Jon Heyman has a piece out today on the possible return of Roger Clemens to the Yankees this season.
This is not the first time this theory has come up in the past month or so. For certain, if it were to happen, it would be costly. Clemens makes $3 mill per month. And, if he’s traded, he gets a $3 mill ‘pain and suffering’ bonus. Furthermore, on the Yankee-side, there would be the Steinbrenner, er, I mean, Luxury Tax impact. That’s a lotta cheddar for a rental.
And, there’s the issue here of what prospect do you offer back to the Astros for Rent-A-Rocket? Cano? Wang? Duncan? Melky C? I’ve never had an issue with giving up kids for a player – because, unless you can hit the ground running in NYC like a Jeter, Mo, or Donnie, chances are the Yankees cannot tolerate the typical rookie-to-player learning curve. But, that’s OK if you get someone who’s going to be around for a few years. Not OK if it’s someone who’s going to be here just for a few months.
Personally, the whole “I’m retiring/I’m coming back” thing in 2003 totally turned me off Clemens and allowed me to remove my Yankees-blinders when looking at him. Thus, I see him now for what he is: An all-about-me player. Because of this, I’d rather lose without him than win with him.
Lastly, who says Clemens would be any good for the Yankees? Look, behind the numbers and honestly, at what he did when he was here.
In 1999, he was a below average pitcher. He did rebound in 2000 and 2001 to pitch very effectively. However, in 2002, he was just a league average pitcher. And, in 2003 (his ‘going into retirement’ season) he was slightly above average – but, nowhere near where he was in 2000 or 2001.
Some might say “Whoa there pard! He won 77 games in da’stripes over 5 years. That’s some’tin.” But, to that, I would say “Based on the quality of his pitching performance metrics, Clemens should have won about 63 games in his 5 years in New York – which is around 13 wins per year and a lot less than the 77 games he was credited with winning.”
Clemens was good when he was in New York. But, he was not the head-and-shoulders above everyone else pitching god of the Yankees team. He was just about the same as Mussina and Pettitte.
At this stage of the game, in terms of pitching behind Unit, and all things considered, I’ll take my chances with Moose, Pavano, Wang, and pray for rain.
Let Roger stay home this summer, watch his kids games, drive his Hummer, and rub his puppy Pettitte’s belly when he rolls over for him. We’ll just figure out a way to win without him – if it’s up to me.