I think Richard Justice is very likely correct in saying that Roger Clemens is not going to get traded - apparently, he feels so strongly about this that he's said it twice. I think the main reason why Clemens isn't going anywhere, other than the psychological reasons for Drayton McLane, is that I don't think any of the named contenders for his services have the kind of minor-league talent that the Stros would need to get in return. For sure the Yankees don't, and I'm pretty confident the Red Sox don't, either.
Teams that I think might have the talent to give up and which almost surely will find themselves wanting to acquire a frontline starting pitcher later this season are Baltimore, San Diego, and the White Sox. I don't think Roger Clemens would agree to a trade to any of those teams, however, unless McLane and Tim Purpura came to him on bended knee and said that the return package would set the Stros up for long-term contention beginning in the near future.
Let's also not forget that Clemens has a one-year contract. That means that he won't be a financial burden when the Astros begin the rebuilding project. They don't have to consider unloading him in order to have the cash to shop around for next season. Of course, by the same token that makes the prospect of acquiring Clemens more attractive to the smaller market contenders, since they wouldn't be on the hook for any length of time.
So as things stand now, I think a Clemens deal is at best a longshot. What I want to know is when the speculation will begin about Andy Pettite getting shopped around. Pettite is, in my mind, the most tradeable commodity the Astros have. He's a lefty with extensive postseason experience, and when healthy is at least a #2 starter. Certainly, he's someone you could roll out against a Tim Hudson or Curt Schilling and feel you've got an even shot at winning. He's also got two more years on his contract, which ought to incentivize Houston to look for a suitor. His health is of course a big risk, but the market looks to be pretty barren overall for starting hurlers, so you've got to figure someone will find that risk to be within his threshhold. The only question is when.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 05, 2005 to Baseball | TrackBack