WHO WANTS TO BE A
(right) will have substantial incentive to come out of retirement this summer.
The Astros, joining the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers last week in what promises
to be a full-blown bidding war, told Clemens's agents, Randy and Alan
Hendricks, that they are prepared to pay prorated full value for the pitcher
who earned $18 million last year while leading the majors with a 1.87 ERA. It
will be difficult for the 43-year-old righthander, who has been keeping his arm
in shape by throwing batting practice to his son Kory's high school team, to
turn down about $10 million to pitch half a season for a contender.
dealt themselves into the picture," Randy Hendricks said by e-mail last
week. "All four teams are competitive, on and off the field. Roger will
decide what he is going to do by early June at the latest." If Clemens
decides to return under that timetable, he is prepared to make two or three
minor league starts and move up to the big leagues around July 1. His hometown
Astros, off to one of the best starts in franchise history (19-12), are the
front-runners, with New York the most likely option if those negotiations break
CANO CAN DO
The Yankees were
not quite sure what kind of player they had in Robinson Cano (left) when they
promoted the second baseman to the majors on May 3 last year. But in his first
calendar year in the big leagues, in which he played 153 games, Cano made a
first impression similar to that of his heralded double-play partner, Derek
Jeter, in 1995-96. Here's how they compare in their first 153 games.
?It's time to give
pitchers a chance to reclaim the inside corner of the plate by banning the
protective gear hitters wear on their elbows and arms. Last week Jason Kendall
of the A's charged John Lackey of the Angels (right) after Lackey jawed at the
armored Kendall for attempting to turn his body into an inside pitch from
?Just when it
appeared the Royals could not embarrass themselves further, they started a
lineup last Saturday in which no player was younger than 28--and seven starters
were 31 or older. Nothing like being bad and old.
?Think it's hard
to find a closer? Think again. Eight of the top 10 save leaders at week's end
were not regularly closing games before 2003: Jonathan Papelbon, Brad Lidge,
Bobby Jenks, Derek Turnbow, Frankie Rodriguez, Jose Valverde, David Weathers
and Danys Baez. (The exceptions: Tom Gordon and Jason Isringhausen.) What's
hard is finding one who can hold the job.
by Baseball Prospectus