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Will Roger or won’t Roger?

Looks like the Astros may be getting close to signing Roger Clemens for the rest of the year.

Astros owner Drayton McLane negotiated deep into Tuesday night with Roger Clemens’ agents, and he appeared on his way to finalize the deal in Houston early this morning.

“We worked on it last night, so that’s why I’m going to Houston right now,” McLane said as he boarded his private airplane in Temple on Wednesday at 7 a.m. “We’ve worked to try to get this thing done.”

McLane said it’s too early to say if a press conference will be called for today to announce the deal, but he remains optimistic.

“Just sit tight,” he said.

[…]

“We’ve been close, but we just haven’t gotten a deal done,” McLane said. “Hopefully we’ll get something done today.”

I’m actually a little surprised it’s taken this long, given that Clemens was free to talk to the Astros as of May 1. He has had other suitors, of course, so perhaps it just took awhile for him to make up his mind about where he’d prefer to play.

I was amused last night to hear John Kruk on SportsCenter bemoan the fact that Clemens would get to bypass spring training if he signed now. He seemed to think that there could be an epidemic of players retiring at the end of one year and unretiring during the next season, then signing midyear contracts like the one Clemens may ink. Let’s put aside the question of whether Roger Clemens or John “I ain’t an athlete, lady, I’m a baseball player” Kruk would be more in need of a team-sponsored conditioning regimen. The point of spring training is to get ready for the season. If Roger Clemens or Curt Schilling (whom Kruk and Harold Reynolds cited as someone who might try the nefarious Retirement Dodge to avoid playing pepper in Fort Lauderdale) or anyone else can show up on May 1 or June 1 in baseball shape and ready to go, who cares if they did their time in Florida? Spring training is a beloved tradition and a cherished ritual, but it’s also just a bunch of games that don’t count in the standings. What matters is those games that do count. How you get ready for them is not as important as being ready.

I’ll update this post when the next announcement comes down the pike.

UPDATE: Clemens signs. Thanks, Patrick!

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3 Comments

  1. Patrick says:

    It’s a done deal. Check astros.com…just posted.

  2. PDiddie says:

    To be able to pitch at Lexington — the Astros’ A franchise where his oldest son will be his short-term teammate — Round Rock (AA), and Corpus Christi (AAA) home games as “rehab” assignments, with his first start at Minute Maid Park on June 22nd, at a pro-rated annual contract of $22,000,022 …

    … in a deal that got hammered out in a manner of hours, allegedly …

    … sort of mitigates the grief of Old Number 22 having to speak to two empty chairs at his HOF induction a little over five years from now (something he claimed he didn’t want to do when he retired from the Yankees three years ago).

    OF COURSE it’s not about the money.

  3. Patrick says:

    I honestly don’t think it’s about the money as much as it is about Greg Maddux bearing down on his win total.

    But as far as the money goes, Clemens is a proud guy and he want to be paid premium money and he’s not about to sell his services on the cheap….and for that the Players Union is eternally grateful.