In what certainly qualifies as one of the least surprising news stories of the season, Roger Clemens has agreed to a one-year (er, four-month) deal with the Houston Astros.
The seven-time Cy Young Award winner ended his seven-month retirement by accepting a deal that will pay him approximately $14 million — the pro-rated value of a $21 million seasonal contract — to pitch for the Astros for the balance of the current season.
The decision came after months of soul searching by Clemens and weeks of waiting by the Astros, Yankees and Red Sox, who had tendered offers to the right-hander in recent weeks. The Rangers were also in the hunt until they were informed on Friday that they were no longer in the running for Clemens.
Now that Brett Favre has decided to come back, Ricky Williams’ latest suspension has been upheld, and Clemens’ latest unretirement is official, we can all, thankfully, get on with our lives.
What does this mean for the Astros? Well, at 27-26, they’re only 6.5 games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central, and there’s still plenty of baseball to be played. Clemens, who went 13-8 last year despite an MLB-best 1.87 ERA, rejoins a rotation that includes former 20-game winners Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte, and Astros fans are no doubt hoping Clemens’ return will take some pressure off of Pettitte, who is currently struggling with a 5.65 ERA in 12 starts. Clemens will reportedly make a few minor-league appearances before taking the mound for Houston on June 22 against the Twins.
Gee, what story is going to lead off SportsCenter on June 23?