There is pretty much no one outside of San Francisco (well, maybe a few people in Pittsburgh), who wants Barry Bonds to hold the career home run record. Is there anyone out there who can possibly break it? Well, there are three players who currently have a shot, but the numbers make it extremely difficult that any of them can reach 762 and beyond.
The first is Alex Rodriguez. For some people, A-Rod having the record us just as bad as Bonds. After all, it can be assumed that Rodriguez has been juicing his entire career while Bonds was a clean and great player prior to 1999.
In any case, right now Rodriguez has the devilish home run total of 666, so he needs 97 more home runs to break the record. He has two and a half years left on his Yankees contract, so he would have to average around 40 home runs per season over that span (20 the rest of this season, then 40 each of the next two years) to break the record. Without steroids, it will be very hard to any player to hit 40 homers in his early 40s, and A-Rod turns 40 in July.
So it looks like Rodriguez will get close to the record but not break it.
Of course, Rodriguez could try to hang on and limp towards the record when he is in his mid-40s. That would depend on whether he could still perform reasonably well (let’s say 20 homers per season) and whether any team would sign him at any price. Remember, no one would touch Bonds after his contract expired.
Which brings us to Albert Pujols. He has 538 home runs, leaving him 225 homers short of 763. He has six and a half years left on his contract, so he would have to average 35 home runs (in addition to 17 the rest of this season) to break the record. That seems doable, but Pujols is already 35, which means he would have to hit 35 homers into his 40s. Of course, Pujols could pad his total by hitting 40+ homers while he is younger. But the last time he reached that plateau was in 2010, and in the real world, players hit fewer home runs as they age, not more.
So Pujols definitely has a chance, but it will be tough.
Now to Miguel Cabrera. He has “only” 403 home runs, leaving him 360 short. But he has eight and a half years left on his contract and is only 32 years old. He would have to average around 42 homers per season. Now, Cabrera has hit 40 or more home runs only twice in his career. But Cabrera is such a superb hitter and right now he is in the prime of his career. He actually seems to be getting better. So he has an excellent chance to hit lots of home runs now, making it easier towards the end of his career.
Still, it will be difficult for Cabrera to reach 763, but I think he has the best chance of the three.
It shows how steroids has played havoc with the record books. Bonds hit 258 home runs in the five years that he was 35-40 years old (that’s an average of 51!). Without PEDs, he would have been lucky to hit half that and Hank Aaron would still have the record.
No one is ever going to hit that many home runs at that age again. So Bonds’s home run record could be safe. And that is a shame.