The Associated Press reminds us today that even though Roger Clemens beat the criminal rap over lying to a federal grand jury, he’s still in court and potentially on the hook for defamation:
A magistrate judge in the civil case last week ordered lawyers for Clemens to turn over government documents to the plaintiff, former strength coach Brian McNamee, including 22 FBI reports and notes from an Internal Revenue Service agent that refer to Clemens’ alleged affairs. A status conference in the case is scheduled for Wednesday.
This is the suit brought by Brian McNamee, arising out of Clemens and his lawyer’s idiotic PR offensive in the wake of the Mitchell Report. Rather than just clam up or offer simple denials like just about every other named player, Clemens launched an offensive which (a) sought to cast his accuser as a lying grifter; and (b) opened the door for all manner of sleazy news to come out about his character and his past.
Some who defend Clemens would say that he shouldn’t have had to admit to doing anything if he didn’t do it. And I tend to be sympathetic to that argument. But by the same token, denying the allegations in the Mitchell Report did not require the over-the-top attacks Clemens and Hardin mounted against McNamee in late 2007 and early 2008. Attacks for which he is still paying in terms of his image and may soon be paying for in cash.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.