Greg Anderson is going back to jail

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Considering that Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ former trainer, has (a) already done over a year in jail for not testifying against Bonds; and considering that (b) the practical limit of any future refusal to testify against Bonds is the couple of weeks his trial will take to complete, it’s not at all surprising that Anderson has again refused to testify against Bonds.

He’ll sit in County for a week or two. Then he’ll resume the life that he’s been living these past several years. Compared to the last couple of stints, he can do it standing on his head.

More substantively, the judge ruled thusly:

Illston said she would allow testimony of Kimberly Bell, Bonds’s former mistress, that related to the physical and psychological changes she saw in Bonds.

Prosecutors said those changes would include how Bell noticed the shrinkage of Bonds’s testicles and the worsening of his sexual performance, which the government says indicate steroid use. The judge also will allow Bell to describe an incident in which she has said Bonds grabbed her by the throat and threatened her.

With the caveat that I haven’t read the briefs, I have no idea how this is coming in. At most — at the absolute most — this could be evidence of actual steroid use.  But this trial isn’t about whether Bonds used steroids. He all but admitted that he did during his original grand jury testimony, and the prosecution is going to introduce a positive drug test to that effect.  What this trial is about is whether Bonds knew that Anderson was giving him steroids.  What does this stuff have to do with his knowledge?

It seems to me that to the extent Bell has anything to add to the prosecution’s case, it would be statements she heard from Bonds suggesting that he knew exactly what he was taking.  How the crap about his testicles and how good he was in the sack seems rather beside the point as far as the rules of evidence are concerned.

Moreover, I agree with Bonds’ lawyers that the prejudice caused by her testifying about an alleged domestic violence incident would far outweigh any relevance it might have with respect to the matters at issue in this case. People who aren’t on steroids commit acts of domestic violence every day. Some of the most juiced up athletes in history have wonderful family lives. How does this tell us anything? What, aside from making Bonds look like an evil person in the eyes of the jury — does it accomplish?

Oh well, at least it will give Bonds’ lawyers the chance to grill Bell on the methods she used to estimate relative testicle size and sexual performance during the course of her relationship with Bonds. I mean, her credibility must be tested, no?  Heck, if the prosecutors want to make this into a lurid spectacle, let’s make it into a full-blown lurid spectacle.

Again I will note: your tax dollars at work.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.