Judge in Bonds case excludes newly discovered tape recording, prosecution rests

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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.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.

Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.

Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.