Bonds deal delayed due to 'complicated language'

SAN FRANCISCO -- One Barry signed, one to go.

The San Francisco Giants are still working with
Barry Bonds'
representative to finalize complicated language in the slugger's
$16 million, one-year contract for next season -- a process that has
lasted nearly a month.

The team formally introduced new ace Barry Zito on Wednesday,
but talk quickly shifted from Zito's $126 million, seven-year deal
to Bonds' status. The seven-time NL MVP still has not scheduled a
physical, a necessary procedure for his return to the Giants to
become official.

San Francisco reached a preliminary agreement with Bonds on Dec.
7 -- on the last day of baseball's winter meetings -- for the
one-year contract that could pay him up to $20 million, including
performance bonuses.

The language in the deal still being negotiated concerns the
left fielder's compliance with team rules, as well as what would
happen if he were to be indicted or have other legal troubles,
according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person
spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of
such details.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether the 42-year-old
Bonds perjured himself when he testified in 2003 in the Bay Area
Laboratory Co-Operative steroid distribution case that he never
knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs.

"There's a lot involved," Giants general manager Brian Sabean
said. "The language is wide-ranging."

Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, declined comment on the negotiations.

San Francisco's payroll will be about $95 million this season,
up around $10 million from recent years. A good chunk of that is
committed to Bonds, who will begin his 15th season with the club
only 22 home runs shy of surpassing Hank Aaron's career record of
755. Bonds has agreed to defer some of that money.

Bonds, considered healthy again following offseason surgery on
his troublesome left elbow, has spent 14 of his 21 big league
seasons with San Francisco and helped the Giants draw 3 million
fans in all seven seasons at their waterfront ballpark.

After missing all but 14 games in 2005 following three
operations on his right knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and
77 RBI in 367 at-bats in 2006. He passed Babe Ruth to move into
second place on the career home run list May 28.