Today, the Yankees signed Roger Clemens. But is it enough?
The Rocket’s signing touched off a flurry of posting on my fantasy baseball bulletin board. Here’s what Dan, a Red Sox fan, had to say about it:
You know what? Bring it. NY’s pitching is TERRIBLE. After Wang and Pettite–both above average pitchers, admittedly–they have nothing. Mussina is clearly showing his age, especially with an 85mph fastball. Their experimentation with rookie pithers not named Philip Hughes has been a complete disaster so far, so it doesn’t surprise me at all Steinbrenner opened the wallet and brought Clemens in again.
Even with Clemens, there is no comparision between the Red Sox pitching staff and NY’s. NY’s woes go deeper than the starting 5, as we all know, right into the bulpen. With no reliable relief out there (what happened to Scott Proctor?) except for Rivera, no lead is safe for NY.
I don’t think Roger will put up a sub-3 ERA like he did his last two seasons in Houston, especially not in the AL East.
Is Dan right? Is Clemens just a band-aid applied to a Yankees pitching staff that is bleeding profusely?
There are two ways to look at this signing. There’s the glass is half empty view, which says that Clemens is a 45 year-old pitcher who is too old to provide the on-field leadership the Yankees need. There’s no way he’ll offer the same front end dominance that Beckett and Schilling give Boston, or that Holliday gives Toronto. He can’t change the fact that Wang isn’t a strikeout pitcher, that Pavano is hopelessly injured, that Mussina has lost 5 mph off his fastball, or that Philip Hughes is just a kid. He’s just not enough.
Then there’s the glass is half full view, which says the Yankees staff doesn’t have to be dominant, just good enough to give the Yankees offense a chance to win games. And this Yankees staff, with a healthy Wang, Mussina, Petitte, Hughes and now Clemens, is more than good enough. The key will be staying healthy the rest of the way, but if they do, the Yankees will have a fair chance at catching the Sox.
Which view is the correct one? Of course nobody knows. But if you’re a Yankees fan, you’ve got to be feeling a little more optimistic tonight than you did this morning.