January 12, 2004
Clemens signs with Astros

I guess reports of his retirement were greatly exaggerated.

Astros owner Drayton McLane has done it again, persuading future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens to put off retirement for a year.

McLane acknowledged the deal, but he preferred to withhold further comment.

The deal will be announced at a press conference on the field today at 2 p.m.

"Out of fairness to everybody, let's just wait until we make the announcement," McLane said. "The fairest way is to wait until the announcement."

Asked if he was excited, McLane chuckled and decided to withhold comment until the official announcement. A month and a day after McLane signed Clemens' former Yankees teammate Andy Pettitte, the Astro further fortified their starting rotation.

McLane gave the hard-throwing righthander the parameters of a one-year contract offer on Dec. 23, and he worked out the rest of details on the deal with agents Randy and Alan Hendricks. After that, Clemens gave his decision to the Hendricks, who hammered out the deal.

"He told me he had decided to play and to get a deal done, so we did on Sunday," Randy Hendricks said. "I think a big factor was the outpouring of affection from the Astros fans all over Texas. His family is supportive and the Astros have been terrific throughout the process. Ultimately, the desire to help the hometown team was what made the decision (and Andy being here was extremely important as well)."

Clemens, 41, will now try to add to his 310 career victories. He will join Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and Wade Miller to throw at the National League Central champion Chicago Cubs' talented rotation of Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano.

To quote my mother, "This is so bogus". Actually, I'm not so bothered by it. If he wasn't going to pitch again in New York, then the Yankees didn't lose anything. I suppose I'd feel a little self-conscious after accepting all of those going-away presents, but that's just me. Or, as someone once sang, "How can we miss you if you won't go away?"

One minor correction to note. I'll just update the story's text myself:

Clemens will also be a major box office hit, which is why McLane doesn't mind raising the payroll despite claiming to lose $15 million last year, a claim he has made repeatedly and we've printed uncritically despite the fact that he's never opened his books or explained why he's such a bad businessman for not being able to turn a profit in that nice shiny new ballpark the taxpayers gave him for free. But hey, what do you expect?

There. Much better.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 12, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack

The thought of Roger Clemens having to bat must make some National League pitchers (especially the Mets) drool. Clemens may put fans in the seats at Minute Maid Park, but they can't ignore the rest of the rotation.

The Astros must be considered a legitimate contender in the National League.

Posted by: William Hughes on January 12, 2004 3:12 PM

I like your re-statement.

Posted by: Linkmeister on January 12, 2004 8:24 PM

Well, you can't say I didn't warn that this would happen...
Now we have Yankee fans demanding that Roger Clemens be barred from the Hall of Fame because of "character" and "integrity" issues because he changed his mind about retiring and joined the Astros.
This is just a taste of the Pandora's Box that has been opened with this banning Pete Rose nonsense. Heh.

Posted by: Mike Thomas on January 13, 2004 9:21 AM