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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Not So Fast

Yesterday afternoon Newsday reported that the Astros had signed Roger Clemens to a deal that would pay him $3.5 per month for the remainder of the season. Seemingly 15 minutes later that rumor was denied by both the Astros organization and Clemens' agents.

My guess, along with most everybody else's, is that Clemens will indeed return to the Astros but since the deal has not been finalized, the organization is not reporting the news. Within the past few weeks it had been seeming more and more likely that The Rocket was choosing between Houston and Boston if he decided to return. Most people, myself included, would agree that the chances of Clemens coming back to Houston were far greater than the two alternatives. Without jumping to conclusions, it appears we were right.

So assuming the rumors are true, the question now becomes, "How much will Roger help the Astros?" After a good April, the Astros have slipped in the month of May. They currently sit one game above .500 and 3rd place in the division - 6.5 games behind front runner St Louis.(The only team in the division to outscore its opponents this season) It's tough to imagine, all other things equal, that Roger Clemens would be worth 6-7 wins to a team above a replacement players in what will likely be just over 100 games. He did post an 8.9 WARP last year, but that was in 162 games and it's hardly likely he comes close to repeating his 1.87 ERA of that season.

Roger's presence probably won't help the Astros win the Central, but he could make them one of the top Wild Card contenders in what is a weak National League this year.

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