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   1. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 04:03 AM (#2356800)
Well, watching the Sox beat a Yankee team with Clemens will be that much more satisfying that watching them beat one without him.

Also much more difficult, of course.
   2. Xander Posted: May 07, 2007 at 04:20 AM (#2356806)
It's not sour grapes for me. Take em. I wouldn't trade him for Devern Hansack.
   3. 1k5v3L Posted: May 07, 2007 at 04:26 AM (#2356811)
I wouldn't trade him for Devern Hansack.


Neither would the Yankees, I suppose. Me, I wouldn't trade Devern's Nutsack for him.

Reading kevin's and Darren's posts on BTF tonight has been worth the price of admission.
   4. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 04:44 AM (#2356816)
"The Red Sox offered Roger Clemens an $18 million, one-year deal and wanted him to begin pitching in late June, a baseball source said yesterday.

"Clemens' agent took the offer to the future Hall of Fame pitcher, who instead decided to accept a contract offer worth an estimated $28 million per year from the Yankees. Prorated, the deal will pay him about $18.5 million. Meanwhile, depending upon when he started, the Sox deal would be worth around $10 million prorated.

"Clemens said yesterday he plans to be pitching by the end of this month or early June, at least three weeks earlier than the Red Sox wanted him to start due to health concerns they had."

Seems like the Sox either weren't interested, or didn't have the resources. Or some combination of the two.

By the way, in a more direct response to Darren's post: Clemens has never been a personal favorite, not even back in the mid-eighties. I find him very, very easy to root against.
   5. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:29 AM (#2356827)
gee, wait, the red sox don't have the resources? huh. that's not what i've been hearing from a certain ####### yankee fan who doesn't seem to understand that his team has the cash to buy every pony they desire.
   6. plink Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:32 AM (#2356830)
Always liked Clemens, but never a favorite. Not annoyed or happy that he went to the Yankees, the way I'm not annoyed or happy whenever a free agent takes a lot of money to play for the Yanks. It definitely raises the stakes, though (see #1).
   7. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:37 AM (#2356836)
Reading kevin's and Darren's posts on BTF tonight has been worth the price of admission.

Which is your internet bill?
   8. John S Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:38 AM (#2356837)
"Clemens' agent took the offer to the future Hall of Fame pitcher, who instead decided to accept a contract offer worth an estimated $28 million per year from the Yankees. Prorated, the deal will pay him about $18.5 million. Meanwhile, depending upon when he started, the Sox deal would be worth around $10 million prorated.


Maybe Theo was still celebrating his bargaining victory over Boras with Matsuzaka. I don't think it's a question that the Red Sox have the resources to "pony up" another 10 million, which would be what like 6 to 8 prorated. They just didn't have either a) the opportunity or b) the desire. One man's 28 million dollar fix is another's luxury. But I think the way that they outbid everyone by *millions* of dollars to speak to Matsuzaka shows they absolutely are capable, when they want to.
   9. tjm1 Posted: May 07, 2007 at 08:53 AM (#2356864)
But I think the way that they outbid everyone by *millions* of dollars to speak to Matsuzaka shows they absolutely are capable, when they want to.


1) The Red Sox read the situation for Matsuzaka well. They ended up spending about the same as they would have for a comparable free agent player. They outbid everyone by millions only on the rights acquisition. Also, remember, that was a six year fix, not a one year fix.

2) Just because they had the resources to do that once doesn't mean they can do it for every player that comes along. They already spent that money.

Now, that all said, John Henry is fabulously wealthy, and certainly could afford to lose money on the team this year. The question of what they can afford isn't really a clear one. Can they afford it without losing money this season? Can they afford it without losing money, taking into account that another championship will raise revenues and team value into the future?

The point is, though, that the Sox weakest starter is Julian Tavarez. He's been poor, but not atrocious, and help is on the way with Lester, plus Pauley, Hansack and Gabbard have all pitched well in Pawtucket if there's a need for more depth. The Yankees are much more desperate for pitching help.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: May 07, 2007 at 01:41 PM (#2356979)
The point is, though, that the Sox weakest starter is Julian Tavarez. He's been poor, but not atrocious, and help is on the way with Lester, plus Pauley, Hansack and Gabbard have all pitched well in Pawtucket if there's a need for more depth. The Yankees are much more desperate for pitching help.


That's the key. Sure, the Sox could use Clemens if he resembles the pitcher he's been the last three years. But they don't need him the way most other clubs would.

Overall, I'm glad they didn't get him. Should Lester return to the rotation and pitch well, I would hate like hell to see my favorite team possibly replace Tim Wakefield, the most likable, unselfish Red Sox of my lifetime and a guy who has made no secret of his genuine love for being a member of the ballclub, in the rotation with a guy who is often an insufferable ass.
   11. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 07, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2356994)
Overall, I'm glad they didn't get him. Should Lester return to the rotation and pitch well, I would hate like hell to see my favorite team possibly replace Tim Wakefield, the most likable, unselfish Red Sox of my lifetime and a guy who has made no secret of his genuine love for being a member of the ballclub, in the rotation with a guy who is often an insufferable ass.

Clemens would have replaced Tavarez.

To tell you the truth, Tavarez hasn't pitched well, but he hasn't done anything INCREDIBLY STUPID (except for punching Gathright) or said anything ridiculous moronic. He's getting along with his teammates, especially Manny and Dice-K.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: May 07, 2007 at 01:54 PM (#2357003)
Clemens would have replaced Tavarez.


