Barry Bonds

Former Federal prosecutors question the wisdom of the Barry Bonds prosecution

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I sometimes get accused of being a lone nut in my belief that the government should not be in the Barry Bonds prosecution business. But it seems that lots of people — including former prosecutors — think this is a waste:

“It’s a questionable use of resources, especially at a time when the budget is being cut, hiring is frozen and fraudsters are running amok,” said Richard Cutler, a former federal prosecutor who now works in Mountain View for the law firm Dechert L.L.P. “To have two or three attorneys, investigators and paralegals working full time on a perjury case against a baseball player raises questions about the prioritizing of prosecutions.”

The Times notes that multiple other prosecutors from the Northern District of California’s U.S. Attorney’s Office have questioned the wisdom of the prosecution and note that Bonds is unlikely to do much if any time.  It’s further noted that the overall BALCO investigation, for all of the years it has dragged on, has resulted in a grand total of 48 months of prison time for the 11 people charged.

Prosecutors make choices every day. I’d be curious to see what sorts of cases this U.S. Attorney’s Office has passed up investigating and prosecuting since 2003 due to lack of manpower, resources or what have you.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.