Forum Spin Doctor
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Barry Bonds and his entourage scurried through the hotel lobby with the slugger hardly uttering a word before disappearing onto an elevator. Bonds' appearance at the baseball winter meetings Wednesday caused quite a stir as speculation swirled about where he would land in 2007 to resume his chase of Hank Aaron's home run record.
Would he sign with a team soon? Was he getting desperate? Had a mystery club suddenly entered the mix?
It's not every day that one of the best hitters in baseball history shows up at these meetings looking for work. In fact, no one with the San Francisco Giants could remember the last time the 42-year-old Bonds had turned up for the annual event - perhaps it was as far back as 1992, just before he joined the team.
"He's fine. He's as cool, calm and collected as any free agent I've ever represented and he has every reason to be," said Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris.
The seven-time NL MVP sported a casual look with jeans and a black polo shirt to go about his business. The Giants wouldn't say whether they met face-to-face with Bonds, but Borris said he sat down with San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean for three hours Wednesday. The two were expected to talk again later in the evening.
"I don't want to characterize it one way or another," Borris said.
He added that Bonds did not meet with Giants officials. The agent wouldn't say whether Bonds visited any other clubs.
Sabean, meanwhile, wouldn't confirm whether a conversation had taken place. He was more concerned with announcing he had signed catcher Bengie Molina to a three-year deal.
"I'm Sgt. Schultz," Sabean said. "Silence is golden. This is about Molina. I'm staying away from left field completely."
By Wednesday night, Bonds had left the hotel, but there was a possibility he might return Thursday. Borris and his staff were set to leave after Thursday morning's winter meeting draft.
"He's not driving. He's not on a boat," Borris said. "He could be on Matterhorn (at Disney World). You don't know where he is, his mode of transportation."
Bonds has spent 14 of his 21 big league seasons with San Francisco and helped the Giants draw 3 million fans in all seven seasons of their waterfront ballpark's existence.
He has 734 home runs, 22 from breaking Aaron's mark. After missing all but 14 games in 2005 following three operations on his right knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and 77 RBIs in 367 at-bats in 2006.
He passed Babe Ruth to move into second place on the career home run list May 28.