That's why I said should Lester return to the rotation and pitch well. Timmy's been great so far, but how he's looking by mid-June (the Sox weren't looking at Roger for an early June return) is anyone's guess. Also, Wakefield's experience in the bullpen and reputation as a team guy make him an easy guy to shift into the pen.
   13. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 01:55 PM (#2357005)
This is probably simplifying things, but the Sox, having spent a lot of money to get Matsuzaka, were both less desperate to get Clemens and less flush with the cash it took to sign him. The Yankees were obviously in the opposite situation. Having a good 26-year-old starter at a decent salary (given the market) for the next six years seems like the better choice, if it was, in fact a choice. Time will tell, anyway.
   14. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: May 07, 2007 at 02:15 PM (#2357025)
Overall, I'm glad they didn't get him. Should Lester return to the rotation and pitch well, I would hate like hell to see my favorite team possibly replace Tim Wakefield, the most likable, unselfish Red Sox of my lifetime and a guy who has made no secret of his genuine love for being a member of the ballclub, in the rotation with a guy who is often an insufferable ass.

Clemens would have replaced Tavarez.


He had Lester replacing Tavarez.

I don't really care about losing Clemens. He will be lucky to go 6IP/start and he will not take much pressure off of the bullpen. I glanced at his 2003 gamelog and he seemed to feast on the weak teams and get hit by good lineups. The Red Sox crushed him that year.

Now, that all said, John Henry is fabulously wealthy, and certainly could afford to lose money on the team this year.

Why do people always say this? The team is owned by an LLP. The NYT owns 17%, plus Lucchino has a stake, Werner and a few others. I don't think JWH has the power to blow $10 million because it doesn't mean that much to his bank account.
   15. The Ghost of Archi Cianfrocco Posted: May 07, 2007 at 02:37 PM (#2357050)
As soon as NY's free-fall started I was resigned to the fact Clemens would sign with them. I believe history has shown how much wants/needs to be seen as a savior and super-hero. Him coming to Boston could have closed a loop on his career nicely and potentially been a better story, but he wouldn't be THE focus. NY gives him all the ingredients his ego and personality need to feel "respected" and "wanted." I honestly don't believe the money has as much to do with those psychological conditions.

As a baseball fan who grew up a Red Sox fan I will say that the story of Roger Clemens now makes me little sick to my stomach. If you watched him pitch you can understand the ankle-grabbing teams did but the way the last few years have played out stink. The drama, the head games and the ego really stink.
   16. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2357082)
It's not sour grapes for me. Take em. I wouldn't trade him for Devern Hansack.
Even if I choose to accept the braggadoccio - you'd trade Matt DeSalvo or Darrell Rasner for him, right? The back of the Yankees rotation is killing htem this year. Just an upgrade to average would add a couple wins to their projection, and Clemens is surely better than average.

I'm oddly confident in the Red Sox' ability to beat up the newly-minted 5 IP Roger, but he'll beat the Devil Rays in a way that the revolving AAAA door won't.
   17. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2357151)
There are two issues here, as MCoA rightly points out: how much Clemens would have been worth to the Red Sox, and how much he is worth to the Yankees.

As we saw last year with Damon, these questions are closely intertwined. Letting Damon go made some sense for the Sox, but signing Damon also made a ton of sense for the Yankees. Combined with Crisp's injury, that spelled disaster for Boston.

The situation this year may not be as dire. And, obviously, the Sox can't go all-out just to spite the Yankees (28m already seems like more than the Sox could have paid). But that doesn't change the fact that signing Clemens almost certainly makes the Yankees better. And perhaps significantly better.
   18. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 04:12 PM (#2357174)
Interesting details from Buster Olney, who has some good sources in the Yankee organization:

"And when the Yankees traded Randy Johnson to the Diamondbacks, they felt as if they were setting themselves up in two ways to lure Clemens: First, by clearing Johnson's $16 million salary from their books, they would have the cash to bid aggressively on Clemens, and secondly, they would no longer have second thoughts about giving Clemens special treatment, like leaving the team on days between his starts. They would not have wanted to create that precedent if Johnson was still on the team."

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=olney_buster&id=2862261
   19. tfbg9 Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2357220)
It was incredibly tough

Spoiled American!
   20. The Original SJ Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2357234)
USA Today has the story on the negotiations. Cashman talked with the agents on Monday, the 30th to say they would be ready when Roger is. No offer was made.

Clemens people went to Boston and offered 18 mil and said they wanted him to start in late June. The next day, Clemens people offered the Yanks his immediate services at 28 mil. Once the boss okayed it, it was down.

USA Today claimed the Red Sox were "shocked there was no counter offer." If that is true, I would assume the Sox were willing to go beyond 18 million. How far beyond it, we don't know.
   21. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:21 PM (#2357243)
There do seem to be parallels with the Damon negotiations. Sox start out low, willing to go higher; Yanks start out high, hoping to force a quick response. I suspect that Clemens was more inclined to go to the Yanks anyway, and I'd have been fairly surprised if the Sox could have topped 28 million-- that initial 18m offer doesn't seem all that aggressive.
   22. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:22 PM (#2357246)
Clemens people went to Boston and offered 18 mil and said they wanted him to start in late June. The next day, Clemens people offered the Yanks his immediate services at 28 mil. Once the boss okayed it, it was down.

WTF? Why were we not good enough for his "immediate services"?

Because it would have been nice to have Clemens start 2 weeks from now. Because that means only 3 more Tavarez starts.
   23. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2357248)
It was 18m pro-rated, which isn't that much (less than he got last year, right?).

