Contract language holds up Bonds deal

Contract language holds up Bonds deal

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball on Wednesday rejected the $15.8 million, one-year contract signed between the Giants and Barry Bonds, a source within baseball said.

The latest dispute revolves around a personal-provisions clause the Giants added to the contract, which is in direct contradiction to language already in the new Basic Agreement collectively bargained between the Players Association and owners last year.

The Associated Press reported that the new documents were sent to Bonds to sign, but his agent, Jeff Borris, told the wire service that "at this time, Barry is not signing the new documents."

Reached by phone in Los Angeles, Borris said he had nothing to add to the quote and would comment no further on it.

A Giants spokesman said the club expected the deal to be done and that officials there "are still working on it." Otherwise, the Giants, as has been their custom, declined to comment on any provisions in the contract.

The issue of extra player appearances was resolved last year in collective bargaining and none, aside from those stipulated in the Basic Agreement, are allowed in an individual player's contract.

Despite disagreements the past two days over other clauses in the contract, including whether the deal could be terminated if Bonds is indicted on perjury charges stemming from an ongoing federal investigation into his steroid use, the appearance provision is the only reason why MLB rejected the original contract, the baseball source said.

Bonds and the Giants came to an agreement on all financial terms on Dec. 7 for a contract that could also pay him an additional $4.2 million of incentives based on games played and plate appearances. Bonds, playing on a recovering right knee and with a sore left elbow, was on the field for 130 games last season and came to the plate 493 times, including a National League-leading 115 walks.

Haggling over the language lasted for almost two months. But after a hectic day on Monday at AT&T Park as Bonds took his physical in two parts sandwiched around a rancorous meeting with Giants brass, he agreed to the deal, finally signing a term sheet that binds him to the team.

Borris wouldn't say whether Bonds is content to let the contract rejected by MLB stand.

He did say on Monday that there were provisions in the deal that were "unenforceable," including Bonds waving his rights to file a grievance, particularly in the instance of the club trying to negate the deal if he is indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in San Francisco.

That provision is also in direct contradiction to the Basic Agreement, Borris said on Monday.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.