Former Giants slugger Barry Bonds has asked the Players Association to consider filing a grievance on his behalf because Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader has been unable to sign a contract as a free agent for the 2008 season. In his behalf, the union has contacted the Commissioner's Office seeking information about why Bonds hasn't even been extended an offer. "We've raised both general concerns and some player-specific concerns," Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel, said, telling The Associated Press that the only specific concern raised was the case of Bonds. "We have made requests for information. I expect at some point we would sit down with the Commissioner's Office and make a determination whether to proceed with any grievances."
Detailed information about negotiations for Bonds has been turned over to the union. Bonds, the all-time leader with 762 homers, has declined to retire and says he still wants to play. His agent, Jeff Borris, is actively still seeking a position for him. Bonds was told by the Giants this past September that his 15-year reign with the team was over and he would not be asked back. MLB responded to the union that the Commissioner's Office has no reason to believe that there's any collective agreement to keep Bonds from getting a job. He's currently under federal indictment for allegedly lying about his use of performance-enhancing drugs to a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative nearly five years ago. The indictment, which charged Bonds on four counts of perjury and one of obstruction of justice, was recently vacated, and federal attorneys have told the court that they will re-file it by the next hearing, scheduled for June 6. "The union notified us that it was investigating potential collusion regarding Barry Bonds and asked for information, and we told them that there was absolutely no collusion with respect to Barry Bonds or any other free agent," Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general labor counsel, told The AP. "We are aware of no facts, which would support a collusion claim regarding Bonds or any other free agents." Bonds hit his 756th home run to pass Hank Aaron into first place on the all-time list this past Aug. 7 at AT&T Park. He played his final game for the Giants there on Sept. 26. A host of other big-name free agents, including Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Kenny Lofton, Roger Clemens and David Wells are also still on the market. Werner said that the union exams the market every year and then acts accordingly under the auspices the Basic Agreement. "Every year we look internally into whether the free-agent market operated according to the Basic Agreement," he said. "Not every year do we raise concerns. [This year] we have raised concerns with the Commissioner's Office, but it's still in the investigative phase."
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.