When she first considered the matter yesterday, Judge Susan Ilston strongly suggested that the newly-discovered tape recording of Dr. Arthur Ting and Steven Hoskins, allegedly discussing Barry Bonds’ steroids use, would not be admitted. Indeed, she characterized the tape as ”almost entirely inadmissible or irrelevant.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Judge Ilston has excluded the tape from evidence.
Where this leaves us: the jury heard (a) the prosecution’s star witness say that he and Dr. Ting discussed Bonds’ steroids use “more than 50 times”; and (b) Dr. Ting — also a prosecution witness — testify that, no, they never discussed it at all. Without anything (such as the tape) undercutting Ting, the prosecution’s star witnesses’ credibility is pretty severely damaged, it seems to me. After all, the defense’s take on Hoskins is that he was scorned by Bonds and is out to get him. Now it looks like his side of the story — that he was truly concerned for Bonds’ health — was a lie. Not good for Hoskins.
As things stand now, Bonds still seems to be on the hook for the charge related to lying about whether or not he had ever been injected with anything by Greg Anderson, but the charges relating to him lying about knowingly taking steroids have taken a mighty blow, it seems.
The prosecution seemed to appreciate that and stopped digging the hole it had made for itself. Following the judge’s ruling and the reading of Bonds’ grand jury testimony, the prosecution rested.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.