FanDuel - WFBC

May 30, 2006

Clemens to Astros?:

posted by Barry-from-H-town to baseball at 04:46 PM - 44 comments

Warning: Unfounded Conspiracy Theory Follows Somebody on another thread made a passing mention of this, but it seems to me it deserves more consideration now that Clemens has signed. A) Clemens has been eligible to sign with the Astros for almost a full month, but has lingered in free agency without substantial explanation. B) Few people really felt that Clemens would sign with anybody except the Astros. C) The Astros have played 52 games. D) 50 games is the punishment for a first-time banned substance offender. E) In the midst of the environment created by Palmeiro and Bonds (and Giambi, and Sheffield, and...), baseball could ill afford to have another top notch Hall of Famer, and record holder, torn apart by a PED conviction. F) Clemens' unusual contract situation permitted a potentially tidy and quiet resolution to a potentially yucky, volatile problem. I have no idea if these pieces are all from the same puzzle, or just random pieces from several unrelated puzzles. Probably the latter. Still... interesting.

posted by BullpenPro at 05:09 PM on May 30

Can we get the link text edited to something a little less opiniony and a little more respectable? Merci!

posted by DrJohnEvans at 05:20 PM on May 30

I hope Houston gets him ASAP. I am sick of this drama for a guy who is overpaid, and selfish. As a Yankees fan, I hope that neither Boston or the Yankees get him. I don't like him, but he's an amazing talent, especially at his age. I think that if he goes to a contending/ semi- contending team, he will give them a push right into the playoffs.

posted by redsoxrgay at 05:35 PM on May 30

I am sick of this drama for a guy who is overpaid, and selfish. Uh huh, and if the Yankees got him (with Pavano/Chacon on the DL, Johnson struggling as of late), you'd be like "NO! NO GOD!! WHY!?!" Come on. Your team needs pitching with an urgency and you wouldn't want someone "selfish" and another overpaid person on the Yankees, you know, who can pitch well? As opposed to the overpaid ones who can't pitch and are on the DL? Be honest. Hah, I say, sir. Hah.

posted by jerseygirl at 05:54 PM on May 30

Jerseygirl- When i say that I dont like Clemens, I am serious. He went into "retirement", left the Yankees, then comes back and goes to Houston? He did the same thing last year too. Now, he's going to make 3.5 mil a month?? Not only is that a rediculous amount of money, but nobody knows what kind of shape he's in. Its very likely he can get hurt since he's 43. The Yankees need pitching, but not really. They have Mussina, Johnson (who gave up 2 hits in 6 innings vs. Detroit), Wang, then Small and Wright. There were rumors about Barry Zito, but we have a strong enough bullpen to the point where starting pitching isn't a neccessity. Clemens isn't worth that kind of money no matter what he does this year- thats an insane amount of money.

posted by redsoxrgay at 06:06 PM on May 30

Dude, as he left Boston he said he wanted to be closer to his family in Texas and then went to Toronto. But you know what? I'd take him. In a heartbeat. I'm not surprised he went back to HOU, but I wouldn't be sad if he went to BOS either. We have some dude pitching tomorrow night that has never pitched above AA. Clemens > Some Dude. Clemens > Zito also.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:13 PM on May 30

A very insane amount of money, if those idiots are willing to pay, how can you blame Clemens for taking it? What do you expect, for Roger to say...I'm sorry but I can't accept an insane amount of money. Please

posted by tdheiland at 06:18 PM on May 30

yeah, i'd take him too.

posted by goddam at 06:21 PM on May 30

Actually the money is not that outrageous by todays standards. If he starts tomorrow and pitches through the end of October he would earn $17.5 mil. If he pitches until the end of October he has likely earned his team a World Series Championship. Being that my team, the Angels, gave Jeff Weaver $9 mil to pitch this year I don't think that giving Roger $17.5 is an insane amount of money.

posted by Termite at 06:25 PM on May 30

Yea because you know 17.5 mil is pocketchange......

