Barry Bonds

Greg Anderson is going back to jail


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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.