Plenty of buzz going around about Roger Clemens entertaining new teams such as the Red Sox, Yankees, or Rangers for the 2006 season. According to my Astros source, however, Clemens is again choosing between the Astros and retirement.
Houston Chronicle writer Brian McTaggart has confirmed that Brad Ausmus is very close to signing a two-year pact with the Astros. It’s well known that Clemens does not want to pitch for any other catcher, and the Red Sox tried in vain to lure Ausmus out East. Boston was never really an option for Ausmus, who wants to be a starter and considered only San Diego as an alternative.
According to my Astros source, look for Clemens to return to Houston and start taking advantage of some of his previously negotiated perks. In 2006, Clemens would skip more road trips to stay with his family. Look for Roger to pull a few strings and try to get the Astros to promote his son Koby to the Corpus Christi Hooks (Double A club located in Texas). Third baseman Koby has played just nine games at Class A with the Tri City ValleyCats in New York. In addition, Roger has a ten-year agreement to work for the Astros after retirement to work with the club’s young players.
After pitching in the World Baseball Classic, expect Clemens to take a few months off and return to the Astros around mid-June. His salary will certainly be less than $18MM, and the team will hopefully have acquired the improved offensive players Clemens desires.