|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
This was an inevitable move for Roger Clemens. I've felt since spring training -- even after his politically correct answers to my questions -- that he was going to eventually sign with the Yankees despite his posturing with the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.
This was an easier decision for Roger because he has the opportunity to revive a great franchise that respects him as well as getting the chance to pitch with his old friend Andy Pettitte. For me, the reaction during the Mariners game when the team found out that Clemens was returning was priceless. This group of all-stars and fantastic ballplayers were like schoolchildren getting an early Christmas present when they heard the news.
That type of jolt can't be underestimated. The season is still young, and despite their pitching issues, the Yankees are still right in the mix for the division title. This is a team that needed good news after a bad start. The Yanks suffered through DL stint after DL stint for their pitching staff.
The return of Clemens will revitalize New York, but, in my estimation, it also will serve as a catalyst for the Red Sox. This is a squad that has seen the Yankees make big moves during the season before, so the Red Sox knew that Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner wouldn't stand pat -- especially with this team. Now they know that arguably the best right-hander in the history of the game will be pitching for New York for roughly 20 starts. Everyone involved knows every game has become that much more important.
This has been a great rivalry in the past, but look for every game this season -- whether against each other or not -- to take on playoff magnification because of the presence of Clemens in New York's rotation. I now expect a run from the Yankees that leads to the division being decided very, very late in the season.
-- ESPN "Baseball Tonight" analyst John Kruk
Clemens signed with the Yankees for what will be his 24th season in the major leagues. Only eight pitchers have competed on that level in that many seasons: Nolan Ryan (27 years), Tommy John (26), Charlie Hough (25), Jim Kaat (25), Steve Carlton (24), Dennis Eckersley (24), Phil Niekro (24) and Jesse Orosco (24).
• Read more Elias Says.