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Bonds, Giants Agree to $90M Contract

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ During last year's All-Star game, Barry Bonds put on a New York Yankees uniform for a picture with his son Nikolai, who wanted to wear his father's San Francisco uniform.

``Gary Sheffield came by and said I looked like crud,'' Bonds recalled on Monday night. ``He said I looked better in a Giants uniform.''

Bonds agreed to $90 million, five-year contract with the Giants on Monday, and as a result he is all but guaranteed to remain in a San Francisco uniform until he retires. The deal also calls for a 10-year personal service contract _ with the Giants to pay $1 million annually to the Bonds Family Foundation _ after his playing career is over.

``We believe we have the best player in the game signed with the Giants for the next four years at least,'' Giants owner and president Peter Magowan said. ``I can't say this day would happen, but both sides wanted it to happen. He has a decent shot at the home run record of Hank Aaron, the runs scored record, the walks record and 3,000 hits.''

Bonds had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history in 2001, hitting 73 homers to break the previous record of 70, set by Mark McGwire in 1998. The 37-year-old outfielder also had an .863 slugging percentage and 177 walks, breaking season records set by Babe Ruth.

``My heart has always been here,'' Bonds said. ``No amount of money would make me leave San Francisco, to be honest with you. I always wanted to stay a San Francisco Giant. Unless there was a blockbuster, out-of-the world offer, I wasn't going to leave. All I want now is a World Series ring.''

Bonds, the first player to win four Most Valuable Player awards, became a free agent after the season, but the Giants were the only team to acknowledge a bid. He accepted the team's offer of salary arbitration on Dec. 20, and the sides were set to exchange proposed salaries Friday for a one-year contract.

``Peter Magowan made my childhood dream come true,'' Bonds said. ``I'm so excited right now I want to call my godfather (Willie Mays) and tell him I get to play in his backyard the rest of my career.''

Bonds will receive a $10 million signing bonus to be paid through April 2004. He gets salaries of $13 million in each of the next two seasons, $16 million in 2004, $20 million in 2005 and $18 million in 2006.

``I took what I wanted,'' Bonds said. ``My main goal is winning. Through long hours of work, we were able to structure everything to benefit us and keep the Giants competitive. I'm glad I was able to help myself and the organization. I want to win here.''

He isn't concerned about getting too old to fulfill the deal.

``If I can't play, I'll leave gracefully,'' he said. ``Don't worry.''

The average annual value of $18 million ties Bonds with Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs for the fourth-highest in baseball, trailing only Texas shortstop Alex Rodriguez ($25.2 million), Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez ($20 million) and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter ($18.9 million).

``He did not require the optimum contract,'' said Bonds' agent, Scott Boras. ``He just wanted to be placed in the group of top players. Tradition is a hard thing to negotiate, and his tradition lies with the San Francisco Giants.''

Only the first four years and $72 million are guaranteed. If Bonds doesn't have 500 or more plate appearances in 2005, the team can void the final year of the contract. If Bonds has 1,500 or more plate appearances combined from 2003 to 2005, including 400 or more in the final year, the last season becomes guaranteed.

The Giants will defer $5 million of year's salary, money to be paid from 2007 to 2011. Bonds, who has a no-trade clause, gets $2.5 million of the signing bonus on April 1, $3.5 million on April 1, 2003, and $4 million on April 1, 2004.

``His personal accomplishments speak for themselves,'' Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. ``He is such a vital element to our club's success.''

Bonds said he was also encouraged by the Giants' previous offseason deals. They got Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Desi Relaford in a trade with the New York Mets and signed free-agent outfielder Reggie Sanders and pitchers Jason Schmidt and Jason Christenson.

``When they did all those trades, I told Scott if we don't hurry up (and sign), I'm going to kill you,'' Bonds said. ``I was excited. I think Brian Sabean and everybody here put a lot of effort into this.''

While Bonds was pursuing the home run record, he insisted he would enter the Hall of Fame in the uniform of the team with which he retired.

``I'm a Giant for life,'' Bonds said. ``Both sides wanted to have relationships for the long term. I wanted to be part of this organization for life, even after I retire.''

Teams were wary of a long-term deal because of his age and lack of success in the postseason, where he has a .196 average (19-for-97) with one homer and six RBIs.

Bonds has 567 career homers, seventh on the career list and 188 short of Hank Aaron's record.
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