Advertisement

Toronto Blue Jays' outfielder Barry Bonnell says his future...

TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays' outfielder Barry Bonnell says his future with the club is up in the air -- and it's all because of a dispute over his penchant for flying.

Bonnell, who finished second in hitting with the Blue Jays this season with a .296 average, has asked the team to trade him and it has until March 15 to do so or Bonnell becomes a free agent.

Advertisement

'They offered me a three-year contract and guaranteed it all,' Bonnell was quoted as saying in the Toronto Globe and Mail Saturday. 'I was ready to accept it. But 10 minutes before the Nov. 5 deadline for demanding to be traded, they phoned my agent and told him they wouldn't guarantee any of it unless I agreed to quit flying.'

Bonnell and his agent, Steve Comte of San Francisco, had met with Blue Jays' vice presidents, Pat Gillick and Paul Beeston, at Bonnell's home in Milford, Ohio, last month. Bonnell said there was no mention of his hobby of flying at the October meeting.

The 29-year-old outfielder has a private pilot's license, a multiple-engine instrument rating and hopes of becoming a commercial pilot when he's finished with baseball. However, he says he only logs about 40 hours of flight time per year.

Advertisement

Gillick told the newspaper the Blue Jays were willing to buy insurance for Bonnell, a five-year veteran of the major leagues acquired from the Atlanta Braves in a 1979 trade.

'Every player's contract has a clause that prohibits things like scuba diving, road racing, boxing, judo and flying, but he made up his mind before we had a chance to look into insurance,' said Gillick. 'If we don't sign him, we'll just trade him and get somebody else to take his place.'

Bonnell said he and the club were 'only $300,000 apart' on the terms of a new contract.

'And I was ready to accept their figure in exchange for three years of security. I'm not a troublemaker. I kept my mouth shut early in the year when I was batting .450 but not playing every day. I did everything they asked me to. I felt I established myself as a quality player. I wound up having the best year of my career.'

Comte said he had sought a four-year contract for Bonnell but was told by the club they wouldn't agree to anything longer than three years.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement