This is it. This is the time for the Red Sox to sign Barry Bonds. Right now, Bonds would be ecstatic to sign with the Sox for something close to a minimum contract. Maybe $1 million for the rest of the season would have resonant symbolic value.
This will give the Sox great leverage to encourage Manny to 1) play every night and 2) shut the hell up.
Bonds will want to play at some point this season; have a chance to win a title; prove his worth to a contender; and adjust to the DH and American League.
The Sox desperately want to bring Manny back in line. Bonds helps press Manny to behave because of the production and the attention he’d draw. Manny would no longer be the big news in Beantown and would have a clear illustration of how easily he might be replaced next year. After all, wouldn’t it be perfectly easy for Boston media to draw comparisons to the awful left field play of Ramirez (who doesn’t care) to Bonds (who has always worked hard in the field but is really old and has crappy knees)?
As odd as it seems, the on-field numbers would probably also be interesting. Certainly, Manny will produce more in certain obvious categories but Bonds would definitely compare solidly in some of the more sophisticated statistical indices. American League pitchers would certainly be cowed by Bonds’ presence surrounding Big Papi in the Sox’ lineup and the methods by which they get Ramirez out would likely not work well with Bonds.
All this might minimize Ramirez’ leverage pressing him to be the good soldier he struggles to be. Exactly what Boston needs most.