Barry Bonds’ appeal to be argued on February 13

13 Comments

Barry Bonds still hasn’t had his appeal from his obstruction of justice conviction heard. His appellate panel was announced yesterday:

Senior Circuit Judges Mary M. Schroeder and Michael Daly Hawkins along with Judge Mary H. Murguia will hear oral arguments Feb. 13.

If Schroeder’s name seems familiar, that’s because it is:

She wrote an opinion in 2010 upholding U.S. District Judge Susan Illston’s ruling to bar the testimony of former Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative executive James Valente from Bonds’ trial, which led to the exclusion of some BALCO records that the government maintained included positive drug tests.

Which doesn’t mean that her vote is in the bag or anything. Because no matter what people like to think they know about how judges roll, judges roll entirely the way they want to. And because, you know, this appeal is a totally different situation than the evidentiary appeal Bonds won several years ago.

As for that appeal, I stand by what I wrote a couple of years ago: it’s a really, really tall order to have a jury verdict set aside.  It doesn’t happen often.  That said, given what I feel were bad jury instructions with respect to the obstruction of justice charge and the unusual and, in my view, incoherent he-didn’t-perjure-himself-but-he-did-obstruct-justice outcome of the trial, Bonds stands a better chance at winning this longshot than many criminal defendants.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.