28m makes him the highest-paid player in all respects save total contractual value, I should think. Even A-Rod's contract tops out at about 27m/yr, doesn't it?

Olney says Clemens will be making about 6.5m/month.
   24. PJ Martinez Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:28 PM (#2357250)
"Why were we not good enough for his 'immediate services'?"

Because he really wanted to play for Joe and George again?
   25. The Original SJ Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:31 PM (#2357253)
WTF? Why were we not good enough for his "immediate services"?

Both Boston and Houston said they wanted him to start in late June.

USA Today will be the highest paid player in baseball, at over 150k per day.
   26. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 07, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2357261)
WTF? Why were we not good enough for his "immediate services"?


I think you may be confused by #23's usage of "they," meaning it was the Sox (not Clemen's agents) that wanted him to start in late June.

We offered a substantial salary and suggested, for health purposes, that Clemens return on approximately the same timetable as last year.


Is the official statement I found from the Sox on USA Today. I can certainly understand their logic in wanting to wait; not only could Clemens use that much more time getting into game shape, his arm would be that much more fresh come playoff time.
   27. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 07, 2007 at 06:12 PM (#2357294)
The Red Sox offered Clemens less than he earned in Houston and resisted the suggestion that he could start earlier this year. Doesn't look like a competitive offer. Simple as that.

Maybe Boston just didn't see the need, given how their pitching has started out the season, but it'd be more accurate to say they elected to pass.
   28. Toby Posted: May 07, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2357329)
Maybe New York just saw the need, given how their pitching has started out the season, but it'd be more accurate to say they elected to pay through the a$$.
   29. karlmagnus Posted: May 07, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2357435)
Henry isn't as fabulously wealthy as he used to be:

http://www.thestreet.com/_tsccom/funds/followmoney/10355006.html

That's what you get for selling the team to a hedge fund guy. At least the world got No No Nanette last time a Sox owner ran out of money.
   30. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 07, 2007 at 08:54 PM (#2357542)
Maybe New York just saw the need, given how their pitching has started out the season, but it'd be more accurate to say they elected to pay through the a$$.


Considering the difference between their first offer and the Red Sox's first offer, it's almost as if they Yankees outbided themselves, like the Sox did in the silent bidding war for Daisuke.
   31. Kyle S Posted: May 07, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2357589)
One minor point: just because the Sox chose not to offer as much as the Yankees offered does not mean they couldn't afford to pay what the Yankees paid. John Henry could afford to drop $10k on a McDonald's hamburger, but his unwillingness to do that (even when hungry) is not proof positive that he's poor.
   32. villageidiom Posted: May 08, 2007 at 04:26 PM (#2358393)
I've been thinking... Clemens' performance in Houston borders on super-human. Not to diminish what he's done before, but Clemens' first year in Houston he had an ERA+ of 145, the best he'd had since Toronto. His next two years he posted 221 and 197, respectively, ranking 2nd and 4th among the seasonal ERA+s of his career, and among the best pitching performances of those years.

The thing is... When you look at his seasonal ERA+ for his career, there's a general pattern with two huge outliers. The outliers are his two years in Toronto, and his three years in Houston. Otherwise his career ERA+ follows somewhat of an arc, peaking at 1989-90 and slowly declining thereafter. The Toronto outlier failed to stick; his time in NY follows the general pattern of his years in Boston, continuing the slow decline. It's nowhere near the "twilight of his career" - the pattern suggests he would have been around a 140 ERA+ had he stayed in Boston in 1997 - but it's there, and it's real.

So, then, I guess the question we need to ask is which Roger Clemens will show up in 2007. Will it be the Clemens of 2004-06, he of the excellent ERA+? Or will it be the Clemens on the career pattern, the one whose Toronto excellence regressed upon leaving for NY? If it's the former, it's a good move for the Yankees (setting aside the financial aspect). If it's the latter, that could be bad news: the slow (but increasing) decline had Clemens around a 105 ERA+ four years ago. It should put him around an 80-85 ERA+ in 2007.

Some had argued that, with the move to Toronto, Clemens had extra motivation to prove he could dominate; the theory was that that extra motivation brought him to the high peak, which faded after he'd made his point. If that theory is true - and the data does not refute it - I guess we have to ask whether there was any extra motivation in Houston that will also fade. If Clemens is motivated by chasing the record books, he'll continue to be motivated in New York. If he was motivated by being close to home and not wanting to disappoint his home town... well, that's over with. If he was motivated by the quest to win one more championship - and to be the difference-maker in that quest - then he's got plenty of motivation in NY. But that motivation didn't appear in his prior stint in NY, with ERA+ closer to Matt Clement 2002-05 than Roger Clemens 2004-06.

Frankly, I don't know. None of us are in his head, and none of us know what motivates him to perform. We do know that Toronto and Houston are outliers from his career progression, but we don't know if they're projectable or translatable. Players change, and can achieve new, sustainable levels of performance. I just don't know how much of that is true with Roger Clemens.

I gotta say, though, I'm really hoping for that 80-85 ERA+.
   33. Fat Al Posted: May 08, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2358598)
Henry is the majority stakeholder. He can make any decision he wants because he holds more than 51% of the cards.

That being said, I'm sure he makes decisions by consensus and utilizes the expertise of his colleagues to the fullest. He's not a spoiled inheritor like Steinbrenner, who runs roughshod over everybody.


Not for nothing, but is your point really that John Henry is a cuddly hedge fund manager who wouldn't do anything so sinister as spend a lot of money on ballplayers for his baseball team? He also wouldn't be so crass and disloyal as to buy and flip an expansion franchise so that his buddy could award him the rights to the Red Sox as part of the contraction scheme? Never.

