I think I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I would take a look at a possible Clemens acquisition. Fulfillling my ultimate goal to be better late than on-time, here it goes.
Let it be known that Clemens, while often at least seeming selfish and money-hungry, is also into the history of baseball. This doesn't neccessarily make him less selfish or money-hungry, but it does increase his chances of signing with us. He and the immortal Cy Young are tied atop the Red Sox all-time win list with 192. Rajah could come back to Boston, make it an even 200 and more. His legend in Boston would be renewed/cemented, he could re-win some of the fans' hearts, and bring his career full-circle. Makes for a nice story, eh? What could make it less of a nice story?
Clemens is a diva.
It's been no secret his entire career that Clemens thinks highly of himself. This I don't have a major problem with, he's been able to back this up with some serious talent and longevity. However, signing Clemens wouldn't just take $$ (though it would take a lot of this too), it would also involve some serious concessions. Information I've read suggests that the Sox FO is willing to accomodate Roger's requests/orders, not the least of which is the realistic interpretation that he only be a member of the team every fifth day. Also, there were "perks" in Matsuzaka's contract involving flights. If both need use of the team jet, which one gets preference? It's a logistical nightmare people.
One of the potential side benefits of signing Clemens is that perhaps he and Schilling, working together, could convince Beckett that you need more than smoke, piss, and vinegar to succeed in the AL. If Clemens is home in Houston on the days Beckett pitches, how much of that could really take place? If Clemens were there, he and Schilling could do the ol' "good cop-bad cop" routine as if Beckett were their child. Which really isn't too far off the mark.
Clemens may have used steroids.
These whispers have been going around for awhile. How can he still throw like that at 41-44? That question in itself doesn't bother me: I find it more amazing that this guy managed to steal six bases at age 47-48.
The problem with the whispers is that they may or may not have weight to it. How far can you trust Jason Grimsley? I don't know. How far can you trust a guy whose main problem is summed up in this quote?
Even Pettitte came out with an actual denial in the article. Either way, nothing is proven, but his first thought (or first quoted thought) was a protection of monetary assets.
Clemens hasn't pitched in the AL in like, 50 years.
All right. More like 3 years. Either way, it sometimes seems clear that the AL is a stronger league than the NL. It's a muddied issue, but the rough transitions of some players make it seem true. Clemens' ERA+ of 112 in 2003 for the (removed) was fine, honestly. If he can put that up again, he'll be a valuable pitcher. Valuable as in pro-rated $20M/yr salary? Not sure about that. Plus, as per the QOTD today, he'd either be pushing someone who has had success in the AL out of the rotation (Wakefield, Schilling) or who desperately needs the innings to prove they can succeed in the AL (Beckett, Papelbon) (As an aside, I don't think Matsuzaka is a possibility to lose his spot, unless he is injured). He'd be potentially better than at least three of the four, but Papelbon is going to need to start, Schilling and Wakefield are probably not going to the bullpen. I believe Beckett could move to the pen, though I'm not sure if that would increase the potential for blister problems or decrease it. Either way, building on his relative success last season (200+ IP, 16W) is a must at this point.
Clemens may be bad for our future.
As much as we're all probably used to the routine, I think Clemens will hang em up after this season. He could help us in '07, but where would that leave us in '08? With 3 potential rotation slots to "fill". Sure, Wake seems like he could pitch forever. Does he want to? Will he want to if injuries crop up again this season? Schilling will...probably be retired. And Clemens will be gone. One slot will presumably be taken by Beckett, though his possible stint in the bullpen might mean he'd go back to square one as far as secondary pitch development goes. Another will be taken, higher powers willing, by Jon Lester. I'm not concerned about him, assuming health, I think he'll be fine and a solid-good contributer in 2008. How do we fill the other slot left vacant by Clemens, as it were? Granted, I'm purposely being Chicken Little with this, but can we expect Bucholz to be ready (I think not)? Bowden? Bard (certainly not)? I'd prefer to not go with a stopgap option. I suppose none of this is new, except for whatever re-adjustment Beckett would have to make. We'd simply be a stronger team in 2008 if Beckett and Papelbon both have another 170-200 ML IP under their belts apiece. Clemens returning would change that for one of those two young pitchers.
My arguments are moot.
Let's be honest. If Clemens wants to sign with us, he will be signed by us. Henry, Lucchino, et al have made it no secret that they will pay his likely salary and meet his demands for benefits. To me, it just doesn't seem like it will be all it's cracked up to be. Maybe you disagree. Please let me know.