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Jack Clark challenges Albert Pujols to a lie detector test, doesn’t understand how the law works

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Albert Pujols sued former big leaguer Jack Clark a couple of weeks ago after the latter went on his radio show and accused the former of using PEDs. Jack Clark and his lawyers, rather than actually try to defend themselves via traditional means available to them in litigation, have decided to make a media circus out of it: he has challenged Pujols to dueling lie detector tests.

Setting aside the fact that polygraph tests are inadmissible and have no real value to the legal system and are wildly unreliable, this gambit is pretty dumb and disingenuous on its own merits. To see so, one need look no further than the way Clark’s lawyer frames the matter to be tested: he offers that the question to be asked Clark would be whether he was truthful when he said that Pujols’ trainer told him that Pujols had used PEDs.

Which is great except for the fact that that’s not even the real basis of the lawsuit.

Yes, Clark’s statements were that Pujols’ trainer told him that Pujols used PEDs. But the clear idea Clark was expressing is not that he was told something. It’s that what he was told was true. He was offering, through the thinnest possible cover of Pujols’ trainer, that Pujols did in fact take PEDs. Not that he was merely told it. Indeed, the actual legal claim by Pujols, by definition, covers not just knowingly telling reputation-harming lies, but spreading reputation-harming misinformation with reckless disregard for their truth. So he could very well have been told that by Pujols’ trainer. And it wouldn’t matter if (a) it was a lie; and (b) Clark was reckless in ascertaining whether or not it was true.

That bit of nonsense aside, it’s totally irrelevant. Polygraph exams have no bearing on litigation. This is a sideshow mounted in an effort by Clark’s camp to gain some sort of P.R. advantage. Nothing more.

Dodgers sign Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million deal

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.

Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.

Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.

UPDATE: Giants agree to a deal with Mark Melancon

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Mark Melancon #43 of the Washington Nationals reacts after the final out as the Nationals defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 in game three of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.

12:15 PMKen Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.

Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.

The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.

What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.

Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.