No, Bonds, Sosa and Clemens aren't going to apologize

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I have head-full of other Mark McGwire thoughts driving me insane this morning, but those will come later. At the moment let’s address a sentiment I’ve heard over and over since yesterday afternoon, and that’s that now McGwire has offered up his mea culpa, it’s time for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens to do likewise.  Interesting thought, but if you think that’s going to happen any time soon, you’re dreaming.

Let’s dispense with Bonds and Clemens quickly:  they can’t and won’t for legal reasons.  Barry Bonds is still being prosecuted — however slowly that prosecution is going — for perjury related to this denial before a grand jury of knowingly taking steroids. Due to the non-cooperation of a key witness and the fact that the feds have had a huge portion of their evidence against him tossed out, he has an excellent chance of skating on the charge. Why on Earth would he do anything at this point to screw that up?  If Bonds ever talks — and it’s not a given that he has the slightest desire to do so — it will come years from now.

Same goes for Clemens. He’s embroiled in approximately eleventy-seven variations of the same civil lawsuit against Brian McNamee, each of which depends upon him either proving that he didn’t take steroids or defending charges that he did.  Add to that the fact that the feds still purport to be investigating him for perjury in connection with his Congressional testimony and he has every reason to either stay quiet about this or to keep claiming that he’s as pure as the driven snow. If Clemens ever admits to using PEDs it will be under pain of torture or, given that he seems to be something of a delusional whack-job, from the top of a clock tower while holding a sniper’s rifle or something.

Sammy Sosa is a more interesting case. He has no legal reason preventing him from coming clean. As I’ve said before, his congressional testimony bordered on brilliant in terms of how he was able to mislead without technically lying (and the only reason he was able to do this is because Congress refused to ask even the most basic of followup questions).  Still, there’s nothing really compelling him to admit to anything now either. His one foray into the public spotlight recently resulted in something close to a p.r. disaster, turning him into more of a joke than a figure poised for some kind of redemption. He’s not a candidate for any coaching jobs or any other official position with baseball. McGwire is the canary in the coal mine for Hall of Fame juicers, so whether Sammy Sosa ever makes it to Cooperstown is more dependent upon what happens with McGwire than himself, so there’s no reason to come clean in the interests of lobbying.

Still, he’s Sosa and Sosa is kind of weird, so I could see him holding some Canseco-esque press conference that no one clamored for and offering up details of his life that no one truly wants.  It might be fun actually.

Mark McGwire came clean and apologized for one reason and one reason only: he wants back in the game of baseball, and given his particularly troubling Congressional testimony in 2005, baseball won’t accept him — and frankly, he couldn’t perform his job — unless he said something about it.

Bonds, Clemens and Sosa don’t have that sort of thing staring them in the face, so don’t hold your breath waiting for them to say anything about anything any time soon.

What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on July 22, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Wednesday gives us six afternoon games, leaving nine games for the evening. Masahiro Tanaka will start one of those games as the Yankees take on the Astros’ Lance McCullers in an 8:10 PM EDT start.

The Yankees went into the All-Star break an even 44-44, 7.5 games out of first place and looking like sellers. They have come into the second half winning 8 of 12 games, including their last three. The club has only managed to make up one game against the first-place Orioles in the AL East, but they are also only four games out of the second AL Wild Card slot.

Aroldis Chapman has already been shipped out, but the Yankees are also drawing trade interest in Andrew Miller, who has assumed the closer’s role. If the Yankees win tonight and perform well against the Rays in a three-game series in Tampa, the Bronx Bombers may enter the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline deciding to be competitive after all.

The rest of Wednesday evening’s action…

Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray) @ Baltimore Orioles (Dylan Bundy), 7:05 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (James Paxton) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole), 7:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright) @ New York Mets (Logan Verrett), 7:10 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish), 8:05 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Archie Bradley) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson), 8:10 PM EDT

Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz) @ Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey), 8:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Angels (Matt Shoemaker) @ Kansas City Royals (Danny Duffy), 8:15 PM EDT

Report: Phillies want a top-five prospect for Jeremy Hellickson

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 20: Starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson #58 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the second inning during a game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on July 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.

Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.

ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.