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[chron] Clemens better than 50/50

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by NJRocket, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. NJRocket

    NJRocket Contributing Member

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    http://blogs.chron.com/baseballblog/archives/2007/01/qa_agent_discus.html
    Q&A: Agent Hendricks discusses Clemens, Pettitte
    Randy Hendricks, whose star clients include Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Jason Schmidt, has been one of the most prominent baseball agents in America since the early 1970s, when he and his brother, Alan, started Hendricks Sports Management in the 1970s.

    One of the trailblazers in fighting salary arbitration and the owners' collusion, he has often been rated among the most powerful folks in baseball. And as his bio states at www.hendricks-sports.com reminds us, "He has been named to the Sporting News list of 100 Most Powerful People in Sports, including most recently 2003."

    An honors graduate of the University of Houston Law School, Hendricks took some time from his schedule to answer some questions regarding Clemens, Pettitte and the state of baseball in Houston.

    QUESTION No. 1: This has been a pretty busy winter for you. You have landed some great deals for Russ Springer, Jason Schmidt and a guy named Andy Pettitte. What are your thoughts about the recent spending spree in baseball?

    ANSWER: One can always find a correlation between player salaries and revenues in the game. As revenues go up, so do salaries. This has been true for 30 years, so the recent increase in salary levels comes as no surprise. Revenues of $5.2 billion were reported by the 30 clubs in 2006. This is an average of $173 million per club.


    • • •

    QUESTION No. 2: What is up with Roger Clemens?

    ANSWER: Nothing is really new with Roger. Fans need to keep in mind that he intended to retire after the 2003 season. Then, for a lot of reasons, he decided to play for the Astros in 2004. After evaluating the variables, Roger decided in early December 2004 to play again for the Astros in 2005. Roger was pretty beat up after the 2005 season (and really in late August, September and the playoffs in 2005). So he wasn't sure he could or should play another year.

    I suggested shortening the season for 2006 so he would not put so much wear and tear on his body. He probably would have retired, except he wanted to play for the USA in the World Baseball Classic. He felt good after that. Koby hurt his hand and needed rehab, so Roger and Koby worked out together in early May of 2006. Roger felt good, he enjoyed his time with Koby, so he decided to take me up on the shortened season recommendation. As everyone knows, he pitched one game at class A (with Koby), one at AA and one at AAA before starting on June 22 in Houston. Roger had several choices, as everyone knows. The Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox and Astros all made known their desire to sign Roger. So did other teams. Ultimately, Roger chose to sign with the Astros.

    Roger has very much enjoyed his time with the Astros. He has no complaints with the management or the way in which he has been treated. He is most appreciative of the relationship.


    Chronicle file
    Hendricks and Roger Clemens go way back. This was taken while Clemens was with the Blue Jays in 1998.


    He has to decide what he wants to do for 2007. He hasn't decided. If he does play, it will only be for the Astros, Red Sox or Yankees. He needs to sort through all of the variables, again. One positive is that he came out of 2006 season feeling really good physically.

    From my standpoint, and keep in mind that I am an Astros season ticket holder, the most discouraging part with the Astros has been the very poor run support in 2005 and 2006. That puts an incredible amount of pressure on a pitcher to never give up a run, which means a pitcher cannot give himself the luxury of making more than one mistake. I am sure many Astros fans, like me, would expect that the team would think "hey, Roger is pitching, so we'll win; all we have to do is score a few runs."

    Instead, the team plays uptight offensively behind him and just seems to have settled into this bad pattern. Hopefully, if Roger plays for the Astros in 2007, that will change.


    • • •

    QUESTION No. 3: If you had to guess, will Roger pitch again? Where?

    ANSWER: I think it is more than 50/50 that Roger will play in 2007, but for a shortened season. As I said, it will be for the Astros, Red Sox or Yankees. I don't think any team is really ahead. Obviously, Houston has the home field advantage. One of the nice things during Roger's time playing for Houston has been how outstanding the fans have been. One of the reasons he decided to play for the Astros was the large number of Houston fans who asked him to do so

    QUESTION No. 4. I'm pretty sure I'm right, but some fans want to clarify the status of Roger Clemens' personal services contract. Because the deal only kicks in after he retires, it is correct that Roger can play elsewhere without breaking that contract, correct?


