Rumor: a Roger Clemens indictment is not far off

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Put this firmly in the category of scuttlebutt and rumor, not news, but someone who tends to know about this kind of thing is telling me that the feds could obtain an indictment on Roger Clemens any day now. The last intelligence my source had on it was that it could happen “around the All-Star break.”

To be clear — predicting indictments is kind of a sucker’s game. I had a client under federal grand jury investigation for 18 months once, and every other day someone called me to tell me “hey, your dude is about to get indicted.”  Funny thing happened, though: he never got indicted. I’d like to say it was because I’m a totally awesome lawyer, but that’s not true (if it was, would I be doing this for a living? OK, maybe I would, but still).  The fact is that no one on the outside of these things really ever knows how it’s going to break until it does.

All of that said, this is some rather specific intelligence on the time frame. And to be sure, it involves a guy who was really damn brazen during his testimony in front of Congress and was directly contradicted by another witness. The feds have been investigating Clemens for a long time now, and have been presenting testimony to the grand jury for months.  Just this morning his old boss was talking about a lot more information coming out soon. That tends to happen when someone gets indicted. You get the sense they want him, and in our system if a prosecutor wants someone bad enough, they can at least be fairly confident of getting an indictment. I mean, we’ve all heard the old adage about how you can indict a
ham sandwich, right?

So yeah, this might merely be smoke. But I think there’s enough heat to it that we shouldn’t act all shocked if Roger Clemens is indicted sometime soon.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.