Now You See Him... 

And now you don't. An eagle-eyed member of the McCovey Chronicles community noticed that Barry Bonds is no longer listed on the Giants' 40-man roster.

When the Giants announced Bonds's contract and made some official happy-time with Barry in late January, they also finally added his name to the list. Not so fast. The contract was subsequently rejected by the commissioner's office, and the drama continues. (If you haven't caught up on the latest contract twists, click here.)

This could be nothing. Just a bit of gamesmanship between the Giants and Bonds. They need each other desperately. Barry doesn't want to sit out the year, and no other team will have him. Without his bat, the Giants offense will sound like a Michael Apted short film. You know, "3 Up, 3 Down." OK, that was bad, not to mention obscure to all but the nerdiest of documentary film buffs.

I persevere, oblivious to your jeers and heckles. Which is more than we can say about a Bondsless Giant offense. His absence from the 40-man begs this question: If not Him, then Who? What are the alternatives?

1) Trade for a short-term fix, someone like Richie Sexson, Pat Burrell, or Adam Dunn, with only a year or two left on an expensive contract. This would mean trading a young pitcher, but probably not giving up the franchise as long as the Giants took the bloated contract off the other team's hands. It would not help the team get better, but it would let the Giants say they had "a cleanup hitter," whatever that means.

2) Find a longer-term solution, something really bold. A-Rod (but only if he doesn't opt out after this year or is willing to negotiate a new contract). Manny. Mark Teixiera. Trading for a big middle-of-the-order bat means giving up young pitching, which the team has refused to do.

3) Do nothing. Ray Durham bats cleanup. Give Todd Linden the left-field job. Give Fred Lewis more playing time. Resign the club to a miserable losing season and think of 2008 as the start-fresh year. To cheer up the depressed fan base, call up Tim Lincecum in May. Conduct a fire sale as soon as possible.

4) Put your forearms firmly against the seat-back in front of you and prepare for impact. Remember, your seat cushion is also a flotation device.


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