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Free Agent Profile: Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens

The question on Roger Clemens’s mind right now is not which team he would prefer to play for in 2007, but rather if he would like to return for one more season. 2006 brought plenty of controversy to Clemens’ life, first because of his late-return due to indecision about retiring or coming back, and later due accusations that Clemens used steroids or HGH. Those allegations seem to have subsided and Clemens can now make his decision based solely on how he feels physically and mentally, neither of which can be too bad if you go just by his 2006 numbers. The 44-year-old Clemens had yet another solid year for the Astros, though it was shortened due to his May 1 signing and delayed workouts. Here are his stats for 2006…

  • Record: 7-6
  • ERA: 2.30 — terrific
  • WHIP: 1.04 — amazing
  • BA Against: .216 — great
  • Games: 19 (19 starts) — didn’t pitch until late-June
  • Innings Pitched: 113.1
  • Hits: 89
  • Runs: 34 (29 earned)
  • Walks: 29 — excellent for 113.1 innings
  • Strikeouts: 102
  • Homeruns Allowed: 7 — amazing

Roger Clemens had a phenomenal year for the Astros, which means he can still pitch and be the Rocket. There’s no physical issues with Clemens — he has his velocity, his control, and his stuff — the only question therefore is: is Clemens mentally ready for another year?

While you ponder that, here are the Rocket’s situational numbers for this year…

  • Bases Empty — Opponents BA: .236
  • Runners On — Opponents BA: .183 — WOW
  • RISP — Opponents BA: .143 — RIDICULOUS
  • RISP w/2 outs — Opponents BA: .133 — Are you kidding me?
  • Bases Loaded — Opponents BA: .200

Roger Clemens was absolutely unhittable with runners on-base this season which proves not only that he’s physically ready to pitch, but also that he’s mentally determined to win. Pitching out of jams isn’t easy, and Clemens is one of the few guys in baseball who can do it perfectly. Being a veteran helps in this situation, and Clemens certainly has that working for him, but most of this comes from the Rocket’s stuff, which strangely hasn’t declined and doesn’t look like it will for awhile. So why waste it and sit in a lawnchair?

For some more evidence that Clemens is still great, here are his split stats…

  • Vs. Left-handed hitters: .254
  • Vs. Right-handed hitters: .185 — might as well just stay in the dugout
  • Home (Minute Maid Park): .210
  • Away: .223
  • Day Games: .165 — 1.16ERA/0.77WHIP in 5 starts…WOW
  • Night Games: .234

You get the picture — Clemens is still one of the best pitchers in baseball. That said, he’s hinting at retirement. To me, that seems like a waste of brilliant ability and the potential to help a contender become World-class, but ultimately, it’s Clemens’ decision whether to return for 2007 or not. He’ll have plenty of suitors, it’s just a matter of whether Rocket feels has any fuel left.

Is a Bronx return in Roger Clemens’ future?

There’s one thing about Roger Clemens I’m fairly confident of: if he pitches in 2007, it’ll be for a team he’s pitched for before. That eliminates all but 3 teams, the Astros, Red Sox, and Yankees. Houston is attractive to the Rocket because his son Koby is in the Astros minor league system and it would allow them to work out together. A return to Boston would make Red Sox Nation go wild and be a great story. A return to New York would be just as great a story and would bolster the Yankees’ pitching staff considerably. And then there’s the option of retiring, which Clemens seems to find increasingly attractive each year. Can he be convinced to pitch another year?

My prediction: Clemens will call it a career. He has a rock-solid case for the Hall of Fame and has given considerable efforts every year he has pitched. The Rocket has plenty of fuel left, but the option of golfing everyday and relaxing in a lawnchair for hours will be too good to pass up this offseason.

Stats: 162 games watched. Weekly workouts with Koby. A score well-over-par each time he hits the golf course. +/- 4604 articles about why Clemens should have come back and others honoring his career. For the un-statistcally-inclined, 4604 is Clemens’ career strikeout total.

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Tomorrow’s Profile: Gary Matthews Jr.

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Trivia!

Yesterday’s question (see — Free Agent Profile: JD Drew) was…

What is J.D. Drew’s full name?

The correct answer…

David Jonathan Drew. He is technically D.J. Drew, but apparently being a disc jockey is not in JD’s plans.

Today’s question is…

In 2004, Roger Clemens became the third pitcher in MLB history to start an All-Star game for both the AL and NL (different years, of course). Can you name the other two?

Hint: One is still pitching for one of the teams Clemens pitched for in his career

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