Roger Clemens makes first public comments since indictment

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Roger Clemens made his first public comments since being indicted on federal charges for perjury during an appearance on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Telethon yesterday.

“I’m not going to get into details. All I’m going to say is that I
learned a lot. My eyes were opened by some of the things that happened
and did not happen,” Clemens said. “We’re going to deal with it, guys, I
don’t really know what else to say. We’re going to deal with it and
have our day.”

“It really wasn’t a surprise. I mean, I got my eyes opened up quite a
bit when we went in there an the things that we went through before.
… I sent it out in a tweet [denying the charges]. I thought that was
the best way to go about it.”

Clemens also told WEEI that he no longer talks to Andy Pettitte and that he didn’t play baseball in order to go into the Hall of Fame.

On a related note, according to Mike Fish of ESPN.com, attorney Rusty Hardin said Clemens turned down a “very fair offer” from the government in return for pleading guilty several months ago.

“The government made a recommendation [for a plea agreement] and we
declined,” Hardin said. “I will tell you the recommendation they made
was a very good one if he was guilty. And if he was guilty we would have
jumped on it. Everybody has all this great solicitous advice, all the
media and you guys — ESPN. Nobody is answering the question: What if he
didn’t do it, what should he have done? And everybody wants him to
confess.”

“I have even heard people suggest that even if he didn’t do it he
should have said he did so that everybody will move on. That is a
helluva commentary.”

Stunningly enough, the offer reportedly included no jail time. It’s a bold move by Clemens, but a calculated one. We’re probably still a long way from this actually going to trial, but a conviction isn’t a sure thing, especially with Brian McNamee as a key — and rather shady — witness.  

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.