Return of Roger
Yesterday's surprise was the announcement that Roger Clemens had signed a one-year contract with the Yankees. I was surprised on two fronts:
- I didn't expect Roger to make his decision this early. Last year he didn't decide to come back until the end of May. Since he was one year older, I didn't expect him to even pitch as long as last year.
- I really thought that the Red Sox had the best chance of getting Clemens this year. There is the sentimental aspect of Roger returning to where he started in Boston.
In the end, Roger went with the team that offered him the most money. No surprise. He has said in the past that his decisions weren't about the money. When an athlete says that, you know that it is only about the money.
The Yankees needed Clemens. They need his pitching. He'll be a stable #4 starter for them. He's a competitor. He can't pitch deep into games, but anything will be an improvement over some of their starters. As you may know, today the Yankees will stasrt their 10th different pitcher in their first 30 games. This has never happened in major leage history. Not a record you want to own.
The Yankees also need the emotional lift that signing Clemens brings. It's a vote of confidence on Steinbrenner's part that he'll continue to spend lots of money to win. I've heard that the Yankees were the only team in baseball that lost money last year. Heavy luxury taxes will do that. I don't think that Steinbrenner cares. He wants to win the World Series one more time before he fades away.
Speaking of emotion, I think that the Yankees broadcasters were carried away with the Clemens announcement. It may have been a surprise, but it wasn't a big drama. I'll be happier if he beats the Red Sox in Fenway in early June!
I don't think that the Yankees with Clemens are as good as the Red Sox today. But, there is still a long season ahead. The Yankees pitching has been better lately, and their offense has been fantastic. They'll need even better pitching to get through the playoffs, but they are at least good enough now, with Clemens, to tighten up the race with the Red Sox.