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Barry Bonds thinks he belongs in the Hall, doesn’t care if he’s kept out, loves Roger Clemens

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Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record five years ago today. Recently he sat down with Barry Bloom of MLB.com to talk about that, the end of his career, the Hall of Fame, his status as a felon and his good friend Roger Clemens.

It’s a pretty b.s.-free interview in which he offers the following:

  • He wishes he was better with the media during his career, but he just isn’t wired that way;
  • He thinks his career ended too soon — he wanted to play one more year — but was happy for the 22 years he did get and is glad he finished as a San Francisco Giant;
  • He respects the Hall of Fame and believes he belongs (“There’s no doubt in my mind”) but he’s not going to be upset if the writers keep him out, saying that if they want to apply their moral standards to make it their Hall of Fame, that’s their business;
  • He was happy Roger Clemens was acquitted and thinks everyone needs to lay off him. Personally, Bonds said he “will go to the end of the earth for that man.”;
  • He wants to win his appeal, but if he loses he accepts that he’s been judged a felon, will do his sentence and move on; and
  • He doesn’t want to be a uniformed, regular coach, but he does want to teach hitting for the Giants, saying “it would be a shame for what I know, to what I can give, to what I can offer, to let it go to waste.”

Lots of good stuff in there. It’d be different if he was deluded about his standing among the fans and the media, but he seems pretty realistic about it. It’s hard to disagree with anything he says.

As for the Hall, Bonds is going to be a lot of fun come voting time. Unlike all of the other PEDs dudes so far, there is no rational argument that he wouldn’t be a shoe-in absent PEDs. As Bill James once said about Rickey Henderson, cut him and half and you have two Hall of Famers. Dock him 300 homers and all of his post-1999 awards and he’s still a Hall of Famer.

So basically, if one doesn’t vote for Bonds, one is saying only one thing: any player who uses PEDs is morally unfit for the Hall.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.

Mariano Rivera to get his plaque in Monument Park on August 14

Mariano Rivera
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The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.

There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.

Dodgers “trying to trade” Alex Guerrero

Alex Guerrero
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Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.

Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.

Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.

The New Zealand World Baseball Classic team performs the Haka

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It’s World Baseball Classic time again. Just the qualifying rounds. The actual tournament happens in 2017. Qualifiers will happen in Sydney, Australia, Mexicali, Mexico, Panama City, Panama and Brooklyn, N.Y., periodically, between now and September.

The Sydney round just got underway yesterday, so yes, some actual baseball is going on. As I’ve written and ranted before, the WBC is not my favorite thing that happens in baseball and certainly not the most important thing, but it’s pretty fun. Especially when there are displays of enthusiasm and pageantry and the like.

Such as the Haka, which basically every New Zealand sports team does and which never gets old:

 

Down in Sydney, the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa teams are competing in a six-game, modified double-elimination format. In the other three qualifying rounds, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua, Colombia, France, Panama, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete. Each qualifying round puts one representative in the WBC.

Those four qualifiers will compete in the WBC itself against countries that performed well enough in the past that they need not submit to qualifying: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

Someone make sure Jon Morosi is well-hyrdrated. It’s gonna be a long year.