NEW YORK (AP) – Controversial slugger Barry Bonds has not received a single offer to return to Major League Baseball, his agent Jeff Borris said on Monday.
“I’m an optimistic guy by nature,” Borris said, “and I’ve told Barry that the prospects look bleak.”
Bonds, who turns 44 in two weeks, led the majors last season with a .480 on-base percentage. He finished the year with a MLB record 762 career home runs and became a free agent when the San Francisco Giants did not bring him back.
“Barry is in shape right now,” Borris said. “He’s not in game shape, so he’d have to have the chance to hit off of live pitching. But he’s told me that he would be ready in a very short period of time. He thinks he can be ready in 10 days, two weeks.
“And with the first trading deadline coming up, I can’t understand why my phone is not ringing off the hook.”
A 14-time All-Star outfielder, Bonds’ absence was noticed when the All-Stars gathered on Monday, a day before the game at Yankee Stadium.
“His 2007 performance would indicate that he had legitimate shot of being in this room again,” Borris said, surrounded by National League stars in a hotel ballroom.
“No one is even asking about him. I talk to the clubs every day for a variety of reasons and his name is never brought up anymore. I’m more convinced now than ever that he won’t be in a major league uniform in 2008, and I think that’s a pathetic way for him to go out,” he said. “I think he’s deserving of better. He gave his heart and soul to this game.”
New York Mets closer Billy Wagner missed Bonds.
“I hate that he’s not here,” the six-time All-Star reliever said. “Barry usually gave me a ride to the stadium.”
“I judge a person by how they treat me, and he always treated me well,” he said. “Such a great player, it’s sad.”
Borris has previously said Bonds would be willing to play for a prorated share of the $390,000 (euro246,000) minimum salary and donate his salary to buy tickets for kids.
The players’ union has told the commissioner’s office it was concerned over the lack of offers for Bonds. No grievance has been filed.
Bonds was indicted last November on charges he lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 he didn’t knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs. A trial is scheduled to start on March 2 in San Francisco.
“People consider him the poster boy for the steroid era,” Borris said.
Bonds hit .276 last year with 28 home runs, 66 RBIs and a major league-high 132 walks. He was the prime focus of the All-Star game last July when it was held at the Giants’ waterfront ballpark, and he broke Hank Aaron’s home run record of 755 the next month.