Kettmann: Bonds will eventually make the Hall of Fame

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My view: no matter what happens with the perjury trial — and the jury is still deliberating, by the way — Barry Bonds should still be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Sure, we can disagree about Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero’s worthiness or unworthiness, but Bonds is so far over the line that no one who even pretends to understand how physics and chemistry work can say that he’s some sort of bogus steroid creation.  To quote Bill James’ comment about Rickey Henderson: if you cut him in half, you’d have two Hall of Famers. In Bonds case way may even be able to go thirds.

But there’s the morals clause, of course. I hate the morals clause and don’t believe that it was actually designed to exclude immoral actors from the Hall — rather, it was inserted to give a boost to good guys who may have fallen just short on the merits — but it’s there. And it will be the basis for the Hall of Fame electorate to exclude Bonds, much to their own embarrassment once these hysterical days have passed and some perspective on the matter is gained.

One guy who has thought a great deal about steroids in baseball and other sports is Steve Kettmann. The former A’s beat writer for the San Francisco Chronicle was the ghost writer for Jose Canseco’s “Juiced” and was sounding the steroids alarm a couple of years before anyone was.  Over at the Huffington Post today, he makes a prediction about Bonds and the Hall of Fame that sounds about right:

There will always be cheating in the game, as there always has been, and there will always be fall guys for that cheating, who are punished when rich men behind the scenes dance away from blame. Bonds used steroids, but he’s really on trial for being stupid — and he may be found guilty of a charge or two. I still say that when the wash comes out, when we look back on all this years later, it will all look much different than it does now — and that one way or another, maybe after he’s dead and gone, or at least enfeebled and incapable of taking any pleasure in the news, Barry Bonds will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

How much nicer if we could just cut out the silly interim period, cast out the morality of it all and do right by history?

Mariners get 2B Kolten Wong from Brewers for Winker, Toro

Kolten Wong
USA Today
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SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners acquired second baseman Kolten Wong from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in a trade for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.

Seattle also receives cash as part of the deal. ESPN reported the Brewers would be sending the Mariners about $1.75 million.

Milwaukee has been shedding payroll this offseason after going 86-76 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Brewers picked up the $10 million team option on Wong’s contract for 2023 last month, then traded him away.

Wong, 32, batted .251 this season and had a career-best 15 homers to go with 47 RBIs and 17 steals in 134 games. He had a .339 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage.

But the two-time Gold Glove winner had an uncharacteristically tough season in the field with 17 errors to match his career high.

After ending a 21-year playoff drought, adding a second baseman had been one of the Mariners’ chief offseason objectives. Wong was Milwaukee’s starting second baseman for the last two years after spending his first eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Winker gives the Brewers a power-hitting outfielder to help replace Hunter Renfroe, traded to the Los Angeles Angels last week.

The 29-year-old Winker hit .219 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs in 136 games for Seattle in 2022 after playing five seasons in the NL Central with the Cincinnati Reds. He batted .305 with a .394 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage, 24 homers and 71 RBIs in 110 games with Cincinnati in 2021, when he was a National League All-Star.

Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said after the season Winker had surgery on his left knee and was expected to undergo another operation to repair an issue with his neck.

Toro, who turns 26 on Dec. 20, hit .185 with a .239 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 109 games this past season.