You have probably read by now that Roger Clemens’s massive 2007 salary is not guaranteed, and the Yankees still have the option of walking away. Brian Cashman says he’s not thinking about it right now, but surely the idea has crossed his mind.
The Rocket hopes to overcome his "fatigued groin" and make his season debut on Saturday against the Bucs. That injury offers all kinds of dirty jokes but I’ll resist for now. Back to the situation at hand – should the Yanks be backing out of this while they still can?
The value of a player certainly hinges on his ability to push a team into a playoff berth. The $4.6MM a month for Clemens can almost be justified if it’s getting the Yanks over the hump. At fourth place and 12.5 games behind the Yankees, a division title is out. They’re seven games out of the wild card, but need to leapfrog seven teams. Baseball Prospectus and PECOTA think the Yankees still have a 22% chance of making the playoffs.
Pitching, particularly starting pitching, remains a clear need. If Clemens gives them a 3.80 ERA and Mussina rights the ship, they’ll have four solid starters. Phil Hughes can give a boost in August. On the offensive side, Cano, Damon, and Abreu have all been underachieving. If a few of those guys can pick it up, the offense could rival the Red Sox for the balance of the season.
There is definitely enough promise with this club to stick with the Clemens plan.