Monday, May 07, 2007

Clemens thoughts

So when Roger Clemens took the mic and announced his return to the Yankees during the seventh inning stretch of the Yankees/Mariners last night, suddenly the balance of power shifted in the AL East.

Lots of people have their opinions on the Rocket, from what I've read on various websites and message boards in the past 24 hours or so it seems pretty split. Yankee fans are pretty much overjoyed, they believe they've got an ace pitcher who can give them 20 or so very good outings for the rest of the season. He will probably take over innings that were going to be pitched by Kei Igawa or Carl Pavano, it would be hard to contend that the innings Clemens will provide wouldn't improve on those these two pitchers would've provided.

Red Sox fans though are mostly seemingly quite happy they've dodged the Clemens bullet, they see him as a six-inning pitcher who'll get lit up in the AL East after facing weak NL line-ups for the past three years. I wonder if they would be saying the same thing should he of re-joined them for one final stint. That is something that we'll never know but I know what I think.

It is a staggering amount of money and he has the special perks that he had in Houston. This doesn't seem to bother his team mates so why as a fan should I care? I have longed believed that the Rocket would return to the Bronx, Andy's return and Cano's number switch only furthered my belief.

The question is now whether or not a staff of Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens and Philip Hughes is a strong enough staff to compete for the AL East title and beyond. If everyone is healthy and pitching to potential then on paper, it is an incredibly strong rotation. Couple that with the Yankees everyday lineup and you have a team that look very impressive. The Bullpen though is of some concern but should the starters start to go further as health improves then the 'pen will get more time off. Rivera, Farnsworth, Proctor, Henn, Myers and Bruney look strong to me if they aren't being overworked and throw in a long man who can go a few innings of a time in mop-up duty, a Rasner or Igawa then the team is starting to look good.

Baseball Prospectus has him going 127.2 innings with a 3.16 ERA. Rotowire at 122.0 IP and a 2.73. Baseball Think Factory has him at 179.0 IP and a 2.77 with Bill James 156.0 Innings and putting up a 3.12 ERA. These numbers were put together before the season started so even if you add a run for Clemens pitching in the toughest division in the league then it's still numbers that most Yankee fans will sign up for.

However Clemens won't be back for a month, Hughes probably until until around the A/S break, and according to observers, by then the Yankees season will be all but over so it'll be a gigantic waste of time and money by the club.

Personally though, I'll wait and see how it plays out.

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