George Steinbrenner is nobody's idea of perfection, but if John Henry and Tom Werner are your vision of benevolent souls, it may be time to take the blinders off.
   34. villageidiom Posted: May 08, 2007 at 08:10 PM (#2358620)
Wow, that was quite a leap for a fat man.

I think his point was that Henry has the power to make all the decisions, but instead relies on the people he's hired to do it. Steinbrenner, less so.
   35. Fat Al Posted: May 08, 2007 at 08:26 PM (#2358633)
What I was referring to was Kevin's comment that John Henry is "not a spoiled inheritor like Steinbrenner," the clear implication of which is that Henry has more "character" or something than Steinbrenner, or that he earned something that Steinbrenner did not. Lord knows, I've spent more of the last 30 years criticizing Steinbrenner than Kevin has, but the idea that the likes of John Henry (who neither I nor -- I assume -- Kevin knows personally) is of some greater moral standing, or even that he has better business management credentials, seems crazy to me.

The guy is a hedge fund manager who has made himself rich, and has bought and maneuvered his way into the ownership of two major league franchises in the last ten years. If the shoe were on the other foot, he would be accused of being a carpetbagging opportunist, at best, and Steinbrenner would be a family businessman who saved a failing industrial company and went on to parlay a relatively small investment in a struggling formerly-great franchise into full ownership of a billion-dollar juggernaut. Just calling 'em like I see 'em.
   36. PJ Martinez Posted: May 08, 2007 at 08:50 PM (#2358651)
Well, John Henry has never been convicted of a felony. So, actually, the idea that Henry has more "character" and is of "greater moral standing" seems entirely fair.
   37. Fat Al Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2358658)
Whatever gets you through the night.
   38. PJ Martinez Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2358667)
The relative moral worth of John Henry and George Steinbrenner has very little-- nothing, really-- to do with how I sleep at night or at any other time. I was just pointing out a fact, and following that up with what strikes me as a relatively uncontroversial value judgment.
   39. The Original SJ Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2358679)
Considering the difference between their first offer and the Red Sox's first offer, it's almost as if they Yankees outbided themselves, like the Sox did in the silent bidding war for Daisuke.

The Yanks didn't bid, Clemens came to them with the terms, and the Yanks said yes.
   40. The Original SJ Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2358702)
And while he may have had success with the Yankees, it shouldn't be forgotten that he also ran his father's shipbuilding business into the ground.

Don't you think "may have had success" with the Yankees is an understatemend?

He bought for 10 million, and over the same time period, it is now worth about 1.2 billion.
   41. bunyon Posted: May 08, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2358706)
A character match between Henry and Steinbrenner is like a game between the Royals and Pirates.
   42. Fat Al Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:03 PM (#2358721)
Is Gorzellany pitching?
   43. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:17 PM (#2358733)
And while he may have had success with the Yankees, it shouldn't be forgotten that he also ran his father's shipbuilding business into the ground.

Not really true. Steinbrenner's company lasted longer than most American shipping companies. The whole industry tanked, but his was 1 of the last to go under, and I believe George's stake may have been sold by the time it was all over.

Can you name another owner that lost money after buying a baseball team? He rode the wave, like very other owner.

CBS lost money when they owned the Yanks, and I believe more recently Fox sold the Dodgers for less than they paid. There are other examples.
   44. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2358739)
I'm pretty sure my parent company lost money with the Angels.
   45. Josh Posted: May 08, 2007 at 10:30 PM (#2358749)
Stein didn't just ride the wave, he was blowing on the water to make it go.
   46. Darren Posted: May 09, 2007 at 02:48 AM (#2359021)
Getting back to VI's post 38, I think you can attribute a great deal of those two "huge outliers" to defense. At the end of his time in Boston, Clemens was playing in front of just terrible defenses, so he labored over every batter going for the K but settling for a walk rather than letting a good hitter beat him. When he moved to Toronto, he played in front of a good defense, which not only meant more balls turned to outs, but also seemed to embolden Clemens to go after hitters more. (He also started a new conditioning program at this time which he has said helped a lot).

The pattern repeated itself even more strongly in NY (lousy defense) and Houston (great, great, great defense). Here's fun exercise to illustrate this point. Which of the following seasons came in NY and which came in Houston:

211 IP, 11 HR, 62 BB, 185 K
220 IP, 19 HR, 72 BB, 213 K
214 IP, 15 HR, 79 BB, 218 K
211 IP, 24 HR, 58 BB, 190 K

The first and third are those monster years in Houston while the 2nd and 4th are his slow decline in NY. So if we're wondering what he'll do in NY, based on this pattern, it would look like he'll go back to having high-3.00s, low 4.00s ERA.
   47. tfbg9 Posted: May 09, 2007 at 03:23 AM (#2359046)
He bought for 10 million

With Daddy's scratcharoonis dontcha know.
   48. villageidiom Posted: May 09, 2007 at 12:53 PM (#2359212)
So if we're wondering what he'll do in NY, based on this pattern, it would look like he'll go back to having high-3.00s, low 4.00s ERA.


That is, if he doesn't decline further from where he was four years ago.

Let me see if I can graphically show it. Wish me luck.

