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.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.