But when you consider what Clemens has given to the Astros and what he’s getting back, the team owes him — big time. He is the greatest right-hander and maybe the greatest pitcher of any ilk since at least 1930 and maybe beyond. Despite his age, he’s still getting big-league hitters out with absurd efficiency. Legends like Clemens get more because they deserve it. But what he deserves most of all — another chance to win — the Astros refused to give him.
Clemens’ name came up in trade talks before Monday’s deadline, and the Red Sox were one of the teams that tried to get a deal together for him. If the Astros were so inclined, they could have made it happen. They didn’t.
If McLane were serious about pursuing another trip to the playoffs, I’d understand. But the owner and general manager Tim Purpura could not bring in a bat to fortify the team’s anemic offense. Instead, according to reports, they shopped their two best pitchers — Clemens and Roy Oswalt — along with their closer, Brad Lidge, and even their one legitimate slugger — Morgan Ensberg.
Their target was supposed to be Miguel Tejada, the Orioles’ premier shortstop. Tejada would certainly have added offense to the ’Stros, but offering Oswalt or any of the other players named would have made the deal a wash. More hitting in return for less pitching. The object is to get better, not to tread water.
The Astros are half a team. They can pitch with the best of them, but they can’t hit. Lately, Lidge has been blowing saves, making their situation even worse.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
McLane and Purpura couldn’t get it done. And Clemens is left to pitch in futility.
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