|It seems we haven't seen the last of Roger Clemens in a Sugar Land Skeeters uniform. (Getty Images)|
To the surprise of almost no one, Roger Clemens is poised to carry on with what looks his attempted return to the major leagues. Mark Berman of FOX26 in Houston tweets that Clemens will make another start for the independent-league Sugar Land Skeeters on Friday, Sept. 7.
This, of course, will ramp up speculation that Clemens is setting up a return to the Astros, which, it should be noted, the Astros seems more than amenable to. There's speculation that he could start for the Astros as soon as Sept. 12. The Astros have two homestands left and would like to get him in both, if he does sign. Starting on the 12 would achieve that goal.
In his Skeeters debut, Clemens tossed 3 1/3 scoreless. While he lacked his characteristic velocity and movement and was facing a lineup that was far, far from major-league quality, keeping runs off the board at age 50 is impressive enough.
Still, there's little reason to think a 50-year-old who hasn't pitched in the bigs in five seasons is going to be able to tame the best hitters in the world. To put a finer point on it, should Clemens sign with Houston, then he'll likely be employed by the only team he could survive against on the mound.
So why's he doing this? Maybe it's to calm those inner fires or whatever, but most likely it's to push back the onset of his hall-of-fame eligibility for another five years, which is what a return to MLB would do. That, in turn, would perhaps increase Clemens chances of being evaluated by a new generation of hall-of-fame voters -- a generation less likely to ping him for his alleged PED use. In other words, this reeks of a vanity project.
As our own Jon Heyman has already written, it's hard to see how this makes sense for anyone involved except Clemens himself.