Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rocket Fuelled up for one last trip?

The best bubbling story under the surface in Boston and New York is whether former star Roger Clemens is going to don those Red Sox or those Pinstripes for one last hurrah. The seven time Cy Young award winner has indicated that should he pitch on next season then the two AL East giants are among the four he'd consider playing for, the other two are both in his home state of Texas with the Rangers or the Astros.

Clemens' 13-8 record last year doesn't should overly impressive when you consider he was playing for a team that went to the World Series but when you look closer as you all know, he led the Major Leagues with a 1.87 ERA last time around and that includes pitching half his games in a big hitters park. His home ERA was lower than the next best and quite simply he was awesome. He added to his legacy by coming out of that bullpen in the bottom of the 15th inning and coming into the 4th game of the ALDS as a pinch hitter against the Braves. Yes you read that right, he entered as a pinch hitter. He pitched three innings of stellar shutout ball and then in the 18th took two swings trying to end it all before the next batter Chris Burke did exactly that.

His last outing to date was cut short by injury, is that the way the Rocket wants to finish, with a damp fizzle? I don't think so, so what has it got to do with the Yanks and Sox? Well I think there is a 100% chance he'll pitch next year and a 90% chance is that he'll pinch in the AL East. Both clubs would jump to sign this guy to a 1yr/$15m deal and whilst Neil H isn't at all convinced he'll return to baseball, he does think that if he does then the Sox have a 'higher risk of overpaying for the one year Roger revival tour than they did before the Boston media started on their "clueless" campaign.'

I am sure that Roger will get the itch soon enough and in the New Year he'll instruct his agents to talk to all four clubs and get a feel of what is out there. I think he'll pitch until he doesn't feel that he can do himself justice and at this time he is still a genuine ace and would anchor pretty much any rotation out there. He doesn't need the money, he is more than wealthy enough to look after himself and his family for generations to come, but he does need the game and the heat of a pennant race. Some people play the sport because they are naturally gifted and it is a great career, some play it because they are naturally gifted but also because they need to play. Roger has one of those characters and he isn't done yet, there is another chapter to be written in this great Hall of Fame story and I think it'll be in New York or in Boston. At a push I think he'll end up in Fenway for one last year as a Red Sox before he goes into the Hall with a Boston cap (although I still contest he should choose what cap he wears but thanks to Wade Boggs that right has gone).

If the Sox get Clemens then it is a massive coup for them, as it would be if the Yankees brought him back. Love him or loathe him for what he's done in his career, it is hard not to marvel at his drive and success. Whoever he pitches for will get a great player and the winners will be the general public who'd get to watch him for at least another year.

3 threw a strike:

At 9:25 pm, Blogger Stuart said...

Its the perfect time for the big man to hang up the glove. Why would he go back to the AL East just to have a final hurrah turn into a damp squib by finishing 2nd to the Canada BlueJays in division!

At 9:39 pm, Blogger Yankees Chick said...

first of all, nice post.

now, i really do doubt that clemens will retire. he had the season of a lifetime last year and unless he faces an unfortunate injury in the WBC, he is still in good health. he's already tried to retire once ----but came back. he's like an addict! baseball is his life.

plus...this guy wont be retiring without fanfare, hoopla, presents, parties, awards...

At 11:57 pm, Blogger Neil M said...

The Blue Jays are still the third best team in the division Stu, they've made gains but enough games to win 20 extra games? I'm not so sure...

YC, cheers for complimenting me on my post. I am a huge Rocket fan and would love to see him back next year (preferably with Wright being traded but thats just hope for than reality) He'll want to retire in style and he had that chance in 2003 in Florida with all those flashbulbs but limping off with injury isn't the way he'll bow out, he'll be back.


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