The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.
The Giants and third baseman Conor Gillaspie have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $1.4 million salary for the 2017 season, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports.
Gillaspie, 29, was eligible for arbitration in his second of three years. This past season, he stepped to the plate 205 times for the Giants, batting .262/.307/.440 with six home runs and 25 RBI. Of course, he’s remembered most for his tie-breaking and eventual game-winning three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning off of Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the National League Wild Card game. Gillaspie’s blast sent the Giants to the NLDS but they were sent home by the eventual world champion Cubs.
Eduardo Nunez is expected to get regular starts at the hot corner in 2017, so Gillaspie will serve as his backup.
Update (7:54 PM EST): MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that the two-year deal is for $11 million with another $3 million available in performance bonuses.
Robert Murray of FanRag Sports is reporting that the Athletics are close to completing a two-year contract with free agent reliever Santiago Casilla.
Casilla, 36, was originally signed by the A’s as an amateur free agent in 2000 and stayed with the club through 2009. He spent the last seven seasons with the Giants. 2016 was arguably his toughest season as a Giant, finishing with a 3.57 ERA, 31 saves, and a 65/19 K/BB ratio.
The Athletics have lots of ninth-inning options as Casilla joins a cast that includes Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, and John Axford.