ERA+
210                     x                                                     
200                                                                           
190                                                                           
180                           x     x                                        
170         x                                                                 
160                        x                                                  
150            x                                                              
140               x                       x           x                      
130      x           x                                                        
120                                    x                 x                   
110                              x                             x              
100   x                                            x        x                 
090                                                                          
080                                                                           
Year
84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 


Those are his ERA+ by year, excluding Toronto and Houston. Despite the volatility you can see there's a definite downward slope on the right side. I fit a curve to it using a few variables (year, square root of (year-1984), league, team), and here's what I got:

ERA+
210                     x                                                     
200                                                                           
190                                                                           
180                           x     x                                        
170         x                                                                 
160                O  O  O xO                                                 
150          O xO              O  O  O  O                                     
140       O       x                       xO          x                      
130      x           x                        
.  .                           
120                                    x            O  O xO                  
110                              x                           O xO             
100   xO                                           x        x      
.          
090                                                                   .  .   
080                                                                         O 
Year
84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 


The x's are his actual ERA+, the O's are the fitted results given the actual information, and the .'s are just there to connect the O's. Again, this kind of thing only works if...

(a) ...we should expect his time in Toronto and Houston to be different in a non-repeatable way. Toronto was; Houston, we don't know. This is a major point.

(b) ...my choice of variables works at the extremes. It seems to work fine for the actual data points, but we're now four years past the most recent data point.

Now, it wouldn't surprise me if he posted something better than the 80-85 ERA+ projected by the fitted curve. OTOH, he was putting up 100-110 ERA+ 4-5 years ago as part of a clear decline pattern. If you believe Houston defense was the main explanation for his latest success, even a 100 ERA+ in NY would be optimistic. If his Houston performance is because of extra effort or conditioning by Clemens, and he continues it in NY, a 200 ERA+ isn't out of the question.
   49. villageidiom Posted: May 09, 2007 at 12:57 PM (#2359215)
I'm so glad the graphing worked. That would have been a big mess.
   50. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: May 09, 2007 at 03:06 PM (#2359339)
I am extremely impressed by those graphs. Although the graph looks nice when you take out Houston and Toronto, I'm not sure that's legit.

I'm not sure the Astros defense can be the main explanation for Clemens' success. Adam Kennedy may actually be some kind of wizard, but I don't think we can say that conditions in Houston are so wildly different that his success isn't an indication of skill on Clemens' part. If it is, then that is seriously one hell of a defense.

I'm interested in just how conditioned Clemens is. From what I understand, he's coming back immediately, and hasn't had a real spring training and might not be in top form. There won't be a lot of room for error in the AL East, and if he's not 100% ready, he could struggle and make himself more susceptible to injury by trying too hard when he's not ready.

Of course, he's Roger Clemens, and dude has some experience about conditioning and how good he needs to be in order to face major league hitters.
   51. villageidiom Posted: May 09, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2359553)
I'm not sure the Astros defense can be the main explanation for Clemens' success. Adam Kennedy may actually be some kind of wizard, but I don't think we can say that conditions in Houston are so wildly different that his success isn't an indication of skill on Clemens' part.


Wouldn't surprise me. That's why I suggested a motivational factor as well. Darren might contend this, but I thought Clemens reported to Toronto in considerably better shape than he'd been in Boston in the prior year. I thought he pitched like he had something to prove, especially given the "twilight of his career" comment. Boston's defense wasn't that great, New York's was decent when he was there, but I don't get the sense that the Clemens-era Blue Jays were such a defensive whiz of a team that their defense "explains" his relative performance there. Houston's defense is great, but, yeah, I don't know that it's great enough to explain it away.

That's why I say he could post sub-100 ERA+, and why he might post something in the 200's. It depends on how much you believe Houston Roger will translate to New York Roger.
   52. villageidiom Posted: May 09, 2007 at 07:28 PM (#2359576)
And, just to clarify, I did use the Toronto and Houston data points when I fit the curve. But since I used league and team as variables, the fitted curve spikes up to meet the data points.

To correct my last post, I meant to say that New York's defense was decent when Clemens got there. I suppose it could be argued that his decline was caused by their decline, but that also doesn't bode well for 2007 Clemens.

mcgriffy, to the point in your last sentence, Clemens was doing all the conditioning stuff back during his time with the Yankees, too. I don't know if he did anything different in Houston. Maybe he just doesn't like his family all that much, contrary to perception, and being home motivated him to go out to the gym more often. Maybe they have better protein shakes down there. Maybe it was easier for Kobe and Katy and Krusty to give him Krap about bad performances, and he just didn't want to hear it. I have no idea.
   53. Darren Posted: May 10, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2359901)
Darren might contend this, but I thought Clemens reported to Toronto in considerably better shape than he'd been in Boston in the prior year.


I disagree with the notion that he was more motivated to do well, but I think he might have been in better shape. He has said that he met some guy (forget his name) who helped him design a new workout in offseason between Boston and Toronto. What bothers me is when people look at this and try to imply that Clemens was somehow slacking off in his last years with Boston. He absolutely dominated in 94 and 96, and was injured in 95. To a man, his teammates from Boston talked about hard Clemens worked and how dedicated he was.

My ideas about Toronto's defense are based mostly on observation, but the Houston defense is backed up by the stats. When Clemens left NY for Houston, I added up the UZRs of the Yankees regulars and compared them to those of the Houston regulars. The numbers were astounding. The difference was such that I believed Clemens would put up a 3.00 ERA simply by repeating his performance from his last year with the Yanks.

That being said, I would not attribute ALL of Clemens' improvement to defense. I think he has pitched a bit better, but not by much, than he did with the Yankees. Therefore, I wouldn't expect him to pick up on some theoretical downslope and post an 85 ERA+. Something in the 100-115 range that was common for him during his time with Yanks.
   54. villageidiom Posted: May 10, 2007 at 11:49 AM (#2360010)
I disagree with the notion that he was more motivated to do well, but I think he might have been in better shape. He has said that he met some guy (forget his name) who helped him design a new workout in offseason between Boston and Toronto.


