Amid all the fluff and flutter about this pitcher being worth what, little has been mentioned about a certain Rocket, aka Roger Clemens, who might, just might, be in the middle of frittering away a legitimate chance at 400 wins. With 348 as of today, it doesn’t take much to see Clemens’ retire/unretire act costing him a solid 10 wins last season, and that would have put him only 42 wins away from essentially becoming only the third, and almost certainly the last pitcher to make it to 400 wins. Oh, and along the way, he would be cementing his claim as THE GREATEST PITCHER OF ALL TIME.
Even with all the horseshit, he’s still just 52 wins away, which, given his current level of performance, would take him three good, solid seasons to get. Nolan Ryan pitched at a pretty high level those last couple of seasons. He finished at, what, 46? Clemens has been much better than that, and he’s only 43 right now. If he just pitched until he was 46, I bet he’d either be there, or he’d be close enough that it would be a no-brainer to come back for at 47 to win the two or five games he’d need.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I really love seeing history made. If I were in the Clemens camp, I’d make damn sure he knew that he was within striking distance of an accomplishment most thought we’d never see again.
UPDATE: After posting this, I took a quick look at Ryan’s stats, and, uh, Doh!! Ryan had 301 strikeouts and only 98 walks in 1989 as a 42-year old(!). He was just as impressive in his forties as Clemens has been. Basically, he and Clemens could be said to have been on a very similar career path up until now, and Ryan started 27 games and went 12-6 as a 44-year old. After that, he couldn’t stay healthy, so Clemens would need to out-Ryan Ryan to reach the promised land. Those 8 or 10 wins he missed by not playing until the middle of last season would seem to be the deal breaker, because at his age, (not unlike Bonds missing the 2005 season) the one thing you cannot overcome is missed time.