Clemens Posturing Shouldn’t Be Believed
Until Roger Clemens definitively retires, we’re going to have to deal with the constant speculation as to which team he will join for his half season of work. Clemens’s agents have said that the only teams that Clemens will consider joining are the Astros, Yankees and Red Sox; now with Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano surrendering the uniform number 22, which Clemens wore while with the Yankees, in hopes of Clemens’s arrival in mid-season, the pros and cons of which team would be best for Clemens to join should be weighed.
The pros for each:
The Yankees will offer Clemens the opportunity to win another championship and to do it while pitching with his close friend Andy Pettitte. They will also probably offer him the most money out of all the interested suitors.
The Red Sox would offer Clemens comparable money to the Yankees and his return to Boston would right a supposed wrong that was perpetrated by then Red Sox GM Dan Duquette in letting Clemens leave in the first place. The Red Sox have also said that they would be willing to be flexible with Clemens’s schedule, as the Astros are.
The Astros continue to offer most of the same things that they’ve provided over the past three seasons, except that Andy Pettitte is no longer there. They’re going to be competitive this season; they have a strong bullpen; and there is the matter of the special perks that Clemens receives in that he doesn’t have to show up at the ballpark unless he’s pitching, and that he doesn’t accompany the team on all the road trips. There are also the matters of Clemens’s son Koby, who is in the low minor leagues for the Astros; and the personal services contract that Clemens has with the Astros; those things make it very attractive for Clemens to remain with the Astros.
The Yankees aren’t going to let Clemens make his own schedule as the other teams appear willing to do.
The Red Sox bullpen is looking like it might be a problem; they really don’t need another starter, they need bullpen help. Why would Clemens want to join a team that is going to have a hard time making the playoffs while drawing the ire of both the Yankees and Astros?
The Astros probably wouldn’t be very happy with Clemens if he abandoned them to selfishly re-join the Yankees or Red Sox after the Astros have been so generous financially and accommodating to his desires to be a "part-timer". One other thing that shouldn’t be discounted is the presence of Clemens’s son in the Astros minor league system. In looking at Koby Clemens’s stats, he doesn’t appear to be much of a prospect. If Clemens wants his son to make it to the big leagues, the only chance he may have is if Clemens himself is still a member in good standing with the organization. If he leaves, the Astros might up and release Clemens’s son.
All of this speculation is ultimately meaningless. Clemens himself knows the pros and cons of each situation. I believe that the decision is going to come down to the Astros competitiveness in their division; money won’t be such an overriding factor. If the Astros are in contention for a playoff spot, then Clemens will return there. If not, then he will choose between the Yankees and Red Sox. Since the Astros look like they’re going to be pretty good this year, it’d be a huge surprise if Clemens is pitching for anyone other than the Houston Astros this season.