Has minor-league team made offer Bonds can't refuse?

WASHINGTON, Pa. -- Barry Bonds has a public offer on the free-agent market -- from the independent Washington Wild Things, who play not far from where Bonds began his major-league career in Pittsburgh.

Of course, a pay cut is involved.

Bonds, who made about $16 million last season for the San Francisco Giants, would have to settle for the independent Frontier League's maximum salary of $1,200 per month.

There are extras, though: The Wild Things are offering a 50-50 share on merchandise sales and a pledge to find a host family for Bonds so he doesn't have to rent an apartment in this southwestern Pennsylvania city.

On the road, Bonds would get a king-sized single room, a major perk on the minor-league level.

"Many of the great ones eventually return to where their careers began," general manager Ross Vecchio said Tuesday. "Babe Ruth began his career with the Red Sox and then finished it with the Boston Braves. Willie Mays started with the New York Giants and finished with the Mets. Hank Aaron began and ended his career in Milwaukee."

Bonds can make more money by reaching incentives for breaking the Frontier League's single-season records for home runs (35), RBIs (100) and walks (85).

Washington offers Bonds a route back to the majors, Vecchio said, with 17 former Wild Things players moving on to affiliated minor-league teams since the franchise began play in 2002.

"This contract gives Barry the opportunity to play once again in western Pennsylvania as he continues his career," Vecchio said.

The Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens recently sent Alex Rodriguez a contract offer that included incentives if he hits 75 home runs for them next season.