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.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.