Thursday Pinch-Hit QOTD: Rocket or Pickpocket?

Thursday, January 20 2005 @ 12:19 PM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Today, self-described "avid Bauxite reader/poster" Marc provides us with a short essay and QOTD on a topic nobody in the entire city of Toronto has any opinions about at all. Nope, none. That's right, it's a fond editorial and question directed at the topic of "Rocket" Roger Clemens. Read on and post your thoughts, gentle Bauxites. Admit it -- Marc's headline alone makes you want to comment, right?

Rocket or Pickpocket?
Pinch-Hit Contribution by Marc Hulet

So Roger Clemens wants $22 million. He (or his agent) wants to set a record for arbitration, besting the previous mark achieved by Derek Jeter, when he asked for (and received) $18.5 million in 2001.

Winning the Cy Young award last season, after initially announcing his intention to retire, was one of the best stories of 2004. After all, how many 41-year-old pitchers in their 21st season have been considered the best pitcher in their league -- not to mention struck out more than 200 batters or won 18 games?

Last season, Clemens took a hometown discount to play for his beloved Houston Astros for a mere $5 million, or half of what he made the previous year with the New York Yankees. That discount will not happen again. Now keep in mind that this is a man who has made more than $100 million over the span of his career.

So is this $22 million an ego thing? Could he possibly need the money? Or is he setting himself up for an excuse not to come back after a season that showed he has more left in his tank than do most 27-year-old pitchers still in their primes?

The Astros are in an interesting situation, very much between a rock and a hard place. After their failed pursuit of Carlos Beltran, fans know that they have the $22 million available, so if Clemens fails to come back to Houston, it will appear as though the front office and ownership dropped the ball.

The flip side of this arbitration debate is whether or not this outrageous request will soil Clemens' image. It is easy to understand Clemens not wanting to take a significant pay cut again, but is $22 million even reasonable? It is more than double the salary he made in any other season in his career.

Which brings us to today's ...

Question of the Day: Will Clemens' legacy, when his career is finally over, be that of one of the best pitchers ever in the game -- period -- or that of a great pitcher who, as we see far too often in professional sports, got greedy?

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