ROGER, OVER AND OUT
Nowhere was "fiscal insanity" more evident than in Winter Haven, Fla., where the American League champion Red Sox started their exhibition season without Cy Young Award winner and MVP Roger Clemens and All-Star catcher Rich Gedman. Management curiously chose to make an example of Clemens, who was 28 days shy of rights to arbitration. After keeping the agents for Clemens, Alan and Randy Hendricks, waiting all day on March 4, G.M. Lou Gorman offered Clemens a $400,000 contract—a $60,000 raise for going 24-4, leading the team into the World Series and helping the ownership make a lot of money.
Even before Clemens left the Red Sox complex on Friday, the club distributed a press release claiming he wouldn't negotiate. But, in effect, it was the club that said, "We don't have to negotiate because we can renew you." What made Clemens walk out was a subsequent offer of $500,000—half of what Boston is paying Bob Stanley. Fiscal responsibility is fine, but Roger Clemens?
It seems that some clubs want to beat their players at hardball even more than they want to turn back inflation. In Boston's case, the priorities seem especially out of whack. Clemens and Gedman are model citizens off the field and workaholics on it. Meanwhile, the Sox are on the line for $775,000 to Tim Lollar; they owe Stanley $1 million a year for three years; and they gave Marc Sullivan, a .193 hitter and the son of co-owner Haywood Sullivan, a 36% raise from $110,000 to $150,000, virtually the same salary the Cardinals give to base-stealer Vince Coleman.
There are a few signs of a thaw for the free agents. On March 6 agent Dick Moss and Cub G.M. Dallas Green ended their verbal battle over Andre Dawson when Green agreed to Moss's offer to sign a blank contract. Green filled in the blanks at $500,000 guaranteed salary, with an added $150,000 if the great outfielder with the bad knees doesn't go on the disabled list before the All-Star break. The Phillies have a uniform waiting for Lance Parrish, but they're still trying to iron out the clause that will prevent Parrish from suing baseball for collusion. The Padres and Braves are only now warming to the N.L. batting champion Tim Raines, who understandably doesn't want to take a $400,000 pay cut from his $1.5 million '86 salary. In the meantime, Parrish is working out in California with fellow free-agent catcher Bob Boone, while Raines is practicing with his old Seminole High School team in San ford, Fla.
A major side issue in this war is the animosity toward agents Tom Reich (who represents Raines and Parrish) and Moss (who represents Jack Morris, as well as Dawson). Said Oakland G.M. Sandy Alderson, "If Dick Moss had Babe Ruth, I still wouldn't talk to him."
Some executives insist that George Steinbrenner is shopping Dave Win field around for a quality starting pitcher, even though 10-and-5 man Win field can refuse a trade and has stated he doesn't want to leave New York....
The Phillies may sit and wait for Parrish, but their other big problem is a highly questionable starling staff. Kevin Gross, their one shot for 240 innings, has a herniated disc, and though he has resumed throwing, he is a prime candidate for a blowout. While the Phils study Marvin Freeman and Steve Carlton, they are also inspecting available starters like the Twins' Mike Smithson, the Dodgers' Alejandro Pena and Oakland's Chris Codiroli....
Toronto minor league pitching instructor Dave LaRoche, who worked for the Yankees last year, thinks his old club may have given up more pitching than it got in the Rick Rhoden trade. "Brian Fisher and Logan Easley could be outstanding relief closers and Doug Drabek could win as many games  as Rhoden did last year," LaRoche says of the three pitchers sent to the Pirates....