Thursday, February 1, 2007

Clemens Cornered In Queens

Clemens spoke to the media following a speaking engagement at a St. John's banquet. At the top of the page is a link to the short Q&A with Clemens addressing "Decision 2007."

Roger did not say anything groundbreaking, although he did imply should one of the three teams in play lose one of its starters it may pique his interest. So, if Igawa spends the first two months of the season getting raked around the Yankee Stadium bleachers maybe he could be a sacrificial lamb, luring Clemens back to the Bronx.

From the article:
"I've got to tell you, you put your body through a lot of punishment and you come up one game short like we did last year, for me, it was a waste of time," Clemens said.

"When you don't have an opportunity to go to the playoffs and have a chance to win, it's a waste of time for me. At this stage and point in my life and career, that's all you're looking for. You want to have that feeling of being in the playoffs."

Clemens applauded the Yankees' signing of Andy Pettitte, and kidded the left-hander that he should have inked a three-year contract to ensure his presence for the opening of the new Yankee Stadium

"I'm nowhere near ready to play baseball at this time," Clemens said. "I'm in good shape, but I'm nowhere near the type of playing shape that I want to be in if I'm going to try and play another season. That would take another huge commitment on myself."

"I think all three clubs are planning on winning, with or without me," Clemens said. "But if somebody goes down and I'm feeling good, I don't know what my decision is going to be yet . . . I wish it was an easy decision. I'm failing at retirement," Clemens said. "Let's just face it; I'm failing miserably at it.

Clemens did allude to the idea of fading away into obscurity and watching games from the stands, but also expressed that same competitive fire when he spoke about pitching again. After all of the flirtation we've seen again this offseason, an abrupt retirement would be a million to one shot. But, you never know with these guys and if Clemens feels he is not up to the challenge - physically or mentally - he may do just that.

One thing is for sure, the Yankees have made the most public maneuvers to coax Clemens into a pinstripe return. Last year, the RedSox went as far as to offer Roger this package: come and go as you please, pitch only on Sundays, and earn a cool $1 million per start made. That's an absurd offer, and one that did not emerge until the 2006 offseason.

Who knows what the Astros but more specifically the BoSox may offer Clemens this year. With their starting rotation currently set, they seem unlikely to pursue Rocket with the same veracity. However, if in the first couple months the 2007 Boston bullpen performs as poorly as it appears on paper, there is always the possibility that Theo returns Papelbon to his fitting closer role - spurning doctor's orders - and thereby opens up a spot for Clemens.

No comments: