Look, I don’t want someone coming into my mother’s basement to tell me how to do my job, so I’m sure the prosecutors in the Roger Clemens case don’t want to hear my armchair litigating either. But, hey, it’s kinda my thing, so I’m gonna do it anyway. And today’s theme: dudes, what are you thinking?
Yesterday the prosecutors brought forth yet another witness who harms their own case. The witness was Yankees GM Brian Cashman. The upshot of Cashman’s testimony: Roger Clemens was an amazing athlete with drive and determination, Brian McNamee was someone the New York Yankees did not like and did not trust and, oh, we have no evidence whatsoever that Roger Clemens ever did steroids of any kind.
Cashman specifically noted that, yes, players often got B-vitamin injections that the club didn’t know about or document, which comports totally with Clemens’ defense that any DNA of his on Brian McNamee’s syringes was the result of such vitamin injections. He also talked about how no one got along with Brian McNamee, how McNamee overstepped his bounds all the time and made allusions to unsavory incidents in which McNamee was involved, though he couldn’t elaborate on them due to the judge barring such testimony. Things like that Florida date rape drug incident and some other unseemliness.
The net effect: Roger Clemens is awesome — at the end he even jovially took Rusty Hardin’s bait when asked if the Yankees could use “a 50 year-old pitcher who can still throw 90” by smiling and saying “maybe” — and Brian McNamee is an unstrustworthy nogoodnik. This is NOT what you do when your entire case depends on (a) the jury hearing and believing Brian McNamee; and (b) believing that Roger Clemens is a liar.
Though I suppose there was one instance in which Cashman’s own reliability came into play, which could mitigate all of this. When asked how many world championships the Yankees have won during his tenure as general manager, Cashman said five when, in reality, it’s just four. Bob Watson was the GM for the 1996 title.
Gonna guess that doesn’t help the prosecution that much.
We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.
It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.
He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four. He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.
He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.
Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.
Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.
This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.