McNamee, federal authorities, reporter trying to bury Roger Clemens

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Given that the Roger Clemens case is one in which a syringe-hording drug dealer who once lied to the police about an alleged sexual assault is accusing a philanderer with anger-management issues of illegal drug use, we probably shouldn’t be surprised when things get even more seedy. But they have gotten more seedy: McNamee now says that Clemens used his charity foundation to pay for his performance enhancing drugs.

That’s interesting and all, but I find the context and the reportage of this story far more interesting. For example, despite the big headline — “Clemens’ Foundation Comes Under Scrutiny” — the fact that McNamee could produce no documentary proof of his allegation when asked to by investigators is not mentioned until the seventh paragraph. Given that McNamee is a guy who actually wrote a 100% fraudulent editorial in the New York Times defending Clemens against drug use several years ago, I am shocked that the Times would bury this little fact as deeply as they do. The Times has first hand experience being burned by McNamee’s lack of credibility, and yet they are not at all critical of this allegation.

It’s also worth noting that the anonymous source of this story is almost certainly a federal agent or attorney (i.e. a person “briefed on the investigation” who can’t be seen as the one revealing the information).  In light of the fact that Clemens can be convicted of perjury based merely on proof of drug use irrespective of the source of payment, what’s the purpose of this new information being leaked? To make Clemens look like a bad, bad man who would use a children’s charity to pay for dirty, dirty steroids. Or at least it would if there was actually any evidence that he did so, which there appears to be none.

I’m not exactly Roger Clemens’ biggest fan, and I think there’s a pretty decent chance his butt is going to be in a sling over his Congressional testimony and probably should be, but this story strikes me as a hit job. McNamee is offering unsubstantiated garbage to the feds, the feds are leaking it to the press in order to make Clemens look like more of a slimeball than he is, and the reporter is, at best, being far too credulous in passing it all along.

At the risk of hyperbole, allow me to say that I can’t point to a single person involved with this investigation who has behaved decently.

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.