Sunday, May 06, 2007

So, Roger Clemens is a Yankee again, and all it took was $28 million of George Steinbrenner's dollars to do it (prorated for the portion of the season he actually plays, of course).

Earning 10 out of 10 for style points, Roger announced his return to the Yankee Stadium crowd during the 7th inning stretch, speaking from the owners box.

I'll admit to being a bit surprised. I really thought that Roger would be unable to resist the temptation of playing with his son (a minor leaguer in the Astros system) and the comfort of staying at home and sign with Houston, if he played at all. However, with the Astros playing poorly, it seems he wanted a better chance to win another championship.

Of course, if he wanted the best chance at another ring he would have come to Boston. The Red Sox have a better starting rotation, even without Clemens, and it will only get better when Jon Lester returns fully healthy. The bullpen is much better than the Yankees as well, as Okajima has been a revelation and Tavarez's return to the bullpen will only improve things there. Of course, the Sox offense can't match the Yankees, but pitching wins in October.

And, while Roger is still a good pitcher, he may not be at the level he has been in the past. He averaged less than six innings per start last season, and that won't help the already overtaxed Yankee bullpen. And he'll be pitching in the AL East, a much tougher division than the NL Central. He's also not going to have the luxury of facing the pitcher in the American League.

Does this make the Yankees better? Of course it does. You don't add a legend like Roger Clemens without improving your team. It hardly guarantees the division for the Yankees, though.

I can't wait to see what Fenway Park is like when Roger makes his first start.


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