posted by redsoxrgay at 06:28 PM on May 30

grum@work, Calling grum!!, grum@work are you there? How many players are earning more than say, $17.5 mil a year. It has to be more than just A-Rod.

posted by Termite at 06:42 PM on May 30

Check, ch-ch-ch-check it out. http://asp.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/top25.aspx?year=2006

posted by jerseygirl at 06:44 PM on May 30

Thanks jg, I'm not sure if I made a big point but at least I wasn't shutout. Hey! How did you know where grum's secret wormhole to the stats was? Is there something going on with you two? None of my business.

posted by Termite at 06:56 PM on May 30

Hah! Nothing going on except that you guys need to upgrade your internet package and get Google.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:58 PM on May 30

Last time I saw Clemons, he just got rocked by the white soxs. He claimed it was hamstring. Sadly it will not be a happy ending for Roger except when he cashes his checks.

posted by whodat at 07:48 PM on May 30

It is not confirmed that he signed yet, but ESPN Peter Gammons says Houston offered 1 year/10.5 million. I just heard that on ESPN News. Don't know if it's true, but that's still a lot of money for maybe 20-25 starts.

posted by sublime4390116 at 08:13 PM on May 30

Everybody is railing about Bonds being a jerk, bein selfish, etc...Clemens takes the cake in this department. Too selfish to show up for the whole season? Too selfish to actually be a part of the team? At least Bonds goes to every game, this loser isn't even going to make road trips unless he's pitching. I'm tired of Roger Clemens, he needs to go home and spare us from his presence.

posted by donnnnychris at 08:26 PM on May 30

I can't say I'm Clemens' biggest fan, but teams are coming to him with these offers. He's perfectly willing to sit back and not pitch, but teams are willing to go way beyond the norm and make special arrangements to sign him. Should he refuse to listen? And as far as him being overpaid, he puts lots of fans in seats in Houston. The Astros probably make extra money every time he goes out to the mound.

posted by spira at 08:59 PM on May 30

Back to what BullpenPro said at the top, I'd love to see stats on Clemens' weight gain and performance in the latter stages of his career. I'm thinking there is a solid case here for a conspiracy theorist. Nonetheless, if the BoSox had got him I'd be ecstatic right now- and who cares about the monopoly money anyhow?

posted by MW12 at 09:06 PM on May 30

That's an interesting theory, but I think it's probably a coincidence- Roger is an unlikely candidate for steroids, if only because he's always been a workout nut, naturally, and it's not like he suddenly bulked up mid-career; he's always been a bulky, muscular dude, that's why he's still a Cy Young caliber pitcher at age 43. The amazing thing about Clemens is how good he was early and late. If you're going to accuse Clemens of steroid use simply because he's good into his 40's and has solid bulk and crazy-strong legs, then a couple of gentlemen by the name of Seaver and Ryan might need to have their pee tested as well. :) My guess is someone as devoted to fitness as Clemens isn't going to dabble in steroids, since steroids might appeal to those looking for a quick fix or for a later career pick me up. Clemens was a Cy Young winner in his third and fourth years, and continued to be great pretty much without exception: even those 'lean' years as he finished with the Sox were more a case of run support than a pitcher faltering and needing the needle boost. Why would he dabble in steroids when he already had everything, and never really lost it? But I could be 100% wrong on this. :) More likely to me is that two months is roughly about the time it takes for a team to start looking at roster changes/upgrades, and contemplating trades. We're at the 1/3 mark of the season, and while the Astros were in the World Series last year they're now a 26-26 middle-of-the-road club. They're pitching is mediocre, so... Roger's a quick and known fix. And $10.5M is a pittance if he can get 20 starts and finish 7 or 8 games over .500; those might be the extra 7 or 8 games that put them back into 1st...