    Chronicle file
    With Joe Savery of Rice, Houston baseball has been on the rise.

    ANSWER: Roger's personal services contract with the Astros starts the year after he retires. He can play elsewhere in 2007 (the same was true last year) and it won't affect his personal services contract. The Astros understand Roger's history with the Red Sox and Yankees. He thinks highly of all three teams, and there is nothing wrong with that. And it is fair to say that all three teams think highly of him.

    After all, I have made the case, as have others, that he is the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball. He should be considered a local treasure by Houstonians, not someone to boo if he were to play elsewhere for a year.

    After all, Nolan Ryan left the Astros to play for the Rangers and everyone loves Nolan.


    • • •

    QUESTION No. 5: What do you think of the state of baseball in Houston? By that, I mean the Astros, UH, Rice, Texas A&M baseball and the high schools? Do you anticipate another year of top draft picks coming out of this area?

    ANSWER: The quality of baseball played in Houston is as good as anywhere in the world. I am continually impressed with how good our local players are, both in college and high school. There are a lot of good coaches and instructors in our area, who only help make these gifted players better. Many players play on all star teams, and they seem to push themselves to play even better. I will always take my chances with the players we have in Texas. California and Florida rank highly as well on talent.

    Given the abundant talent pool in our state, it is no wonder that we have so many good high school and college teams. Every year, we have several local high school teams that are good enough to be state champion, only they can't get out of the Houston area in the playoffs.


    • • •

    QUESTION No. 6: You and I both share a healthy respect for Andy Pettitte. Moreover, I've told you that I thought Andy received a bad rap from some fans who don't realize that Pettitte's decision would have actually been made for him if he the Jon Garland trade had not been canceled after the Astros and White Sox had agreed to the players that would be exchanged. (The White Sox pulled out after reviewing the medical reports about Taylor Buchholz?)

    ANSWER: The reaction by many people is disappointing to me and Andy. It is like they forgot the last three years. Both Boston and Anaheim offered him $52 million three years ago. He signed with Houston for $31.5 million. How many fans would have turned down over $20 million guaranteed just to play at home? Andy did. He is glad he did. It was good for everyone. Why some people cannot be grateful for the past three years is difficult to accept.

    More to the point, the Astros were more worried about Andy's elbow than were the Yankees. The opposite was true three years ago. That irony is not lost on me. The Astros initially offered Andy a substantial pay cut, for the record. Then, their best offer was the lowest one we had. So it was clear as could be to me that the Astros had a lot of reluctance on Andy, and I attribute that mostly to medical concerns.

    Andy is so sensitive that being a free agent has not been easy for him. He hates to disappoint people or to hurt their feelings. So he was torn three years ago, and he was torn, again, this year. First, he wasn't sure he would be healthy enough to play. Second, he wasn't sure his family would want him to play. Third, he wasn't sure he should play due to his father's heart condition. So he needed a lot of time to decide. Meanwhile, the Astros and I had an understanding that the Astros should go ahead and do what they needed to do while Andy decided.

    They could have signed Woody Williams, which they did, and traded for Jon Garland, which they almost did, and they then would have told Andy there was no room for him. That would have been acceptable to us because of the circumstances of his indecision.

    Andy decided to play in early December, but he wanted a player option for 2008 so he wouldn't have to go through being a free agent again at the end of next year. He said he wouldn't exercise the option if he were hurt and unable to play. The Yankees accepted this and the Astros did not. The Yankees said they would accept Andy's word and the Astros said, in essence, they wouldn't or couldn't. The Astros' reaction was to try to trade for Garland; the Yankees' was to say "when do you want to sign?" Now you tell me, what would you have done in the same situation?


    Tim Johnson: AP
    Hendricks joined Andy Pettitte in Deer Park for the announcement of the pitcher's return to New York.

    The Astros were as hesitant this year as the Yankees were three years ago. The Yankees were as aggressive this year as the Astros were three years ago. It shows that we are all people, and respond well to people or companies that say they want and need us.


    • • •

    QUESTION No. 7: How is Pettitte doing?