I believe it. I just don't understand why, if that were a significant factor, the results didn't stick. That's why I suggest a motivational factor.

And I don't mean to suggest that he was slacking in his waning years in Boston. His performance then was not out of line with what he'd previously done. It was, however, a shadow of what he accomplished in Toronto.

FWIW, yesterday I tried team DER into the model, and it suggested his ERA+ should go down when his DER went up. I even tried it with DER in place of team and league, and the same thing happened. While the Toronto DER in 1997-98 was higher than Boston's from 1994-96, the Yankees' DER in 1999-00 was even higher.
   55. eric Posted: May 13, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2362185)
Darren, you're probably thinking of Brian McNamee. <a >Here's</a> a more recent article about McNamee, Clemens and the history of their relationship and steroids accusations.

As for the differences between Roger in NY and Roger in Houston, it's much more than just defenses. Ausmus is a better catcher than Posada in every way, including pitch calling and working with pitchers. Clemens also was leaving Mel Stottlemyre--the Astros could have used a plate of baked ziti for their pitching coach and that would have been an improvement over Stottlemyre. Garner also had a much keener eye for when Clemens was done than did Torre.

I also think there's one other hidden factor: Clemens is very emotional and tends to get frustrated. Having Everett at SS and Taveras in CF is a great combo, of course, while Jeter + Bernie is wretched. What seemed to me while watching him with the Yankees and then with the Astros is that on top of the bad defense behind him on the Yankees, he would get somewhat hot and frustrated when yet another ball was just past a diving Jeter, or when one landed just out of Bernie's reach. I can't prove it, but I think the cumulative effect of seeing, in NY, yet another DP grounder become a run-scoring single, again and again, affected his ability to pitch to the following batters at maximum effectiveness. The defense in Houston allowed him to pitch more focused and relaxed more often.

And finally, I think he also enjoyed much better luck in Houston than he did in NY. Darren's comparison of Roger's component stats from NY to HOU illustrates this perfectly. Would anyone who didn't already know really think that his spread of ERAs for those four seasons is from 1.87 to 3.91?

I'm fascinated by the hoops Villiageidiom has to jump through to show that Clemens performances everywhere BUT the Yankees are somehow the aberrations, rather than what seems clear, that his performance WITH the Yankees is odd. He was excellent with the Red Sox. Excellent with the Blue Jays. Excellent with the Astros. He was merely average to very good with the Yankees. Why again is all the non-Yankee data strange? Talk about a clear cut case of someone who has come to a conclusion first and now can only look at the data in such a way that proves his point.

That said, Clemens' previous performance with the Yankees is probably the best indicator of what we can expect out of him for this year.
   56. Darren Posted: May 13, 2007 at 10:36 AM (#2362306)
eric,

That's some good info, there, and very similar to what I was trying to say. I don't know if it's emotion or confidence or what, but I agree that Clemens seems to thrive with a good defense, beyond what DIPS numbers would tell you.

But hey, what do the Yankees need with Clemens anyway, they have Rasner and Desalvo! Rasner now has 24.2 IP, 8 BB, 11 K, 4 HR, and a 3.28 ERA! Desalvo's even better: in 2 GS, he's got 13.2 IP, 5 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, and 1.98 ERA. These numbers are for guys who ZIPS projected to have ERAs of 5.12 and 7.56 coming into the year. Meet the new Chacon and Small.
   57. villageidiom Posted: May 13, 2007 at 01:35 PM (#2362329)
I'm fascinated by the hoops Villiageidiom has to jump through to show that Clemens performances everywhere BUT the Yankees are somehow the aberrations, rather than what seems clear, that his performance WITH the Yankees is odd. He was excellent with the Red Sox. Excellent with the Blue Jays. Excellent with the Astros. He was merely average to very good with the Yankees. Why again is all the non-Yankee data strange? Talk about a clear cut case of someone who has come to a conclusion first and now can only look at the data in such a way that proves his point.


If you reread my posts you'll find that:

(a) I was suggesting that his Boston AND NY experience fit a pattern, and at no point suggested that the five year period from 1999-2003 was the only reliable set of data points.

(b) I hadn't reached a definitive conclusion, mostly because I don't know whether his level of performance in Houston is repeatable. Saying that I came to a conclusion first and cherry-picked the data to prove it when I didn't actually come to a conclusion is ignorance, either natural or willful.

If it makes you feel better, here's the original graph, with Toronto and Houston included:
ERA+
230                                         x
220                                                                  x       
210                     x                                                     
200                                                                     x      
190                                                                          
180                           x     x           x                              
170         x                                                                 
160                        x                                                  
150            x                                                  x            
140               x                       x           x                      
130      x           x                                                        
120                                    x                 x                   
110                              x                             x              
100   x                                            x        x                 
090                                                                          
080                                                                           
Year
84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 


The only reason his Houston level appears repeatable is because he did just that. His 1990 wasn't repeated in 1991. His 1997 wasn't repeated in 1998; though 1998 was still one of his better years, it's closer to his "normal" performance than his 1997 level. His 2005 season was largely repeated in 2006.

It's far easier to be dismissive about his 1997 season in terms of projection: it is an outlier. It happened, and he certainly is capable of that level of performance; but it was not predictive of 1998+ nor reflective of 1996 and prior. His 2005-06 is another story.

