- On Saturday's FOX telecast of the Yanks/M's game, one in which Chien-Ming Wang nearly through a perfect game, Tim McCarver and Joe Buck began to discuss "the Rocket" in the broadcast booth. Buck claimed he felt the Yankees were the front-runner, but technically it should be Boston since they are the odds on favorites to win it, albeit at such an early point in the year. McCarver's response: "If he really cared about the World Series, he'd have signed with a team by now." Who cares now, Tim?
- Boston was supposed to be the "storybook ending" on a team that, as of now, has a better chance of winning the World Series than the Yankees or Astros. Now, as my roommate put it, Clemens has "burned all his bridges" with Boston. Still, it's hard to argue that Boston didn't tare them down first. Clemens, a creature of motivation and work ethic, has strived since being let go by the Red Sox after the 1996 season. Dan Duquette's "twilight" comment is still very much in his mind, in my opinion. In my mind, it always came down to hometown Houston or the Yankees.
- Julian Tavarez, Red Sox pitcher: "We don't need Clemens." Be careful what you wish for, Julian.
- Don't underestimate the impact of two other Yankees not named Pettitte - Derek Jeter and Joe Torre. Jeter, the consummate professional, has stayed close with Clemens since his departure after the 2003 World Series. According to sources, they've been talking for weeks. The two, despite very different approaches and styles, have always had their minds on one thing only: World Series rings. As for Torre, Clemens has always looked at him as a sort of father figure that brought him the best years of his career - not statistically, but in terms of success and pride.
- How 'bout that announcement, huh? That's as close to the WWE as baseball will ever get. Michael Kay said it best, "Broadway's not too far from here". Any Sox fan, though, will likely vomit upon seeing that video. (Side-note: A buddy told me they actually stopped "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" a few chords in, with Sheppard calling the crowd to attention for an "important announcement". Not bad for drama.)
- Can they catch Boston? Maybe. With Clemens and phenom Phil Hughes both back in early June... probably. But I'd just as soon take a Wild Card spot for all I care. This team was built for the playoffs, and it's hard to imagine them going anywhere else.
The bottom line is this - the Yankees just spent $28 million for a 44-year old pitcher that is past his prime. Still, if past your prime meant a 2.30 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 113 innings, I'd probably take that over 95% of the pitchers "in" their prime.
Adding him to Wang, Pettitte, a healthy Moose, and a kid like Hughes not only makes that a formidable rotation for the regular seson and beyond - but also has correlative effects. Hughes, labeled as the "next" Rocket, will likely be hearing from Roger a lot over the next few months. As much as the 20-year old is already "ready" for prime time, he can only benefit from learning from Roger's work ethic, workout routines, mentality, and approach. It's a perfect marriage - one that will have benefits a decade from now.
As for the affect on the AL East, the Yankees once again proved their true colors. Boston, Toronto, and the like may be able to outsmart the Yankees with savvy decisions and smart trades, but they will never be able to compete with their spending. Dice-K bids are one and a million for Boston; a purchase like Rocket's is a common occurence in the Bronx.
If the Yankees struggle, they will buy their way out of it.
I look at Clemens not as an act of desperation, but as the first of many moves that will be made in the coming weeks that the Yankees were not happy about the first 40 days of the season. I'm sure the bullpen will be addressed, or perhaps completely re hauled altogether. A hitter (probably a 1B) may get added on top of that.
One thing is for sure, Roger's "homecoming" marks a return to the Yankees of old: Buying their way into contention, by any means necessary.