Score one point for Roger Clemens

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Despite the fact that there’s a gag order in place on the participants in the Roger Clemens trial, and despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing interesting about a retired baseball player playing golf, the Daily News has sent a reporter to basically stalk Roger Clemens down at that amateur tournament he’s playing in down at Myrtle Beach.

Roger Clemens has a lot of problems, but he seems to have a pretty good handle on where the Daily News is coming from:

After finishing up the par-4 18th hole at True Blue – Clemens began
his round on the 9th hole – he was asked by a Daily News reporter
outside the clubhouse if he’d be open to talking after he finished his
round, as long as the subject was golf related.

When told the reporter was from the Daily News, he said, “The Daily
News? That’s comical. You must know (Brian) McNamee real well.”

He pretty much nailed it there. The Daily News has basically been McNamee’s P.R. firm for the past two years. Which is fine. Everyone can pick a side if they’re into that sort of thing. But when you do so just don’t expect anyone — even Roger Clemens — to believe that you give a hoot about his golf game.

Indeed, based on the headline of that story — “Clemens plays golf while lawyers likely buried with documents” — it’s obvious that they’re trying to portray the guy as a pampered athlete, oblivious to the trouble he’s in.

Hint to the Daily News: after being given a mountain of evidence to sift through, the last thing a legal team in this kind of case wants is their client sitting in the conference room “helping.”

If they need him, they’ll call him. If they have a lot to cover, they’ll set up a meeting sometime. For now, they’re probably more than happy that he’s down on a golf course where he can’t interrupt them.

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.