Roger Clemens made his first public comments since being indicted on federal charges for perjury during an appearance on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Telethon yesterday.
“I’m not going to get into details. All I’m going to say is that I
learned a lot. My eyes were opened by some of the things that happened
and did not happen,” Clemens said. “We’re going to deal with it, guys, I
don’t really know what else to say. We’re going to deal with it and
have our day.”
“It really wasn’t a surprise. I mean, I got my eyes opened up quite a
bit when we went in there an the things that we went through before.
… I sent it out in a tweet [denying the charges]. I thought that was
the best way to go about it.”
Clemens also told WEEI that he no longer talks to Andy Pettitte and that he didn’t play baseball in order to go into the Hall of Fame.
On a related note, according to Mike Fish of ESPN.com, attorney Rusty Hardin said Clemens turned down a “very fair offer” from the government in return for pleading guilty several months ago.
“The government made a recommendation [for a plea agreement] and we
declined,” Hardin said. “I will tell you the recommendation they made
was a very good one if he was guilty. And if he was guilty we would have
jumped on it. Everybody has all this great solicitous advice, all the
media and you guys — ESPN. Nobody is answering the question: What if he
didn’t do it, what should he have done? And everybody wants him to
“I have even heard people suggest that even if he didn’t do it he
should have said he did so that everybody will move on. That is a
Stunningly enough, the offer reportedly included no jail time. It’s a bold move by Clemens, but a calculated one. We’re probably still a long way from this actually going to trial, but a conviction isn’t a sure thing, especially with Brian McNamee as a key — and rather shady — witness.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.