BREAKING: Barry Bonds' career is over

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I know. I’m as shocked as you are.  John Shea at the San Francisco Chronicle has the scoop:

Barry Bonds’ agent finally acknowledged Wednesday that the home run king is done playing baseball.

“It’s two years since he played his last game, and if there was any
chance he’d be back in a major-league uniform, it would have happened
by now,” agent Jeff Borris told The Chronicle.

There’s a certain brand of sabermetrically-inclined fan — many of whom are friends of mine — who think that Barry could still DH for someone if he was given a week or two in a batting cage.  I’m extremely dubious of this, and was last year and even a good way back into 2008.  Sure, he probably can still tell a ball from a strike better than anyone, but entropy is a bitch once you reach a certain age, and even the Great Barry Bonds’ baseball body is going to quickly decline without regular use.  He probably should have broke camp as someone’s DH a couple of years ago, but I long gave up any hope that he’d don a uniform again.

The real question, of course, is the Hall of Fame.  2013 is his eligibility date.  All things being equal he’d be a first ballot inductee. Of course all things aren’t equal with him.  There’s some softening on the Mark McGwire’s of the world, but no one was the face of the Steroid Era like Barry Bonds was.  He’s going to take the heat for that, likely delaying his induction for a good long while.  This despite the fact that (a) there’s no evidence to suggest that he was deeper into PEDs to a greater degree than any other player of his era; and (b) he was likely a Hall of Famer before the turn of century and his association with BALCO.

If I had the franchise, I’d vote for him in a second.  I’d expect, however, Barry won’t be getting into the Hall of Fame without a ticket until he’s an old man.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.