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Baseball Told the Right WayIn-depth Baseball analysis on various topics regarding the sport we all love!
The best pitcher in baseball?
I already claimed Clemens is the best pitcher of his generation. I stick by that. But one year contracts are not rewards. Despite being a legitimate freak of nature, Clemens is still 43 years old.
This 43 year old legend just received $18M to pitch one season. Eighteen million is a lot for any pitcher, and it makes Clemens the highest paid pitcher in the history of baseball.
Did I mention he is 43?
Lets forget about his age for a moment. Lets just pretend Clemens is ageless, because he sure seems to be one of the rare breed of pitchers who can ignore the inevitable. With that said, before last season, Clemens looked like a pitcher who was a pretty good lock to give you 30 starts with an ERA a little under four.
Then Clemens went out and won his seventh (SEVENTH!) Cy Young award, posting a 2.88 ERA and 18 wins. Pretty good season, but it wasn't even the best in baseball. There were probablly at least five or six (maybe as many as eight) pitchers who had better seasons in 2004.
I don't want to spend any time arguing about the relative values of every pitchers' season, but lets not ignore the fact that despite all the press, the awards, and the hype, Clemens wasn't even the best pitcher in baseball. Yet, now he is being paid as such.
Why would Houston throw all this money at Clemens? Why did Houston, as many people claim, give Clemens the exact opposite of a hometown discount?
Courtesy of ESPN, in Clemens' home starts, the Astros averaged 39,524 fans. In home games when Clemens did not start, the Astros averaged 37,014. For a moment lets ignore that most of those seats were cheaper upper deck seats and assume that they were all sold at the average price at the Juicebox for $28.88. In that case, Roger Clemens himself could claim to have increased the Houston Astros revenue by $24M.
Twenty-four million. Sounds an awful lot like the $22M that Clemens agent originally asked for. When you look at it that way, Clemens is probablly worth a few of those pennies.
Maybe Clemens didn't personally account for $24M in extra ticket sales. Maybe it was only fifteen, or ten, or maybe it was only five. But, how many Roger Clemens jerseys do you think they sold?
All I know is that Astros owner Drayton McLane has always been very stingy with his money. He has never spent beyond his means, always kept a payroll hovering at a competitive but fiscally responsible level. He refused to give Carlos Beltran an inordinate amount of money to keep him, and now he drops a seemingly ridiculous contract on a 43 year old pitcher.
All I really want to say is that based on his track record, I have to believe McLane knows exactly what he is doing. I'm going to go on a limb and say Roger Clemens will increase McLane's revenue by AT LEAST eighteen million, and I'll even go so far as to say that Drayton McLane just made a profit by giving a 43 year old pitcher eighteen million to play a kids game.
You have to spend money to make money.