The only thing I was hoping wouldn’t happen while I was on vacation was Roger Clemens getting arraigned, skipping bail, going on the lam and taking a bunch of hostages, because that’s the kind of thing I would have had to blog about. Thankfully that didn’t happen. He gets arraigned today, so any hostage-taking will occur while I’m on duty [crosses fingers].
As for the arraignment, don’t expect much. It will be short. The judge or the clerk or the prosecutor or someone will read the charges (or that could be waived). Roger will plead not guilty. Bail-skipping jokes aside, Clemens will almost certainly be officially released without bail. A trial date will be set, but it will almost certainly not be the real trial date due to whatever delays each side will later want/ask for/create. The biggest takeaway from all of this will be new pictures of Clemens wearing a suit walking in and then out of the courthouse. Frankly, I was getting tired of the old ones.
Actually, the biggest takeaway of today is the story in the Houston Chronicle about Clemens’ new lawyer, Michael Attanasio. Oh, Rusty Hardin is still around there and will likely be listed as lead counsel, but Attanasio is a San Diego-based guy with lots of criminal law experience and experience in dealing with steroids-in-baseball stuff.
There’s a gag order in place now so no one will be making statements anyhow, but you can bet that if Attanasio was in charge of Clemens’ defense a couple of years ago he wouldn’t have been all over “60 Minutes” and stuff back then and likely wouldn’t be in the mess he’s in now.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.