Free agent replacements
Fred Lewis -- if they rebuild him. If they have the technology. Other than that, I'm still waiting for the Giants to come up with an outfielder that's as good as Chili Davis. When that comes around in 2030, I'll start worrying about replacing Bonds with minor league talent.
Would bring him back at....
One year, $40298 frapillion. That doesn't allow the Giants to sign Alfonso Soriano? Good. Soriano had a .309 on-base percentage in Texas just two seasons ago. Maybe he'll keep the walk and homer rate up; that makes for a heck of a player. There is no way I would want the Giants to pay $17M to find out if he can keep it up until he's 35. Carlos Lee is good-not-great, and isn't the best bet to continue raking into his mid-30s.
Who else would the Giants be unable to sign if Bonds if signed? Aaron Boone? Joe Winkelsas? This isn't a good offseason to build a team through free agency. The Giants should target the best players for short-term deals. Or, I don't know, the best player on the market for a one-year deal. That makes a whole bunch of sense for this team.
Guess at actual salary, destination....
Giants, $12M. If the Giants don't sign him, put me down for the A's. It just makes all kinds of sense.
First choice to replace him?
Hennessey for Pujols. Correia for Ryan Howard. Put Pujols in left.
Bring Bonds back. I understand the need for posturing. It makes so much sense that the Giants will need to keep Bonds, that Bonds and his agent-on-a-stick think they can bleed the Giants dry. It makes so much sense for Bonds to stay, the Giants think they can low-ball Bonds
Forgetting the home run chase, history, and egos involved, Bonds is the player on the free agent market that would help the Giants' offense the most. And it isn't really close. With Bonds or without Bonds, the team could finish 75-87. The difference is if that happens without Bonds, attendance will crater. The free agent class of 2007 is just as uninspiring, so there wouldn't be any quick fixes. The farm probably wouldn't offer something more than an average starter or two. That's another down year, and another year of poor attendance. That's a trend; a pattern of losing the Giants can't afford. At the very least, Bonds keeps casual fan interest high for another year. That buys some time before the Giants become the 49ers.
In that time, heck, maybe they can get a good team going. But signing Bonds for one year certainly wouldn't be an obstacle for that in 2007, and signing Bonds wouldn't be a factor for 2008.