Roger Clemens made a paid appearance yesterday at a charity event for the Connecticut Sports Foundation’s annual celebrity dinner and memorabilia auction.
The event was a celebration of the 2000 Subway Series between the Yankees and Mets, so naturally there was plenty of nostalgia on the menu. The Rocket wasn’t willing to comment on his upcoming perjury trial or Andy Pettitte’s recent retirement, he did offer a one-liner about his infamous bat throwing incident involving Mike Piazza in Game 2 (courtesy of Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York).
“I just remember my form being really good when I threw the bat. My form was impeccable. I fielded it perfectly. My arm angle when I whistled it on-deck was a little low.”
Oh, wait. You mean if your arm angle wasn’t so low you would have punctured Piazza with a broken bat shard? Nothing but class, this guy.
I’ve often wondered what would have happened if Clemens did indeed hit Piazza with that bat. Would he have been thrown out of the game in the first inning? Probably. Of course, Clemens went on to strike out nine over eight shutout frames. The Mets made things interesting by scoring fifth runs in the ninth, but the Yankees were able to hold on 6-5 and take a 2-0 lead in the series. They would eventually win the World Series in five games.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.