May 7, 2007


Clemens Returns, and So Does Hope for Yankees (TYLER KEPNER, 5/06/07, NY Times)

On the last weekend of the regular season, a report surfaced in The Los Angeles Times in which the former Yankee Jason Grimsley, in an affidavit, identified Clemens and Pettitte as players who had used performance-enhancing drugs. Soon after, the United States attorney Kevin V. Ryan said the report contained “significant inaccuracies” but did not elaborate.

Pettitte left the Astros to sign with the Yankees, and Clemens was also a free agent who had not committed to continuing his career. If he did, though, Clemens planned to start his season later, as he did in 2006, to keep his body fresh for the stretch drive.

Cashman had a standing offer to Clemens of $25.5 million, from a meeting with Hendricks in March. The Yankees’ recent urgency gave Clemens leverage in negotiations and essentially cost the Yankees an extra $2.5 million.

Privately, the Yankees had been determined since last winter not to be outbid for Clemens, who made a prorated portion of $22 million with the Astros last year. His current annual salary is the highest in baseball.

The Yankees expected the Red Sox to make a substantial offer, and while they believe the Red Sox did that, an official directly involved in the talks said that Boston offered Clemens $10 million less than the Yankees, and the chance to be part of a five- or six-man rotation, depending on his preference. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to violate tampering rules.

The Sox didn't just offer $10 million less but as the 6th man idea and not adding him until July suggests, were looking to baby him because of his age and post-steroidal physical conditioning questions.

How Clemens landed in the Bronx (Buster Olney, 5/06/07, ESPN The Magazine)

The Yankees' first trial balloon in March: $25.5 million. Clemens also met with owner George Steinbrenner, who made a personal plea to the pitcher, reiterating how much he wanted Clemens to come back.

Clemens and Hendricks made it clear to everyone, even into late April, that he wouldn't make his decision until late May. But as Mike Mussina got hurt and then Carl Pavano, the Yankees felt they could and should become more aggressive. After landing in Texas, Cashman wanted to set up a meeting with Hendricks -- only to learn, to his horror, that the agent was meeting with the Red Sox, which the agent confirmed to Cashman with a text message on May 1. Hours later, Phil Hughes hurt his hamstring. The Yankees' need for pitching was acute.

Cashman and Hendricks e-mailed back and forth on Tuesday and Wednesday, kicking around the idea of meeting during the day Thursday in Houston, but there was a terrible storm in Arlington that forced the postponement of the game. The Yankees and Rangers were scheduled for a doubleheader Thursday, and Cashman felt that if he was away from the team during the game, then the media might get an inkling of how he was trying to make an aggressive move on Clemens. He had used the same approach in signing Johnny Damon: Make a very aggressive offer quickly and force a decision.

So Hendricks and Cashman spoke on Thursday night, and the financial parameters were laid out: Clemens would cost a prorated salary of $28 million. Hendricks got off the phone and called Clemens, and told him that the time was nearing for the pitcher to make a decision, and that if he was going to go to the Yankees, now was the time. "Let's do it," Clemens responded.

Cashman spoke with Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine on Thursday night, laying out what the cost would be -- including salary and luxury tax, about $6.5 million per month to the Yankees.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2007 7:55 AM

Will he get the same travel arrangement he had with the Astros?

With Houston, he basically only had to show up for road games on the days he was scheduled to pitch.

Posted by: Kevin Whited at May 7, 2007 10:39 AM

I'm not so sure about the "post" in post-steroidal. I suspect that Clemens has adopted the ruse of avoiding signing before the season so he can use March and April to flush traces of steroids from his system. He probably uses a couple of steroid cycles during the November-February window to add bulk, which he then depletes with his May-October schedule during which his plasma levels reflect the athletically-inadequate hormonal content of a normal man in his mid-forties.

Roger Clemens is cheating. The ever-weak Selig et al. know this very well; thus, "All Hail Roger Clemens."

Posted by: Palmcroft at May 7, 2007 12:45 PM

Kevin - Yes. He only has to appear for his games, the rest of the time he can show up whenever he feels like it.

Posted by: pj at May 7, 2007 12:55 PM

Silly Palmcroft. Roger's smart (and rich) enough to only be using HGH which means he can't possibly be caught. If he were using testable steroids there's no way he'd be able to maintain his strength for even the half-seasons he's been playing lately.

Posted by: b at May 7, 2007 2:51 PM

b, Bonds seems to be doing OK with the freakish muscle-mass he's been allowed to grandfather-in...

Posted by: Palmcroft at May 9, 2007 7:57 AM