps he would give the Rays' offense the necessary edge, hitting in the cleanup spot sandwiched between the dangerous B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena, who finished second in the American League in home runs and OPS last season. There is no question Bonds would be a nice addition to an improved, young Tampa Bay lineup.
Bonds is easily one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports, though, a man with perjury charges still looming over his head. Even still, his presence alone could also provide the Rays with a boost at the ticket window, too, perhaps increasing revenues dramatically.
Bonds might be a good fit for the Rays, writes Buster Olney.
It should be interesting to see how legitimate these rumors are. An intriguing possibility, nonetheless.
The show will air from 11:00 to 1:00 Eastern Time. Click here to listen live. At 12:30 on the dot, co-host Althea Pashman will call in with a live report from Rays' camp at the Naimoli Complex, providing any updates on the Bonds situation.
Dial (888) TBSN-510 (toll free) — 888-827-6510 — to call in and voice your opinion on the show. If you have a question for Ted or Tyler, send an email to RaysDigest@gmail.com.