Opening statements began in the Roger Clemens trial this morning.
The government led with those syringes that Brian McNamee kept and will apparently hang their case on them. This is not terribly surprising, though it is not without risk. The lab analysis will say what the lab analysis says on those things — the prosecutors say it will show Clemens DNA + PEDs — but the fact is that McNamee basically kept them in a shoebox under his bed next to stale pizza crusts for a few years, so they will be subject to attack on chain-of-custody and integrity grounds. Add that to jurors’ increasing (and annoying) skepticism of forensic evidence that doesn’t meet “CSI: Whereverthehell” standards, and it could be a hard case for the prosecution to make.
Meanwhile, Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Hardin, appears to have his own uphill climb in front of him:
Clemens attorney Rusty Hardin told the jury that the government is “horribly wrong” in charging his client with perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress … “There was rush to judgment on Roger that has made it impossible for him to be fairly heard until he got here … It’s a fact of life that sometimes when people reach the mountain, there is an unwillingness to give them equal consideration when people come down on them,” Hardin said. “And that’s what happened with Roger.”
Can’t argue with that. Rich, powerful and famous people have been getting an unfair shake in this Republic since time immemorial. It’s a tragedy, really.
The New York Yankees have traded third baseman Chase Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Jabari Blash. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report the trade. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to report that Blash was coming back in return.
Headley, a third baseman, hit .273/.352/.406 for the Yankees last year. He, of course, played for the Padres from 2007 through the middle of 2014, when he was dealt to New York. Mitchell has pitched 48 games for the Yankees, most from the pen, over four seasons, with an ERA of 4.94 in 98.1 innings. He doesn’t strike out many and he walks a lot. He throws hard.
Blash, an outfielder, has hit .200/.323/.336 with eight homers in 279 big league plate appearances. Blash has shown a lot of power potential in the minors, but has not yet put it together in the bigs. Given what the Yankees have in their outfield at the moment, he’s going to be organizational depth or, perhaps, a chit in a future trade.
This would seem to be an exercise in salary clearing by the Yankees in anticipation of another move, as it takes about $13 million off of their payroll. Which is about how much was added to their payroll for 2018 in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. That could get Todd Frazier back for them, perhaps. Or it could help them retain CC Sabathia or go after another starting pitcher. The club likewise maintains an interest in getting under the $197 million payroll threshold which would trigger yet another year of 50% luxury tax payments for the Yankees.