The Pittsburgh Pirates won't rush into trading All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonilla and may keep him all season rather than deal for lesser-quality talent, general manager Larry Doughty said Saturday.
A day after team president Carl Barger said contract negotiations with Bonilla were at an impasse and a trade was possible, Doughty said it would be a mistake for a pennant contender like the Pirates to deal in haste."We're not going to give Bobby Bonilla away," Doughty said.
Bonilla rejected the Pirates' four-year, $16 million contract offer last week and asked for a five-year deal at "market value," apparently Darryl Strawberry's $20.25 million, five-year package with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Pirates refused Friday to sweeten their deal, with Barger saying, "We've given as much as we can give."
If the Pirates don't sign him or trade him, Bonilla can become a free agent after this season and the Pirates would receive only an amateur draft choice in compensation.
That would be a worst-case scenario, but Doughty said it is a viable option if trading Bonilla would seriously weaken a team that won 95 games last season, second in the majors to the Oakland Athletics.