The Barry Bonds case is over. Bonds, as we speak, is being sentenced. The penalty: 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation and 250 hours of community service. This, by the way, is what the probation office recommended. Prosecutors were seeking a 15 month jail term.
In handing out her sentence, the judge observed that she agreed with the jury that Bonds tried to obstruct justice. Just that he failed. She noted that he did not threaten witnesses, for example. When I first read his grand jury testimony three and a half years ago I observed the same thing. You can tell Barry wanted to perjure himself. He just was pretty damn bad at it.
The judge also noted that the sentence took into account that Bonds has a strong record of philanthropy, much of which is unpublicized. Weighing against that, I presume, is that he is a lousy stinkin’ cheater who robbed some sportswriters of their childhood memories.
Of course, there was some pathetic desperation on the part of the prosecution during the hearing. When trying to argue against the light sentence, the prosecutor said that Bonds planned to lie ahead of time and that he kept mistresses and lived a double life for years. The judge, not having it, noted that Bonds wasn’t convicted of any of that. It’s something the prosecution and most of the people sitting in moral judgment of Barry Bonds have never quite gotten their minds around, but there you go.
I don’t know about you, but I would feel more secure walking the mean streets of Los Altos Hills tonight, knowing that Barry Bonds is secure behind the bars of the home security system that cost more than many public schools.
UPDATE: Bonds won’t even have to serve any of that now. The judge has stayed (delayed) the sentence until after Bonds’ appeal of his conviction is heard. Which will take some time. And, in my opinion, may very well prevail.
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.