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Sunday, March 29, 2009
Updated: March 30, 1:37 PM ET
MLB story lines: Will Bonds play again?


Barry Bonds' legal troubles could bring him down.
In some ways, it seems Barry Bonds has been convicted in the court of public opinion. Despite Bonds' putting up some of the best offensive seasons in baseball history and breaking Hank Aaron's hallowed home run record, SportsNation still thinks of Aaron as the home run king, and no team has made overtures to sign the aging slugger. Bonds would immediately be an improvement over the vast majority of American League designated hitters, but teams seem to be unwilling to deal with the circus he represents.

However, these concerns are somewhat petty in the face of Bonds' actual legal problems. Under indictment for the charge of lying to a federal grand jury about using performance-enhancing drugs, Bonds' trial could start later this season. It promises to be (at the very least) a distraction, possibly consuming the game's attention at an inopportune time.

Will Bonds be convicted? Could one of baseball's greatest end up serving time in jail? Will any team pick him up, despite the risk?

What We're Saying

Rob Neyer: "So what should Bud Selig do? I suppose this is far too much to hope for, but my first suggestion to Selig -- and for that matter, Donald Fehr -- would be (in the immortal words of John Lennon): Just gimme some truth. That's the only thing that might set all of them free."
Feb. 12, 2009
Leave the record books alone

Tim Keown: "As good as the prosecution's case would be with Anderson, it's equally bad without him. Sunk, even. Judge Susan Illston has refused to allow the prosecution to allow positive test results on Bonds' urine from BALCO. If Anderson doesn't testify about collecting the urine samples for those tests, there won't be anything linking Bonds to positive samples. And if Anderson doesn't testify that dosing charts allegedly documenting steroid use pertained to Bonds, there won't be any direct linkage of steroid use to Bonds."
Feb. 24, 2009
Perception and reality wage another battle in the sports word

Gene Wojciechowski: "They say it doesn't really matter whether the trial ever begins, or whether Bonds is actually convicted on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The fact that Anderson won't testify at all -- not even to say that his best friend is innocent, that Bonds knew nothing of what was being done to his body -- is proof enough. Modest jail time or house arrest isn't as important as Bonds' being kept away from the game of baseball."
Mar. 4, 2009
'Soft' landing for the HR king

By the Numbers

Barry Bonds is one of the greatest hitters in baseball history -- perhaps even the greatest, if you take the relative difficulty of succeeding in modern Major League Baseball into account. He last played in 2007, but his numbers then were still at an elite level. What would Bonds' 2007 numbers look like had he played in 2008?

Barry Bonds

Bonds still has more homers than anyone in history.
2007 Stats (rank in 2008 MLB)
OPS: 1.045 (2nd)
OPS+: 170 (3rd)
OBP: .480 (1st)
SLG: .565 (9th)
BB: 132 (1st)
IBB: 43 (1st)
AB/HR: 12.1 (1st)
K/BB: .41 (1st)
Salary: $15.53 million