    ANSWER: Andy feels really good. Fans need to remember how unnatural it is to pitch, meaning it is not the right thing to do, medically speaking. So pitchers break down and wear out. A lot of times veteran pitchers need several months off just to start feeling all right and to recharge their batteries. Fans may think it is a game, but they don't understand there is no reason to play such a game. A player is better off saying he is ready, willing and able to play, in order to maximize his market value, than saying he is not sure if he will play or where he will play. It is not us asking for press attention. It is the press or fans who are reacting to the uncertainty. But that uncertainty is a product of what I described, not some contrived game.


    • • •

    QUESTION NO. 8: What does it say about the Yankees' decision to sign Andy Pettitte and trusting his elbow one month and then trading Randy Johnson the next month?

    ANSWER: It says in bright lights on Broadway that they would rather have Andy Pettitte, and his elbow, than Randy Johnson and his back. Keep in mind, though, that Randy Johnson expressed to the Yankees an interest in going to Arizona, just as he did after he played for the Astros for two months in 1998. Andy is a proven post season winner under the glare and pressure of New York. The Yankees have been missing that attribute since Andy left.


    • • •

    QUESTION No. 9: You've had quite a successful career. How much longer do you want to do this? What do you view as the highlight of your career?

    ANSWER: I love my profession and intend to continue it indefinitely. As for highlights, fighting for free agency for players, when none existed, fighting against collusion by the owners, setting arbitration and contract records, and the relationships I have enjoyed with people, including clients, non player clients, people in management, people in the media and fans, have been notable. I love baseball and enjoy the people connected with it. Some times the competition brings out a lot of emotion, and that goes with the landscape. I don't hold grudges and move on down the road to the next situation.
     
  2. NJRocket

    NJRocket Contributing Member

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    I think its extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY telling that not one thing is mentioned about how Roger's deal pitching in Houston (i.e. not having to go on road trips, being able to watch his kids play ball, etc) makes it the most desirable destination for him. Granted its only a half season...but there's a reason Hendricks doesnt mention Houston's arguable biggest bargaining chip in this whole thing. I think he will obviously use the Sox and Yanks to drive up the price....but that ultimately, if we are in contention...and scoring runs....that he will stay here.
     
  3. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member
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    agreed.
     
  4. Jared Novak

    Jared Novak Contributing Member

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    IMHO the bolded part is very telling of where Roger will play next season.
     
  5. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    If Roger's up to pitching somewhere else next season, more power to him... I really don't think he has it in him, nor does he want to tarnish his legacy/stats by looking bad in the vastly superior American League.

    I know he's a living legend... but the bottom line is that he's a SIX inning pitcher... in the NATIONAL league. What happens when he goes to a league where batters have routine 10-12 pitch AB's, the DH is a professional hitter, and the average 7-9 in the AL is about as good as the average 4-6 in the NL.

    In the NL, Roger gets to pitch 4-6 games against the Pirates and Brewers. In the AL, Roger gets to pitch 4-6 games against the Yankees/Red Sox (depending on which team he goes to) and the Blue Jays.

    And this is before even mentioning him getting to live at home, skip road trips he doesn't pitch on, and continue to take care of all his personal buisness that he has based in Houston... I'm not going to hold anything against him if he decides to go back to the AL, but I would be very suprised.

    I think overall, its the MEDIA who wants him to go back to the east coast more than anybody else... including Roger himself.
     
  6. studogg

    studogg Contributing Member

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    you know, i get damn tired of hearing how fans need to remember this and remember that. and that fans should remember the last three years.

    Yeah, I remember pettites last three years. last year he looked disinterested to start and didn't turn it on until after the all-star break which conceivably cost us the playoffs.

    2004 he was injured and didn't do a thing.

    2005 he was phenomenal.

    As a fan, all i need to remember is "what have you done for me lately, ooohh ooohh ooohh yeah"
     
  7. NJRocket

    NJRocket Contributing Member

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    While some of this may be indeed true, if he had any impact on Roger being here the last 2 yrs...and I tend to think he did... then its all worth it
     
  8. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    Anyone else getting tired of the "will he or won't he" routine Roger has pulled for the last 3 years? I love the guy, but you know he gets off on the attention. Personally, I'm tired of giving it to him.
     
