No, the Giants don’t need to “do something” about Barry Bonds

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In light of the Barry Bonds trial going to the jury as early as today, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News has a concern:

Question: If the verdict is not guilty on all charges and Bonds wants to celebrate by making the short trip to AT&T Park for some baseball viewing, what happens? … Even more problematic: What if Bonds is found guilty of perjury and still wants to show up at a Giants home game a few hours later?

Considering that Pete Rose routinely takes in Reds games at the best seat in the park — and where he is always given a standing ovation when he is shown on the big scoreboard screen, which he invariably is — I fail to see the problem. Being found guilty or heck, even not guilty of perjury charges doesn’t make one ineligible to buy a ticket to a ballgame. And, unless Major League Baseball bans Bonds as a result — which it almost certainly won’t do —  nothing could stop Bonds from even suiting up for the A’s to DH or taking a job as the Assistant VP in charge of testicular atrophy policy for any major league team.

But Purdy goes on, noting that a Giants’ attorney has been watching the Bonds trial, and there he has heard the grand jury testimony in which Bonds disparaged Giants team employees. Here’s Purdy again:

None of those facts was contested. None of that testimony was denied by Bonds or anyone else. So tell me again: This is the man you want throwing out a ceremonial first pitch? Don’t think so. Not at my old-timers celebration.

Fact: the testimony Purdy is referring to took place in 2003, was widely reported on and has been public now for several years, as have the Kimberly Bell allegations he mentions, by virtue of her multiple interviews over the years. Fact: despite knowing this, Bonds threw out the first pitch at the NLCS last year and was met with a standing ovation. He has also been the guest at games of the Giants owners on multiple occasions.  If the Giants were cool with Bonds’ testimony for purposes of the playoffs last fall, I fail to see how they wouldn’t be cool with it now for an old-timers celebration.

Purdy acknowledges all of this later in the column, and he also acknowledges the Reds/Pete Rose thing.  What I don’t understand is how he can do that and still take his “what ever will we do?!” stance.  He’s demanding a solution to something that no one besides him thinks is a problem.

Like Pete Rose, Bonds may be a national pariah. But he’s not a local one, and the Giants of all teams — who are playing in a ballpark that likely wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Bonds — shouldn’t make him into one.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.