Brian McNamee

Brian McNamee’s estranged wife contradicts his testimony


As we’ve said over and over again, the only thing that truly matters in the Roger Clemens case is whether the jury believes Brian McNamee. For all of the other weeks and weeks of testimony, if they believe what he says, Clemens’ goose is cooked. If they don’t believe him, Clemens walks.

So it’s kind of a big deal that Brian McNamee’s soon-to-be ex-wife came in to court yesterday and contradicted a key part of his testimony. Specifically, the testimony in which he explained why he took the unusual step of saving the syringes that he allegedly used to shoot-up Roger Clemens. The reason he gave: his wife pestered him, saying that he needed to protect himself.  Yesterday Eileen McNamee said that wasn’t so:

Wearing a blue floral print dress, Eileen McNamee presented herself as a soft-spoken first-grade schoolteacher who never nagged her now-estranged husband about Roger Clemens. She went on to contradict the government’s key witness many times … She says she never said anything of the sort. She said McNamee didn’t tell her back then that he was injecting Clemens …

This matters because, if there was no self-preservation motive for keeping the syringes like McNamee says there, what was the reason? Was it a more sinister motive? Or, for that matter, were they truly preserved in the first place? The defense is saying McNamee made all this evidence up. That’s a hard sell, but it’s made easier if it sounds like McNamee was lying about the stuff to begin with.

Eileen McNamee went on to contradict McNamee regarding the now-famous FedEx box in which McNamee stored the evidence which implicates Clemens. She said that their marriage broke down, not because, as McNamee said, he had to travel all the time, but due to the date-rape drug incident down in Florida, which the jury doesn’t know much about, but which is being referred to as McNamee being involved in a “serious criminal incident.”

Obviously she will be cross-examined and the prosecutors will say that, due to contentious divorce proceedings, she has a reason to sink Brian McNamee.  But it’s hard to see what she gains by doing it here as opposed to in divorce court.  And that aside, the sight of a witnesses wife coming in to court and essentially saying he lied is the sort of thing that has to stick in a jury’s head.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.

*’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.

Orioles “searching everywhere” for outfield help

L.J. Hoes
AP Photo

CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff reports that the Orioles are “searching everywhere” for outfield help. The club recently acquired L.J. Hoes from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, throwing him into a stable of six outfielders that could potentially crack the Opening Day Roster.

Adam Jones, of course, will open the season in center field. But in the corner outfield and on the bench, Dubroff lists Hoes along with Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia. Both Lough and Reimold are eligible for arbitration — Lough for the first time, and Reimold for his third and final year — so it remains to be seen if the Orioles will retain both of them.

The Orioles could target outfield help in the Rule-5 draft, and they could also target outfielders in free agency. Gerardo Parra, acquired by the O’s in a trade with the Brewers at the trade deadline, remains a possibility but the team is reluctant to offer him more than two years.