Join Date: Jun 2006
OT: clemens back in pinstripes
cant say im really surprised. bad week for houston sports. bounced out the first round, clemens to nyc, and jvg retireing (well, that may be a good thing actually)
Clemens to make about $4.5 million per month
NEW YORK -- Roger Clemens returned to the New York Yankees, making a dramatic announcement to fans from the owner's box during Sunday's game against the Seattle Mariners.
Kruk On Clemens
This was an inevitable move for Roger Clemens. I've felt since spring training -- even after his politically correct answers to my questions -- that he was going to eventually sign with the Yankees despite his posturing with the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.
This was an easier decision for Roger because he has the opportunity to revive a great franchise that respects him as well as getting the chance to pitch with his old friend Andy Pettitte. For me, the reaction during the Mariners game when the team found out that Clemens was returning was priceless. This group of all-stars and fantastic ballplayers were like school children getting an early Christmas present when they heard the news.
That type of jolt can't be underestimated. The season is still young, and despite their pitching issues, the Yankees are still right in the mix for the division title. This is a team that needed good news after a bad start. They suffered through DL stint after DL stint for their pitching staff.
The return of Clemens will revitalize New York, but, in my estimation, it will also serve as a catalyst for the Red Sox. This is a squad that has seen the Yankees make big moves during the season before, so the Red Sox knew that Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner wouldn't stand pat -- especially with this team. Now they know that arguably the best right-hander in the history of the game will be pitching for New York for roughly 20 starts. Everyone involved now knows that every game has become that much more important.
This has been a great rivalry in the past, but look for every game this season whether against each other or not, to take on playoff magnification due to the presence of Clemens in New York's rotation. I now expect a run from the Yankees that leads to the division being decided very, very late in the season.
-- ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk
At the end of the seventh-inning stretch, Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard told fans to turn their attention to the box, where Clemens was standing with a microphone. As the video scoreboard in right-center showed Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner made the announcement himself.
"Well, they came and got me out of Texas and I can tell you it's a privilege to be back," Clemens said. "I'll be talking to y'all soon."
Clemens, who will turn 45 in August, agreed to a $28 million, one-year contract that will start when he is added to the major league roster, most likely in three to four weeks.
He begins with a minor league contract, and the deal will allow him to earn about $18.5 million. Clemens will start his workouts in Lexington, Ky., where his son Koby is playing in the Houston Astros' farm system.
"I'm about at playing weight right now," Clemens said. "I feel pretty good."
The Rocket pitched for New York from 1999-2003. He left the Yankees after the 2003 season, saying he was retiring, but after Andy Pettitte signed with the Astros, Clemens followed his friend to their hometown team.
Pettitte returned to the Yankees this year, and Clemens followed on Sunday.
"It's another challenge," said Clemens, eighth on the career list with 348 wins. "I expect to do things at the age of 44, 45 like I did at 25."
He chose New York over two of his other former teams, the Astros and Boston Red Sox.
"Let's face it -- these guys know how to win," Clemens said, adding that captain Derek Jeter pressed him to return as New York struggled early this season.
The Yankees have been beset by a rash of injuries to their pitching staff, contributing to a disappointing 14-15 start. But they beat the Mariners 5-0 on Sunday for their fifth victory in six games after losing eight of nine.
"Derek was on me once a week, especially when things weren't working out," Clemens said. "I see the problems with the pitching staff, too. The injuries are incredible."
Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, was in Boston talking to the Red Sox on Thursday when talks with the Yankees intensified. Negotiations were held by e-mail and cell phone. By Friday evening, a deal was in place.
The Red Sox issued a statement regarding their pursuit of Clemens.
"We met with Randy Hendricks earlier this week and, at Randy's request, made an offer to Roger Clemens," the statement read. "We offered a substantial salary and suggested, for health purposes, that Clemens return on approximately the same timetable as last year. Today we learned from Randy that Clemens has signed elsewhere."
Clemens traveled to New York on Sunday, got to LaGuardia Airport at about 1 p.m., then went to a Manhattan hotel and changed. He got to Yankee Stadium in the sixth inning, then made the big announcement, prompting fans to chant his name.
He hadn't even told Pettitte or Jeter that it was a done deal.
"Andy is going to be pretty upset with me," Clemens said.
Clemens will have the same travel privileges he had with Houston last year, when he sometimes skipped road trips if he wasn't scheduled to pitch. Instead, he spent the time at home with his family and worked with Astros minor leaguers.
Yankees manager Joe Torre ran that issue by several clubhouse leaders who signed off on the arrangement, general manager Brian Cashman said.
"It's time to go to work," Clemens said. "I've got a lot of work to do to get back up here."
Traded from Toronto to the Yankees before the 1999 season, Clemens helped New York win consecutive World Series titles in his first two seasons in the Bronx. He won the AL Cy Young Award with a 20-3 record in 2001 and was a member of pennant winners that year and in 2003.
"As I pledged just a few days ago, I will do everything within my power to support Brian Cashman, Joe Torre and this team as we fight to bring a 27th championship to New York," owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "Roger Clemens is a winner and a champion, and he is someone who can be counted on to help make this season one that all Yankees fans can be proud of. The sole mission of this organization is to win a world championship."