Sammy Sosa will not be prosecuted for perjury. Not that this is news.

12 Comments

The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt reports that the Congressional committee that Sammy Sosa testified before in 2005 — famously speaking in Spanish, rather than English — has decided not to charge Sammy Sosa with perjury despite the fact that he was later revealed to have tested positive for PEDs prior to his testimony.

A couple of things here:

1. I’m not quite sure how this is news. The hearing took place in March 2005. It is now May 2010. The statute of limitations for perjury is five years, so I’m struggling to see how charges could be filed even if they tried. I guess Schmidt is just trying to get back in steroids-writing practice in anticipating of the Roger Clemens business coming soon.

2. Even if the statute hadn’t run, it seems very clear to me that Sosa didn’t lie to the committee despite the fact that he apparently took PEDs of some kind before 2005.

As I wrote last year, it’s not true that Sosa denied taking steroids before Congress. He said
“To be clear, I have never taken illegal
performance-enhancing drugs.” He said “I have not broken the laws of
the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic.” He said “I
have been
tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.” Those statements all allow for the possibility
that he used substances that were legal in the Dominican Republic that
would have been illegal to use in the United States, such as steroids or HGH.

We don’t know for sure, though, because neither the members of that Congressional committee nor the multiple lawyers they had on staff, sitting there in the room bothered to ask the basic sorts of
followup questions when faced with obvious qualifications like Sosa was offering. If they had pressed them on it — say, asked him whether he took PEDs, whether legally or illegally, in the United States or at home in the D.R. — he could have been in a serious jam.

But they didn’t. My theory as to why? They didn’t really care.  As is the case with every other bit of congressional involvement in steroids, the 2005 hearings were designed for P.R. purposes and to show voters that Congressman Whoever knew how to stick it to those cheating ballplayers who defied God, mugged Hank Aaron and pooped in Mom’s apple pie or whatever. It wasn’t a serious legal proceeding and never was meant to be.

Still, Roger Clemens could get charged with perjury sometime soon. But then again, he’s always done things more audaciously than anyone. Including, we may find out, lying.

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
1 Comment

Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
5 Comments

The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
2 Comments

Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
1 Comment

The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.