Thursday, June 02, 2005

Baseball Notebook Thursday, June 02, 2005

Derrek Lee and Neifi Perez have 9 hits in 10 AB's with 2 homers and 7 RBI's in the 9-5 Cubs win over the Dodgers. Starting with the 1999 season Lee's RBI numbers have increased every year in this order: 20-70-75-86-92-98 and with 50 this year with the season one third over. Lee continues to lead NL in all triple crown categories....Overpaid player department...Brad Ausmus is making $3 million this year and yet only has 1 homer and 14 RBI's on the season. Roger Clemens and Jeff Bagwell are making $36 million this year leaving $40 million for the other 23 players to divide. With Bagwell having 3 homers and 15 RBI's and probably out for 3 months that money for him has been completely wasted....It is beyond comprehension how the Yankees have lost 2 in a row to a team that is 19 1/2 games out of first in AL Central. These are the kind of teams that the Yankees should be beating night after
night like they were but losing the series to the Red Sox this last weekend has taken some edge off of their momentum they had going. Tonight they send Carl Pavano to the mound who lost his last game by a 17-1 score so his confidence level could be in question....Since Bobby Crosby has returned to the A's lineup they have won all 3 of those games. Right before that they had lost 8 in a row. May be a coincidence but with Crosby hitting .385 since his return it may be making a difference. It still has to concern to the A's that Eric Chavez has only 4 homers in 206 AB's and has a .316 slugging percentage....Player for fantasy baseball fans to watch closely...Dallas
McPherson third baseman for the Angels. In his last 7 games he has hit 4 homers and drove in 9 runs while hitting .370. He is 3rd on the team in home runs with 5 and only 2 behind the team leading Vladimir Guerrero and Steve Finley with 7 each.

Note: This could be an interesting story to watch. Clearly the Astros are out of the pennant race and if Roger Clemens can make the same money with a pennant contender and stay in his native Texas this scenario could develop in the next month to where he could join one of the best hitting teams in baseball and jettison himself from a team that is giving him no run support at all. If he had pitched for the Rangers all season the way he has for the Astros he would be looking at 10 wins assuming the Rangers would give him much better run support. It is a 4 hour drive from Houston to Dallas but when you are making $18 million he could fly there much sooner to see his family or just move his family to Dallas area.

Clemens has interest in Rangers
Baseball notes

The New York Yankees could have some competition for Roger Clemens' services, after all, and this would be a battle in which George Steinbrenner lacked the home-field advantage. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has expressed interest in joining the Texas Rangers, according to two people familiar with Clemens' thinking.

On Feb. 6, Newsday reported that Clemens, who will turn 43 Aug. 4, made a handshake agreement with Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane upon signing a one-year, $18-million contract for 2005. McLane agreed to trade Clemens to the Yankees if the Astros fell out of the pennant race.

In an interview with ESPN last month, Clemens, who refused to commit to playing the entire 2005 season with the Astros, said he would permit a trade only to the Yankees. Since then, however, the Rangers have surged, bringing a nine-game winning streak into Wednesday night's game in Detroit.

Any trade of Clemens would likely not occur until closer to the July 31 non-waivers trading deadline. McLane proved last season, when his club pulled off a remarkable late-season run, that he is reluctant to signal to his fans that he is surrendering. But McLane, with Clemens' help, could sell a trade by touting the prospects received, money saved and the possibility of Clemens' return for 2006.

Clemens owns a no-trade clause, and his $18 million contract for this season includes a $3 million kicker if he is dealt.

The right-hander, 3-3 with a sterling 1.30 ERA for the last-place Astros, has privately expressed admiration for the Rangers' powerful lineup, speculating that his record would be far better with the support of Texas' offense.

Then, of course, there is the issue of proximity. The drive from Clemens' Houston-area home to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex takes about four hours.

Clemens' oldest son, Koby, has signed a baseball scholarship with Texas, in Austin, and will begin school in September.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks seems more likely than the Yankees to grant Clemens the liberal schedule he has with the Astros. He is not required to attend games he's not pitching. If Hicks agreed to that structure, Clemens could virtually commute to Arlington from Houston.

Hicks, who signed Alex Rodriguez to his 10-year, $252 million contract in December 2000, has been more financially conservative the last few years. Yet acquiring Clemens would present a short-term, if high-volume, investment that would be done by year's end. Clemens would essentially pay for himself in increased attendance and souvenir sales, as he has with the Astros.

Although Clemens will drive this decision, McLane will have a say. Clearly, a trade of the team's top draw (and ace) to the hated Yankees or neighboring Rangers would generate negative reaction from Astros fans. The more McLane got for Clemens, the easier it would be to convince fans that the deal was worthwhile.

-- Newsday

-- Associated Press


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