I've not pretended to know what caused the increase in performance in Houston. I've made some guesses, and tried adjusting for some quantifiable effects in the data, but that leaves only speculation about the sizable unexplained difference. It's pretty clear that the Yankees are paying for a repeat of Houston; I just don't have the same level of confidence that they do.
   58. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 13, 2007 at 02:01 PM (#2362336)
I think Eric's point is that not only weren't 96-97 repeatable, but neither were 01-03. Roger followed them up with three much better years. I do not agree with your logic for which data points to throw out as "non repeatable." You took the most recent ten years of data and removed 40%, including the most recent three years, which are what almost all projection systems use as the best data.

I don't think the Yankees are playing for a repeat of Houston at all. I find that unlikely, too. I think they want a consistent, significantly above average starting pitcher, and I think the most likely reading of the data is that they're going to get exactly that.
   59. walt williams bobblehead Posted: May 13, 2007 at 02:14 PM (#2362340)
You have to keep in mind that Clemens's statistics the last couple of years have been compiled in games in which the strike zone is about 50% larger than normal. The low ERA and the lack of run support are clearly related. However, he did manage to compile a winning record in Houston and he will presumably get more run support in New York
   60. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 13, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2362356)
From last nights gamechatter:

"20. Cowboy Popup Posted: May 13, 2007 at 12:16 AM (#2362238)
6 2/3 innings of 1 K, 2 R ball. I can't wait for Darren to add Desalvo to the list of Yankee pitchers to complain about."

And then I see this today

"But hey, what do the Yankees need with Clemens anyway, they have Rasner and Desalvo! Rasner now has 24.2 IP, 8 BB, 11 K, 4 HR, and a 3.28 ERA! Desalvo's even better: in 2 GS, he's got 13.2 IP, 5 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, and 1.98 ERA. These numbers are for guys who ZIPS projected to have ERAs of 5.12 and 7.56 coming into the year. Meet the new Chacon and Small."

One of the small things that will help me get over Proflowers.com ####### up my order for my mother. Seriously, Proflowers.com sucks, don't ever use it, #### them.
   61. PJ Martinez Posted: May 13, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2362369)
"24.2 IP, 8 BB, 11 K, 4 HR, and a 3.28 ERA!"

That is really something. Has he given up no non-homer hits? How does that line even happen?
   62. Darren Posted: May 13, 2007 at 03:45 PM (#2362384)
Yes, Desalvo and Rasner are added to the list. Desalvo is Small--no legit reason to think the guy is going to be good and he's only on the roster because they're desperate for a warm body. Rasner is Chacon--a pitcher who's track record suggests he might be decent, who a stupid team decided to give to the Yanks.

I know I'm predictable, but so is this pattern.
   63. villageidiom Posted: May 13, 2007 at 07:44 PM (#2362686)
I think Eric's point is that not only weren't 96-97 repeatable, but neither were 01-03.

(1) He also made the point that I'd reached a conclusion that I clearly hadn't. That's what I was trying to address.

(2) He seems to make it pretty clear in his last sentence that he thinks 01-03 (or 99-03) is repeatable.

I do not agree with your logic for which data points to throw out as "non repeatable." You took the most recent ten years of data and removed 40%, including the most recent three years, which are what almost all projection systems use as the best data.

Wrong. If you read my #60, you'd know that I took the most recent 23 years and removed 0% when I did the fit. However, using "team" and "league" in the fit ascribes all of his success in Toronto and Houston to being in Toronto and Houston. That works fine, if it is true that his success on those teams is attributable to something Clemens doesn't carry forward to the new team. For Toronto the evidence suggests it is true; for Houston I don't know. If that italicized assumption isn't true, then some unknown portion of his Houston performance will carry forward. If that unknown portion is < 100%, then any projection system that relies on just the last 3 years will overstate what can be expected out of Clemens. The lower the portion, the greater the overstatement.
   64. villageidiom Posted: November 26, 2007 at 07:01 PM (#2625286)
I was surprised to see this thread was still open for posting, so I thought I'd update it.

Clemens finished 2007 with a 107 ERA+, above the 80-85 range I'd projected based on the variables mentioned earlier (year, square root of (year-1984), league, team), but well below his performance in Houston. One of the outstanding questions from earlier in the thread was whether his Houston level was projectable, or a product of playing for Houston. The ERA+ result alone suggests the latter; still, it is only one data point.

As mentioned earlier I had added DER to the model, and it gave a non-intuitive result: ERA+ went down when DER went up. If DER rises, we should expect ERA to fall, but not ERA+. That fit was with all of the prior variables plus DER. In theory, though, I should have removed team from the fit when adding DER; team defense was what I was trying to capture with the team variable in the first place. When I remove team from the fit, I get a directionally appropriate (but weak) relationship between dDER and dERA+. The resulting projection for Clemens in 2007 would have been a 96 ERA+, halfway between my original projection and the actual.

I then threw BABIP into the model, and got a 113 ERA+ "projection" for 2007 (now we're talking!) with that projection being very sensitive to the BABIP selected for 2007. It seems like some age component, BABIP, DER, and league are all that is needed to get a decent projection. Primate study, anyone?
   65. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: November 26, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2625394)
Hey, while we're bringing up old threads, remember all the crazy talk about "kickbacks" to Seibu during the Matsuzaka posting last year? Nothing like that ever actually happened, right?
   66. Guapo Posted: November 26, 2007 at 09:16 PM (#2625442)
1) You're the same guy who argued that Pedroia would be better than Cano LAST YEAR (or was it the year prior?

