Andy Pettitte to testify today at the Roger Clemens trial

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This is a surprise: Andy Pettitte just showed up at the courthouse in Washington and is expected to testify today in the Roger Clemens trial. It was thought that his testimony would come later in the trial.

Two thoughts:

1. This will certainly be good for him and the Yankees, as it gets a big distraction out of the way before he makes his debut with the big club; and

2. I said this once a long time ago, but I don’t think Pettitte’s testimony helps the prosecution that much.  At least if Clemens’ lawyers are smart about his cross examination.  That’s because if you back and look at his congressional deposition, he was pretty darn equivocal about Clemens’ PED use.  He said he never saw Clemens use and never knew for sure that he did. He thought at one time that Clemens said he did, but that he later was told that he was mistaken about that and basically took it at face value. The most they have out of Pettitte with any degree of certainty is that he and Clemens once discussed PEDs in a fairly innocuous way.

Now, Clemens’ lawyers still have to be very careful here. Pettitte is going to likely come off as a nice guy and sympathetic witness, and it would be a major mistake to go after him with any degree of vehemence. But, if they’re subtle, and simply and politely walk Pettitte through his past testimony while adding some helpful “but you weren’t sure, is that right?” and some “but you never saw him take anything, that is your testimony?”  He can actually help Clemens’ case, not hurt it.

Report: Orioles interested in Alex Cobb

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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.