Barry Bonds lawyers filed a 60-page brief yesterday, appealing his obstruction of justice conviction. The heart of it is basically something we’ve noted here all along: that it’s pretty weird to convict someone for not answering a question when they actually, you know, answered the question:
“Any competent English speaker would understand Mr. Bonds’s initial statement as answering the question in the negative,” Riordan wrote. “Mr. Bonds was no more guilty of obstruction than he would have been if, having answered one prosecutorial question, he chatted with grand jurors about the weather while the prosecutor was formulating his next one.”
Riordan further argued that the prosecutors questioning Bonds before the grand jury had a “legal obligation to clarify unresponsive testimony.” Riordan contends the prosecutors should have repeated the question until Bonds answered directly.
And he’s absolutely right about that duty-of-prosecutors to clarify thing by the way. But even if he isn’t, it’s worth noting that Bonds did actually answer the question that the prosecutors and the jury somehow concluded (at least temporarily) that he did not answer:
That “no” at the end responds to the very question the indictment against Bonds and the subsequent conviction says he didn’t answer. I tend to think it was a lie, but the jury didn’t, so that’s neither here nor there.
But hey, details. Bonds was a dirty cheater, so we should not expect the evidence in a criminal proceeding against him to matter any.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mets aren’t looking for long-term investment pieces in a trade for right-hander Noah Syndergaard, per unnamed sources. Instead, any deal the club makes will likely center on players who can make a difference for them in 2019 as they attempt to rise from last year’s fourth-place finish in the NL East and make a run at the postseason.
The 26-year-old starter has been a fixture of the Mets’ rotation since he got his start in the majors in 2015. Despite missing nearly the entire 2017 season with a torn lat muscle in his throwing arm, he returned to pitch his third full season in 2018 with a winning 13-4 record in 25 starts, 3.03 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 9.0 SO/9 through 154 1/3 innings and finished the year with his first complete game shutout, to boot. After receiving a $2.975 million salary in 2018, he’s slated for another three years in arbitration before entering free agency in the 2022 season.
So far this offseason, the Padres have been the only team linked to the righty, though they didn’t come close to completing a trade when they first inquired about him back at the July deadline. If the Mets are serious about dealing Syndergaard, as Rosenthal seems to suggest, they could very well look at acquiring another couple of arms to round out their rotation. Assuming Syndergaard is moved this winter, the team will enter 2019 with right-handers Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler, lefties Jason Vargas and (the oft-injured) Steven Matz — and relatively little depth behind the four.