Jack Clark challenges Albert Pujols to a lie detector test, doesn’t understand how the law works

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Albert Pujols sued former big leaguer Jack Clark a couple of weeks ago after the latter went on his radio show and accused the former of using PEDs. Jack Clark and his lawyers, rather than actually try to defend themselves via traditional means available to them in litigation, have decided to make a media circus out of it: he has challenged Pujols to dueling lie detector tests.

Setting aside the fact that polygraph tests are inadmissible and have no real value to the legal system and are wildly unreliable, this gambit is pretty dumb and disingenuous on its own merits. To see so, one need look no further than the way Clark’s lawyer frames the matter to be tested: he offers that the question to be asked Clark would be whether he was truthful when he said that Pujols’ trainer told him that Pujols had used PEDs.

Which is great except for the fact that that’s not even the real basis of the lawsuit.

Yes, Clark’s statements were that Pujols’ trainer told him that Pujols used PEDs. But the clear idea Clark was expressing is not that he was told something. It’s that what he was told was true. He was offering, through the thinnest possible cover of Pujols’ trainer, that Pujols did in fact take PEDs. Not that he was merely told it. Indeed, the actual legal claim by Pujols, by definition, covers not just knowingly telling reputation-harming lies, but spreading reputation-harming misinformation with reckless disregard for their truth. So he could very well have been told that by Pujols’ trainer. And it wouldn’t matter if (a) it was a lie; and (b) Clark was reckless in ascertaining whether or not it was true.

That bit of nonsense aside, it’s totally irrelevant. Polygraph exams have no bearing on litigation. This is a sideshow mounted in an effort by Clark’s camp to gain some sort of P.R. advantage. Nothing more.

Braves are targeting Dallas Keuchel

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LAS VEGAS — Let’s start our first weekday of the Winter Meetings with some rumors and speculation. We’ll have a good bit of that until, you know, something actually happens.

First up: Dallas Keuchel, the top free agent pitcher remaining on the market. Jon Heyman says the Braves, who are in the market for a starter, are targeting him. In this they are not alone, as the Phillies, who missed out on Patrick Corbin, and the Reds, who would like a pitcher who doesn’t allow a lot of fly balls are each reported to be focused on Keuchel as well. There was a random report that the Blue Jays were interested in him too, but that seems off to me given where they are on their rebuild.

Keuchel, who will turn 31 on New Year’s Day, was 12-11 in 34 starts last year, posting an ERA of 3.74 in 204.2 innings. His peripherals have declined fairly consistently since his Cy Young season in 2015, so the question is whether the team that signs him is paying for his past or for what he might reasonably be expected to provide in the future.