For perspective, this thread was posted at a point in the season when Pedroia was struggling. I think we all know how that one turned out.


Cano was better than Pedroia again?
   67. Toolsy McClutch Posted: November 26, 2007 at 09:27 PM (#2625456)
Well, I think you could make the arguement that they were roughly equal.
   68. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: November 26, 2007 at 09:52 PM (#2625477)
They were certainly pretty close offensively. Cano did a bit better as measured by OPS+; but OPS undervalues OBP, and Pedroia had a significant edge there. I honestly couldn't tell you how much difference there is between them defensively.

On the other hand, I think Cano had more value this year, not because he was "better" but because he played 20 more games. On the gripping hand, this was Cano's age 24 season but Pedroia's age 23 season, so you could make the argument that Pedroia has higher expected value going forward.

Both players are very good. Unless there's evidence of a vast defensive disparity, I don't see that you can really say with certainty that one was better than the other.
   69. Martin Hemner Posted: November 26, 2007 at 10:02 PM (#2625487)
In summary, I battled basically all the Yankees fans, who insisted that this was going to put them over the top while I said it wasn't going to make any difference. I think we all know how that one turned out.

Is this a joke? The Yankees were much better after Clemens started pitching.
   70. Gonfalon B. Posted: November 26, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2625492)
Though Clemens' overall value was middling in 2007, the timing of his reappearance went a ways towards stabilizing what had been a chaotic Yankee "rotation." In the two weeks before Roger's belated debut, the Yankees got 2 decisions from Matt DeSalvo, 3 decisions from Scott Proctor, and 3 more from Tyler Clippard. A reasonable case could be made that the Yankees don't make it to the playoffs without the overpriced Mr. Happy.
   71. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 26, 2007 at 10:12 PM (#2625494)
Is this a joke? The Yankees were much better after Clemens started pitching.

Don't confuse kevin with facts.
   72. Gonfalon B. Posted: November 26, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2625548)
Anybody still peeved about Roger's 12 IP, 1.00 WHIP, 0.75 ERA line against the 2007 Boston Red Sox?
   73. gay guy in cut-offs smoking the objective pipe Posted: November 26, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2625552)
There's kind of three separate points:

Was Clemens better than the other alternatives on the roster?

I think the answer here is a qualified yes. A 107 ERA+ isn't great, but it's better than throwing Igawa, Clippard, DiSalvo, Karstens, et al. out there every fifth day. Maybe Rasner would have been just as good over the rest of the season, maybe not. I'm inclined to think not. The big question mark is, would they have been better off bringing Chamberlain or Kennedy up to start early in the season? It's hard to judge that fairly.

Was Clemens better than the other alternatives on the market?

I dunno. I don't remember the trade market for starting pitchers being particularly rich this year. Of course, it would have cost something to get a pitcher via trade, and Clemens didn't cost anything but money, which leads to the third question ...

Was Clemens a good value?

And here I think we have to answer "no". The guy wasn't a bad pitcher, but I would assume the Yankees wanted something more for their $20 million or whatever it was than 18 starts of 107 ERA+ ball.
   74. Martin Hemner Posted: November 26, 2007 at 11:05 PM (#2625569)
Clemens sucked. No way was he worth anyway near what he was paid. They would have been far better off spending the money elsewhere instead of saving it for him.

So what would you have done differently? Keep RJ? Sign Steve Trachsel? Trade for Jose Contreras?
Kris Benson? Rich Harden? Kyle Loshe? Sidney Ponson?

Where is the plan where the money could have been better spent?
   75. Martin Hemner Posted: November 26, 2007 at 11:07 PM (#2625574)
MH#1F, the trade market alone wasn't the only source of talent for them. They could have spent the money they saved for Clemens on another FA pitcher in the off-season.

That argument is a red herring. Wang, Mussina, Pavano, Karstens, Rasner and Hughes were all hurt in April. Clemens was the best use of the money at that point.
   76. villageidiom Posted: November 26, 2007 at 11:13 PM (#2625581)
Though Clemens' overall value was middling in 2007, the timing of his reappearance went a ways towards stabilizing what had been a chaotic Yankee "rotation."

The big issue at the time - as I mention in #527 in the thread kevin linked - was that they needed innings from the starters because the relievers were being burned out. By the time they signed Clemens - not by the time he started pitching - they seem to have solved that issue.

Breaking down the season, before Clemens signed they were hitting, but not pitching; after he signed they were pitching, but not hitting; and once he started playing the pitching remained much the same, but the hitting came alive again. I doubt we can give credit to Clemens for the Yankees' hitting.

In the two weeks before Roger's belated debut, the Yankees got 2 decisions from Matt DeSalvo, 3 decisions from Scott Proctor, and 3 more from Tyler Clippard.

I don't think it's fair to use Scott Proctor as an example of the instability of the rotation, except that starters other than Clippard and DeSalvo were not getting the job done. Still, those starters were not replaced by Clemens - only DeSalvo.

DeSalvo's game scores, before Clemens: 64, 51, 30, 41, 35
Roger Clemens' first five game scores: 55, 58, 38, 39, 77

At least initially, Clemens was an improvement. He went on to post a bunch of game scores in the 60's (four, plus one at 70), and a bunch in the 20's and 30's (three, plus one at 15). They skipped him in the rotation a couple of times, too, and eventually had to shut him down in the playoffs. Not ideal, but, yeah, they got a lot more "plus" starts out of him than they likely would have with DeSalvo, and it might have made a difference in the wild card race.

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