Roger Clemens is 50 years old. He’s one of the best pitchers of all time, and wants to make a comeback. He’s signed to an independent league team, and now we get MLB Trade Rumors posts like this:
Astros owner Jim Crane told Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports in Houston that he is open to the idea of signing 50-year old Roger Clemens. The Astros have not been contacted about signing Clemens this year, but they’re preparing for the possibility, Berman reports. The Astros were in attendance at a recent workout to watch Clemens, who signed with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters this week.
Crane said he doesn’t aim to set up a publicity stunt for the sake of selling a few extra tickets. He’d seek approval from MLB before completing a deal with Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner. Clemens already has a personal services contract with the Astros, Berman notes.
So, what’s going on here? I think its pretty simple. The Astros are in last place. There is a month left in the baseball season. Clemens is throwing 87 mph, which isn’t going to entice anyone to put him on the mound for a full season. He can probably pitch a few innings without embarrassing himself, but not much else. This isn’t a ‘comeback’, its a brief sideshow.
I’d bet that farm that Roger Clemens is trying to push back the date which he will be voted on for the Hall of Fame. Players are eligible five years after their last MLB appearance. For Clemens, that was five years ago. However, he just emerged from a high-profile, media circus trial revolving around his testimony before Congress on use of steroids. We’ve seen voters do silly things and punish certain steroids users, and Roger Clemens would likely be the next one in their cross-hairs.
But if he pitches in one more MLB game, he pushes the ballot back to 2017, when some of the steroids stuff might have already blown over. Boom, first ballot, a plaque and a speech for Clemens.
And does anyone really blame him? Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Voters all of the sudden are getting selectively righteous, and his timing is bad. If he cares about his baseball legacy / place in history, it makes sense to have a little fun and pitch a few show games in September. Its not like he’s going to be worse than Dallas Keuchel, right?