I was in town Thursday and part of Friday. Before I left Cincinnati to go work in Cleveland Sat/Sun I had lunch at the boathouse with two of Houston's execs. Both of them have had direct dealings with Roger and his agents this season and past seasons. Although there is supposed to be no negotiations before May 1, Clemens has a deal in place with Houston that could be announced May 1. However, the Astros are not expecting to announce anything in the next few weeks. They do expect him June 1.
My first question to them was why Roger seen courting other teams? Directly, without hesitation, the answer was simple. Roger, no matter what he has said publicly, can not stand to be out of the spotlight. The Rangers practically made him Mayor of Arlington for the better part of three days. He craves that type of MEGA star attention. He is beyond Superstar status and has a cult like following in Houston. He is simply not ready to give that up. They both commented that Bagwell is suffering from the same predicament. Neither can adjust to a "regular" life.
I asked both of them about the recent Baseball Tonight piece that speculated he was going to Boston. They both kind of laughed and said that in Boston or anywhere else he can't have the "lifestyle" he desires. New York will not allow him to stay at home between starts. Texas may give him all of the lattitude he wants but he is very close to many of the Astros. Being able to pitch and stay home to play with the kids seems to be a big deal. Roger is leaning toward coming back in June so that he can finish strong. He figures to make between 16-20 starts including the post season. Roger feels he can be "dominant" during that span.
I did ask if Roger had the ability to change his mind. They did say that obviously he is not under contract "at this moment" but they do not forsee him backing out. Clemens and his agent are the ones who came back to the table and gave the parameters of the deal.
I saw Graves pitch tonight. THAT HAIR!! Geez.