posted by hincandenza at 09:44 PM on May 30

A) Clemens has been eligible to sign with the Astros for almost a full month, but has lingered in free agency without substantial explanation. B) Few people really felt that Clemens would sign with anybody except the Astros. C) The Astros have played 52 games. D) 50 games is the punishment for a first-time banned substance offender. E) In the midst of the environment created by Palmeiro and Bonds (and Giambi, and Sheffield, and...), baseball could ill afford to have another top notch Hall of Famer, and record holder, torn apart by a PED conviction. F) Clemens' unusual contract situation permitted a potentially tidy and quiet resolution to a potentially yucky, volatile problem. I'm just going to quickly punch a hole through that conspiracy theory before it gains any more steam. Here we go:

  • Clemens was signed to a contract with Houston at the end of the 2005 season.
  • Therefore, the team has the option of offering him arbitration before a certain date (December?) in order to secure a first round draft pick from any other team that might sign Clemens.
  • If they do offer him arbitration, they leave themselves open to an independent arbitrator ruling in the neighbourhood of $20-22million, especially considering the amazing stats Clemens put up in 2005.
  • Since they wanted to avoid being put on the hook for that, they did not offer him arbitration.
  • The rules state that if a team does not offer arbitration, they cannot negotiate with a player until after May 1st.
  • Therefore, the negotiations really didn't begin until May 1st, only 29 days ago.
  • Since it's taken them less than a month to determine if Clemens was in game shape (physicals), and to come to a financial (and scheduling) agreement with him (limited travel plans), it's really not that big of a deal.
Also, if the league was willing to hang Palmeiro out to dry right after he got all the positive publicity for the 3000 hits, I really can't see why they'd set themselves up for a world of hurt (from an inevitable leak, since nobody can keep secrets nowadays) by trying to coverup a positive result from Clemens.

posted by grum@work at 10:09 PM on May 30

I don't think clemens wants any part of the american league. He wasn't the dominant pitcher he was in the national league. His last year in ny his era was 3.91. Hell, arroyo is kicking butt in the national league. I could be wrong, but I'm guessing he picks up a quick check from the astros before riding off into a kolorful sunset.

posted by justgary at 10:14 PM on May 30

I have no interest in sullying the good name of Roger Clemens. But, I can't resist playing devil's advocate here. Grum, I don't see how you "punched a hole" in the conspiracy, as much as proposed a more likely, less conspiratorial scenario. Nothing that you said derailed the plausibility of the conspiracy, except your last point about motive. On that point, Selig has made a few bad decisions in his career as commissioner. Perhaps he and/or his brain trust thought that it was more damaging to the long term health of MLB to have the Clemens story break in the middle of the Palmeiro and Bonds stories than it would be to leak out after the fact and, hopefully, well after all the other madness and when steroids has become a tired issue publicly (we're pretty close already, I would think). Maybe Selig brokered a deal with the Astros and Clemens that gave Clemens the punishment without announcing the crime. Clemens' contract status, as you pointed out, makes it all the more convenient -- it's a natural excuse for not playing the first 50 games, and throws off the scent, at least for a good while.

posted by BullpenPro at 10:29 PM on May 30

Conspiracy or not, was/is there anybody who thinks/thought that Clemens would go to a team who was not the Astros?

