With a recent injury to Chien-Ming Wang and a scare concerning Andy Pettitte’s back, the Yankees acted quickly to shore up their rotation this weekend. On the eve of Opening Night, the Yanks landed future Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. Clemens, who will rejoin the Yanks at the end of April, will help solidify the Yanks’ rotation and should push either Carl Pavano or Kei Igawa off the team.
The move comes as a surprise to those of us following the mundane ins and outs of Spring Training for the last month. In fact, as recently as Thursday, Clemens said he would not decide on his pitching fate until the end of April. But, according to reports, the Yanks overwhelmed Clemens with their multi-million-dollar offer, and the Rocket will once again try to end his career with a World Series victory on the game’s brightest and grandest stage.
While this move seemingly flies in the face of what Brian Cashman has done over the last few months, Spring Training showed us that Phil Hughes was still a few AAA outings away from reaching the Majors, and the Yanks just aren’t confident that Carl Pavano who hasn’t pitched regularly in over two years, and Kei Igawa can stump hitters for 162 games. With Clemens in the rotation, the Yanks will be able to go arm-to-arm with any competitor in the league. And since Clemens is only sticking around for one year, the Yankees don’t need to overextend themselves to win now.
So with Clemens on board, all eyes are turning now to Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Just two hours away from New York City, you can bet that the Yanks’ new AAA with see some record-breaking crowds with Clemens arrives in Pennsylvania for his tune up in a few weeks. And now with Clemens on board, the Yanks are the clear front-runners for the AL East crown. With Opening Day just 33 hours away, the news could not be better for Yankee fans.