Roger Clemens

Brian McNamee’s defamation suit against Clemens moves forward

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As we focus our attention on the prosecution of Roger Clemens down in Washington, we’re reminded that there is a defamation suit against him chugging along up in New York.  That one was filed by his former trainer Brian McNamee, and arises out of Clemens’ statements on “60 Minutes” and elsewhere as he engaged in his P.R. assault on McNamee following the release of the Mitchell Report.  Today there was a decision: Clemens’ motion to dismiss the claim in its entirety was denied.  Two individual counts, however — intentional infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution — were tossed out.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress claims are almost always tossed. It’s a claim dating back to an era when everyone had fainting couches and doctors prescribed medicinal bleedings in order to cure bouts with the vapors.  I may be wrong, but the last time one of those was successful, the case involved some scoundrel causing a woman in a whalebone corset to suffer a terrible fright by falsely telling her that her husband was run down by Phaeton carriage.  At any rate, people are expected to have thicker skin these days, and unless you’re, I dunno, clicking the trigger of a gun next to the temple of someone that kind of claim tends to not have any legs.

I have no idea about the malicious prosecution claim. I think I researched that claim once about a decade ago. My vague memory of it is that those are often throw-in claims too and tend not to be successful very often, but if you have more recent experience with it, by all means, chime in below.  The upshot is that McNamee’s defamation claim against Clemens is still rolling.

And I think the most important thing to remember in all of this is that Roger Clemens would not be subject to this lawsuit or to the prosecution he’s facing if he hadn’t acted like a total nut case in the couple of months following the release of the Mitchell Report. And in light of that, this is all highly entertaining.

Dodgers sign Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.

Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.

Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.

UPDATE: Giants agree to a deal with Mark Melancon

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Mark Melancon #43 of the Washington Nationals reacts after the final out as the Nationals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 in game three of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.

12:15 PMKen Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.

Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.

The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.

What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.

Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.