posted by uglatto at 10:38 PM on May 30

I don't see how you "punched a hole" in the conspiracy, as much as proposed a more likely, less conspiratorial scenario. The main point of the conspiracy is that it's more than 50 games after the fact, and that the time length coincides with the suspension length. Except that he couldn't have come back early with the Astros, but could have come back early with any other team, and had been contacted by them (Yankees, Red Sox, others). Do you suppose that the commissioner would keep it a secret from all of the other teams and let them attempt to negotiate with Clemens, only to pull the rug out from under them at the last moment if they came close to signing a deal? Or let them sign a deal and then come up with some cockamamie story as to why he isn't going to pitch until May 30th, even though he could have signed any time in the off-season? And if Selig DID tell the other teams about the Clemens story, are you trying to tell me that they ALL kept it a secret as well? As well, this also assumes that they would have waived his failed drug test to allow him to play in the WBC, even though all of the players were going to be tested for the WBC (remember, that's why Bonds supposedly didn't play). So all of these deals would have to be arranged/designed to keep this supposed drug test result a secret. Of course, we'd have to know when Clemens supposedly failed this drug test. Was it during the regular season of 2005? If so, why not simply tell Clemens after the playoffs "You can't come back. Period. Retire now and we bury it." It couldn't have been during the playoffs, because nobody was tested during that time. It wouldn't have been in the off-season since Clemens was not under contract with any team and is therefore not subject to any mandatory testing. Of course, all this completely ignores the fact that a secret like this would have ZERO chance of surviving in today's media climate. It suggests that multiple people in the MLB front office, Houston front office, Clemens personal life and the testing labs have kept quiet about a positive drug test, all during the existing media frenzy about steroids and every reporter looking for a story to write. In summary, the conspiracy theory has to make it through all of those questions/landmines in order to be true. Or, he didn't fail a test and the Astros (the only team he really wanted to play for) was able to broker a deal with him in about 28 days of negotiation. Occam's Razor, baby. Occam's Razor.

posted by grum@work at 10:49 PM on May 30

Everybody is railing about Bonds being a jerk, bein selfish, etc...Clemens takes the cake in this department. Absolutely right. But Clemens is a "good guy" because he never allegedly did something that wasn't against the actual rules when he allegedly did it. Or didn't allegedly do it. I can't keep it straight. There should be a rule. You announce publicly that you're retired, that's it. You're done. No more. Clemens, Jordan, Magic Johnson - I don't care who you are, if you tell the world you're retiring, then go retire already.

posted by Toxteth O'Grady at 11:00 PM on May 30

Haha, Toxteth O'Grady, I like the running in circles sentence you shot out there, very entertaining. And I agree with you, if a player says goodbye then goodbye already...enough with the third and fourth acts!!!!!!!

posted by donnnnychris at 12:24 AM on May 31

I'd like to see the Rocket take the mound for the Rangers. A very talented lineup, they need a leader on the mound. The Ranger's front office just doesn't try to aquire GOOD pitchers. They hoped Milwood would help but he can't seem to keep the ball in the park. The Rangers are the only team I have ever seen that can score 10 runs in a game and still come up with a loss. They have great run support but no pitching. If Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling can single handedly win a World Series with Arizona, I think Clemens can take the Rangers to the playoffs. The Rangers need talent on the mound and I'm surprised they haven't pursued him more than they have. He would still be in Texas and the Rangers have had good seasons this year and last. They just need someone to give them that push late in the season. Clemens would be a great addition to the Rangers.

posted by SoonerLes at 03:52 AM on May 31

I'd like to see the Rocket take to the pasture.

posted by chicobangs at 04:38 AM on May 31

What chico said. How can we miss you if you won't go away, Roger?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:25 AM on May 31

Actually the money is not that outrageous by todays standards. Right on, Termite. $17.5 million is about what an insurance company executive gets, and there are thousands of them. Most of them couldn't even strike out a pitcher.

posted by drevl at 11:27 AM on May 31

The Rocket has agreed to terms (ridiculous mad money) with the Astros. He'll make $22 mill for 2006. Somewhere George Steinbrenner is kicking puppies. And baseball got a little more interesting. I don't like Clemens, the man, but damn he's fun to watch pitch.

