Score one point for Roger Clemens

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Despite the fact that there’s a gag order in place on the participants in the Roger Clemens trial, and despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing interesting about a retired baseball player playing golf, the Daily News has sent a reporter to basically stalk Roger Clemens down at that amateur tournament he’s playing in down at Myrtle Beach.

Roger Clemens has a lot of problems, but he seems to have a pretty good handle on where the Daily News is coming from:

After finishing up the par-4 18th hole at True Blue – Clemens began
his round on the 9th hole – he was asked by a Daily News reporter
outside the clubhouse if he’d be open to talking after he finished his
round, as long as the subject was golf related.

When told the reporter was from the Daily News, he said, “The Daily
News? That’s comical. You must know (Brian) McNamee real well.”

He pretty much nailed it there. The Daily News has basically been McNamee’s P.R. firm for the past two years. Which is fine. Everyone can pick a side if they’re into that sort of thing. But when you do so just don’t expect anyone — even Roger Clemens — to believe that you give a hoot about his golf game.

Indeed, based on the headline of that story — “Clemens plays golf while lawyers likely buried with documents” — it’s obvious that they’re trying to portray the guy as a pampered athlete, oblivious to the trouble he’s in.

Hint to the Daily News: after being given a mountain of evidence to sift through, the last thing a legal team in this kind of case wants is their client sitting in the conference room “helping.”

If they need him, they’ll call him. If they have a lot to cover, they’ll set up a meeting sometime. For now, they’re probably more than happy that he’s down on a golf course where he can’t interrupt them.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.