Rusty Hardin

“You should be rewarding Roger Clemens, not prosecuting him”

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If you looked at that headline and guessed “things Roger Clemens’ lawyer said during closing arguments today,” well, you’re correct. Which, while a little over the top, isn’t terribly surprising. The defense attorney is always going to paint his client as virtuous and the opposition as evil.

Which is why it was rather strange to hear the prosecutor, in his closing argument, kind of going after Andy Pettitte, basically calling him a liar despite the fact that Pettitte was a prosecution witness.  And boy, that does seem like a long time ago when that happened, doesn’t it?

Ken Davidoff has all of the details from the closings. As expected, it was a lot of the defense calling Brian McNamee a liar and the prosecution telling the jury to use their common sense. Which is what it all boils down to: do they ignore McNamee’s clear credibility problems and convict Clemens because Occam’s Razor suggests that, yes, he did take PEDs, or do they ignore the Occam’s Razor explanation and acquit because the credibility of the person suggesting it is fatally flawed?

And when they do it, are they going to remember to put their finger on the scale in favor of the defense because of the prosecutor’s burden of proof?

We’ll likely find out this week, as the jury gets the case starting today.

Athletics sign Santiago Casilla to two-year, $11 million deal

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 10: Santiago Casilla #46 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.

Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system. Who has the worst?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06:  General manager Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks laughs on the field before the Opening Day MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on April 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.