posted by fenriq at 11:58 AM on May 31

SoonerLes, Clemens would have the same troubles as Millwood in Texas. That park just plain sucks for pitchers. Clemens would be nuts to go to the AL, and the AL teams would be nuts to spend those insane amounts of money on him. He's another year older, didn't prepare as hard this offseason as others, and would be back in the AL, where ERAs magically inflate. Anyone remember how dominant Randy Johnson was in 04 in the NL? He had a year like Clemens in 05 - astoundingly good numbers but didn't win the Cy he deserved because of his low win totals (lost to Clemens, heh). And look what happened to him in the AL. I am praying that the Yankees don't get him. It'll be a huge waste of money for another mediocre pitcher who we won't be able to rely on in big spots. Aside from johnson, pitching isn't even the Yankees problem right now. Moose has been good, Chacon decent, Wright improving and much better than expected, and Wang solid. Their team pitching numbers have been fine, but people keep saying they desperately need pitching. If Johnson rights himself, they're one of the best, and if Torre doesn't burn Proctor out from overuse by July, the bullpen is in great shape too. The best thing the Yankees could do to improve their team runs allowed is not get another pitcher, but STOP PUTTING BERNIE WILLIAMS IN THE OUTFIELD. He played center last night in cavernous Comerica. What a retarded decision. I know there are injuries, and I expect Damon to join the parade on the DL soon as well, but Bernie has no business in a major league outfield. Melky, Damon, Sheffield is what they need to stick with for now untill Bubba comes back or they finally start giving Kevin Thompson a look. It's still imperfect, but that's what they get for completely overlooking outfield D for five years. Clemens to the Sox makes a lot more sense, as they do have a bigger hole in their rotation (but a stronger top). If he could come in and post just a 4.00 ERA that makes them a very scary team. But him to the Astros makes the most sense, because he is comfortable there, at home, wouldn't have to travel, and would have easier competition. I don't think there's any chance he chooses to go anywhere else.

posted by Bernreuther at 11:58 AM on May 31

He'll make $22 mill for 2006. Somewhere George Steinbrenner is kicking puppies. Pro-rated. When he is added to the major league roster, he gets a one-year contract worth $22,000,022 -- his uniform number is 22. Because he won't be playing the full season, he gets only a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:00 PM on May 31

See? I was right! One other thing, with regards to the steroids - the single biggest benefit to steroids is that they enhance your ability to recover from rigorous excercise. As his age advanced, Clemens could very well have needed a boost to maintain his workout pace. You can do steroids without getting bigger, if you do the right ones and keep the same diet. Not saying he did, but the post above that tried to use his workout regimen as an argument against his possible use is off base.

posted by Bernreuther at 12:03 PM on May 31

The best thing the Yankees could do to improve their team runs allowed is not get another pitcher, but STOP PUTTING BERNIE WILLIAMS IN THE OUTFIELD. Bern, they don't have a lot of options. I heard Damon might be headed to the DL with the broken bone in his foot.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:19 PM on May 31

Well yeah, I know, but they've brought up a bunch of no name prospects but Torre continues to run him out there ahead of the new guys. TLong has gotten some time out there too since they got him, but the numbers show that since 2002 he's been just about as bad as Bernie. No matter how you slice it, they're bad out there, but Bernie is unquestionably the worst, yet he's in the lineup playing center in the biggest outfield in the AL with a flyball pitcher on the mound. It's ridiculous.

posted by Bernreuther at 01:07 PM on May 31

jerseygirl, point taken on the 2006 salary and what he'll end up getting. But I stand by my statement about Steinbrenner and puppies. Either way, I am actually kind of glad that he's coming back.

posted by fenriq at 02:12 PM on May 31

Oh I'm sure he kicks puppies all the time!

posted by jerseygirl at 02:16 PM on May 31

Good for the Astros, now Clemens can choke again in the clutch and cost another team a title. He may have been a good pressure pitcher earlier in his career, but recent history suggests he can't get it done when the chips are down. He can dominate all he wants in the regular season but if he can't do it when the playoff heat is on then he's a big waste of money.

posted by donnnnychris at 03:56 PM on May 31

Well, at least I know he's financially stable until his next retirement (scheduled for October, 2006). What will that make, approx. 4?

posted by dyams at 04:40 PM on May 31

I wonder if he got that clause in his contract where each month he drops his drawers and the whole organization needs to line up, file past and kiss his ass.

posted by hb74147 at 04:46 PM on May 31

I was really impressed last year with his work. This year I just think this whole circus was ridiculous and I hope he goes 4-12 with a 5+ ERA. You know, a little rat shit in the rice krispies.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:19 AM on June 01

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