NEW YORK - The players’ association has expressed concern to the baseball commissioner’s office over the lack of offers to Barry Bonds, asking for additional information about the offseason’s free-agent market.
The union did not go as far as to file a collusion grievance on behalf of the 43-year-old outfielder, who remains unsigned since the San Francisco Giants decided not to make him an offer last year and he became a free agent.
“We’ve raised both general concerns and some player specific concerns,” Michael Weiner, the union’s general counsel, said Tuesday.
Weiner said the only player the union specifically brought up in its discussions with the commissioner’s office was Bonds, who repeatedly has said he wants to play a 23rd major league season.
“I haven’t received any offers on Barry since he became a free agent,” said Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris.
Management has repeatedly said there has been no concerted effort against Bonds.
“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,” said Dan Halem, MLB senior vice president and general labor counsel. “We are aware of no facts which would support a collusion claim regarding Bonds or any other free agents.”
The union’s concern over Bonds was first reported by ESPN.com.
A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds broke the career home run record last year, then was indicted in November on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice relating to 2003 grand jury testimony in which he said he never knowingly used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. A trial is unlikely to start before 2009.
“Every year we look internally into whether the free-agent market operated according to the Basic Agreement. Not every year do we raise concerns,” Weiner said. “We have raised concerns with the commissioner’s office, but it’s still in the investigative phase.”
Weiner said there was no timetable for what happens next.
“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,” he said.
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