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.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.