The evidence against Roger Clemens continues to be underwhelming

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The Roger Clemens trial got entertaining yesterday as ex-steroids dealer Kirk Radomski — made famous in the Mitchell Report — took the stand.

He was fun at least. Lively. Animated. Entertaining even, for a jury that has been mostly bored to tears.  The problem, though, is that the big piece of evidence he provided isn’t terribly big:

Radomski’s key piece of evidence is a shipment of HGH he said he sent to Clemens’ house about a decade ago. Radomski showed the jury an old, torn shipping label he found under his television set in his bedroom in June 2008. Federal agents had failed to find the label when they searched his home three years earlier – because they apparently didn’t look under what Radomski called his huge, old-model “dinosaur of a TV.”

The label was addressed to Brian McNamee, Clemens’ former strength coach, at Clemens’ home address in Texas. Radomski said the shipment was for two kits of HGH – “about 50-100 needles” – and estimated it took place in 2002.

It’s not irrelevant. I mean, it meets the definition of evidence that has ” the tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence,” as Rule 401 says.  It could, if the jury is otherwise inclined to convict Clemens, support that conviction.

But really: a long lost scrap of paper from underneath a drug dealer’s TV, from a package that was sent to someone who is not the defendant? I can’t say that will have a ton of weight, especially in these post-CSI days when jurors expect a ton more from physical evidence than that which could reasonably be given.

So, fun. Maybe relevant. But this trial still turns 100% on whether the jury will believe Brian McNamee.  That’s all that matters.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.