  9. DVauthrin

    DVauthrin Contributing Member

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    He's not called the Drama Queen for nothing. And who thinks he really won't play? No way he goes out yet, not the way he is performing right now and esp the money he gets paid.
     
  10. rocketfat

    rocketfat Member

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    you're forgetting that the yankees are going to be scoring him 15 runs/game.
     
  11. Rule0001

    Rule0001 Contributing Member

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    I think the Rocket will end up playing for the Rockets. LOLOL

    No but seriously, I have a feeling the Royals are the dark horse on this one.
     
  12. superden

    superden Contributing Member

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    You know what I want to see? I want to see Andy get destroyed in the AL and then pick up his option the year after. Sure he would be "healthy" enough to play, but he won't be able to run with the big boys :D That would make the Astros look like a genius.
     
  13. Shroopy2

    Shroopy2 Contributing Member

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    Nolan Ryan left because he was basically shown the door though he expressed interest on returning. The welcome is there for Clemens to come back, but he chooses to soak it all in and create intrigue. Keeping several teams, fans and media in suspense for his long drawn out "difficult decision".
    TOTALLY DIFFERENT circumstance between the two. I'd have to agree the bold part is a bit of an indicator
     
  14. br0ken_shad0w

    br0ken_shad0w Member

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    That sure helped Randy Johnson in the playoffs...
     
  15. Rule0001

    Rule0001 Contributing Member

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    but Randy's not on the juice. It could def. make a difference.
     
  16. Aceshigh7

    Aceshigh7 Contributing Member

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    QFT..
     
  17. Surfguy

    Surfguy Contributing Member

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again...I don't want Roger for a shortened season like we had last season. That basically cost us the playoffs...is how I see it. Granted, there were plenty of other reasons we didn't make the playoffs but having Roger for a full season...I'm pretty sure we would have made it.

    My feelings are if he wants to play a half season or whatever...then just go join your buddy Andy in NY. I want players who want to play the whole season. Half seasons leave a bunch of second guessing when things don't go our way. I don't want to look back on the 2007 season and say "what if Roger pitched the whole season...?".

    It's been swell, Roger. It really has. But, I've had enough of being strung along by your talent. You are no longer just a player. You are a player that gets everything he wants. Sometimes, it just becomes too much. Somewhere along the way...baseball took a back seat to your legacy. I'm tired of it and waiting on you to decide what you will do. I would rather just take my chances without your services.

    Now, if you want to play a full season of baseball, then I welcome you back if Drayton is willing to fork over the money it will take. What is it this time? 20 million? 25 million?
     
  18. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    So you don't want him for a half season.... just because you want him more for a full season?

    C'mon... I understand your reasoning, but if you know you can only have the guy for a half season... vs. nothing at all... would you rather have a full season of Wandy Rodriguez/Nieve/Sampson/Albers in the #4 spot, or a half season of Roger Clemens??? Also, its not like he's only pitching a half season because he wants the team to suck it up without him... he probably can't pitch more than a half season with his body (as it is, he was starting to develop nagging injuries in his half-year last year).

    Its not your money... and we're not going to spend it on anybody else if Roger doesn't come here... so why do you care so much about paying a guy who's still one of the best pitchers in the NL? (not the AL, however). Would you have also supported Nolan Ryan pitching his last no-hitters for the Rangers, simply because he wasn't as good as he used to be?
     
  19. Hakeem06

    Hakeem06 Member

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    I love Roger and I hope he comes back to play next season for the astros because even for half a season, he's worth the money.

    but, like most people i'm tired of this circus every single offseason. it's old now.

    i know he's getting up there in age and he doesn't know if his body can handle it anymore, but i don't like how he strings the astros and all the other teams along. if roger has doubts about his ability to strap it up and compete, he should just retire into the sunset.

    hell, what is there really left for him to accomplish?

    world series ring? check
    cy young? check
    legacy as arguably the best pitcher ever? check
     
  20. msn

    msn Member

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    Got the hapless Astros to a World Series? check
    Cy Youngs in both leagues? check
    Win a WS in Houston? hmmmm... no guarantees there
     
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