Roger Clemens issued a statement on the suicide of Mindy McCready

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Country singer Mindy McCready killed herself yesterday. Roger Clemens, who first met McCready when she was fifteen years-old, has long denied any improper relationship with her, but a detailed report of an affair between the two of them ran in the Daily News back in 2008. McCready confirmed the affair, though she was always vague about how old she was when it began.

Whichever of them you believe, Clemens has released a statement about McCready’s suicide:

“Yes, this is sad news. I had heard over time that she was trying to get peace and direction in her life. The few times that I had met her and her manager/agent they were extremely nice.”

Obviously Mindy McCready was a profoundly damaged set of goods and had been for a long time before her death. She was put on a stage performing in bars when she was a teenager. She was a drug addict who made multiple suicide attempts prior to finally succeeding  She was in and out of prison. She was the victim of serious domestic abuse who was trying to raise two children, one of which was the son of her primary domestic abuser, the other a newborn. Her once promising career was in shambles and its highlight in recent years had been exploitative reality TV.

In light of that I won’t say that Roger Clemens bears responsibility for what became of this woman for there were obviously many things which contributed to it. But I likewise can’t say that Roger Clemens, who was 28 when he began, well, whatever it is he began with a 15 year-old Mindy McCready, was a positive influence either. How could he have been?

All of it is just terribly sad.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.