Bonds deal with Giants in limbo
Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.
NEW YORK — Barry Bonds' contract with the San Francisco Giants isn't final just yet.
After the commissioner's office rejected Bonds' $15.8 million, one-year deal because it contained a personal-appearance provision, the team sent revised documents to his agent, Jeff Borris.
"At this time, Barry is not signing the new documents," Borris said Wednesday.
Baseball's Uniform Player Contract states a player "agrees to cooperate with the club in any and all reasonable promotional activities." Bonds' contract had additional language that the commissioner's office rejected.
Borris did not detail the provisions in dispute, but a baseball executive, speaking on condition of anonymity because these details had not been made public, said they dealt with personal appearances.
After several disputes, lawyers for the union and the commissioner's office agreed last fall that no additional appearance provisions would be accepted in future player contracts. It was not yet clear Wednesday whether Bonds must sign a new contract or whether the one he already signed would be accepted with the troublesome language eliminated.
Giants executives did not immediately return telephone calls seeking comment.
Bonds and the Giants, who agreed to financial terms Dec. 7, said Monday the drawn-out agreement had been finalized.
Still, they disagree on the meaning of an unusual provision in the deal relating to Bonds' potential legal problems. In the contract, a list of crimes acts is spelled out in a section.
"Player acknowledges and agrees that an indictment for any criminal act under (that section) ... is proper grounds for termination of this contract," Bonds' contract states.
The language in the contract was read to The Associated Press by a person with a copy of the agreement.
"Player also acknowledges and agrees that he will not grieve, appeal or otherwise challenge any club action to terminate this contract as a result of player's indictment for any criminal acts (specified) ... nor will he cause or authorize any third party, such as the Major League Baseball Players Association, to grieve, appeal or otherwise challenge any club action to terminate this contract as a result of player's indictment for any (specified) criminal acts."
The Giants wanted to protect themselves if Bonds is charged in the federal government's steroids investigation. Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, is in a California federal prison because he has refused to testify whether Bonds committed perjury when he told a 2003 grand jury he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.
Borris said the contract language is unenforceable under baseball's collective bargaining agreement and its inclusion is meaningless.
"Although it is not my policy to comment on the specifics of an individual player's contract, the reporting that Barry will allow the Giants to get out of his contract if he is indicted on the federal steroid investigation is inaccurate," he said. "The collective bargaining agreement governs the work relationship between the owners and players, not the Giants' unilateral assertions."
At a news conference Wednesday to announce the 2008 All-Star game will be played at Yankee Stadium, commissioner Bud Selig wouldn't address a question about baseball's plans if Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's home run record. Bonds has 734 homers, 21 shy of Aaron's mark.
"I think I've spoken on that simply as much as I'm going to," Selig said. "I've said that we would handle it the way we've handled everything else, and that's all I have to say on that subject right now."
Todd Helton has put the trade talk behind him and is focused on the upcoming season, when he hopes to help Colorado end its six-year stretch of losing records.
The Rockies broke off talks with Boston this week after the Red Sox balked at including any highly regarded prospects in a potential deal for Helton, whose .333 career batting average is tops among active players.
The breakdown in talks was met with relief in Colorado, where Helton is the face of the franchise despite two consecutive seasons marred by injuries and illness.
Pitcher Dave Williams had surgery Wednesday to repair a herniated disk in his neck and it's unclear how long he could be sidelined.
Right-hander Mark Prior agree to a one-year deal and avoided salary arbitration. Prior will get $3,575,000 and would earn an additional $150,000 each for making 27 and 30 starts.
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