MINNEAPOLIS - "The Red Sox had their chance to pre-empt Roger Clemens's elaborately staged announcement Sunday afternoon that he had agreed to pitch for the New York Yankees again.
Clemens's agent, Randy Hendricks, was in Boston last week for meetings with Sox brass Tuesday and Wednesday
- and had dinner in John W. Henry's box Wednesday night during the Sox-Athletics game when the Sox made their bid for the Rocket.
- It was for a pro-rated $18 million, more than $10 million less than the pro-rated $28 million Clemens agreed to take from the Yankees.
Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, according to club sources, thought Clemens was still days from making a decision - Lucchino believed this Thursday was the operative date - leaving the Sox time to tweak their offer if they chose.
Instead, the next time the Sox heard from the Clemens camp was Sunday afternoon, when general manager Theo Epstein received a courtesy call from Hendricks - a similar one was placed to Houston GM Tim Purpura - informing him Clemens had elected to sign elsewhere.
- And a couple of hours later, there was Clemens, holding a microphone in the box belonging to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, announcing during the seventh-inning stretch of the Yankees-Mariners game that he was putting on pinstripes again, legendary PA announcer Bob Sheppard alerting the crowd of 52,553 ''of a very special announcement.''
The Sox' offer would have paid Clemens $3 million a month; including the tax, the Sox would have paid $4.2 million for the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, who turns 45 in August. Hendricks maintained a factor in Clemens's decision was that the Sox didn't want Clemens until late June and Clemens wanted to come back sooner. Club sources insist that was not the case, and that Hendricks had raised the issue of the timing of the pitcher's return almost as an afterthought.
Club executives, including Epstein and Lucchino, declined to comment. The team released a statement which, in part, read:
- ''We offered a substantial salary and suggested, for health purposes, that Clemens return on approximately the same timetable as last year. Today we learned from Randy that Clemens has signed elsewhere.''
Even if the Sox had been given a chance to make a counter-offer, club sources said there is no way they would have come close to the Yankees' bid. New York's willingness to lay out that kind of money, in the Sox' view, was a reflection of the desperate straits the Yankees were are in, pitching-wise, though the Sox fully anticipated that with or without Clemens, the Yankees would have been tough to beat in the AL East....
- From Boston Globe article by Gordon Edes, 5/6/07, "Yankees go over the Top for Rocket; Sox Offer Falls Short"