Roger Clemens Comes out of Retirement, Rejoins Astros

Roger Clemens will be pitching for the Astros again this year.

Roger Clemens is coming out of retirement for the third time, agreeing to a contract to pitch for the Houston Astros for the rest of 2006. The 43-year-old Clemens, who will be entering his 23rd major league season, is agreeing first to a minor league contract that pays $322,000 over the five-month minor league season, and his first start is likely to be June 6 at Lexington, Ky., the Class A team where his oldest son, Koby, plays. If all goes well, his second minor league start would be June 11 at Double-A Corpus Christi, Texas, followed by a start June 16 at Triple-A Round Rock, Texas.

Clemens announced his return Wednesday at a news conference. “The ball’s in my court now,” he said. “This was a difficult decision on my part in a number of situations. I have to now take the next step and get my body ready to come back, get effective, win games.”

When he is added to the major league roster, he’ll get a one-year, $22 million contract — actually, the contract would be worth $22,000,022 (Clemens’ uniform number is 22). But because he won’t be playing the full season, he’ll receive a prorated percentage of that, which would come to about $12.25 million if he rejoins Houston in late June. The tentative goal is to have him start against the Minnesota Twins on June 22; if he’s put on the big league roster that day, he would earn $12,632,307.


Clemens won his seventh Cy Young Award in 2004, going 18-4 with a 2.98 ERA. He went 13-8 with a 1.87 ERA last year, winning the major league ERA title for the first time since 1990.

Clemens is already the greatest pitcher of his generation–and I say that as a Braves/Greg Maddux fan and has all the accolades and championships anyone could ask for. Still, there’s no reason for him to hang it up while he’s still a truly dominant pitcher, even if he is geriatric by Major League standards.

OTB Sports

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. RogerD says:

    Although Clemens embarasssed himself in the World Series, he certainly still has the numbers to remain in the league.

    It all depends on whether he is actually healthy. Given the fact that he finished last season with an injury and that he missed Spring Training, it will be interesting to see if he can still actually pitch.

  2. Mark says:


    He pitched in the WBC, so he is healthy. And now that he only has to pitch for essentially half a season, he should be in fine form if the Astros make the post season.

    As for me, I would LOVE a deal where I could work part-time and receive $12 million 🙂

  3. RogerD says:

    Thanks for the info, Mark. More power to him! I didnt pay much attention to the WBC.

    Clemens is already the greatest pitcher of his generation�and I say that as a Braves/Greg Maddux fan and has all the accolades and championships anyone could ask for.

    Maddux has a better ERA and, while he has less wins, he also has been in the league fewer years.

    I would rank Maddux’s accomplishment higher since he has played his entire career in the National League. The AL pitchers don’t play the “full” game. Im not blaming Clemens, just that batting puts more wear and tear on the body.

  4. Maniakes says:

    RogerD, I’d suspect the wear and tear of 2-3 plate appearances every fifth day is balanced by AL pitchers not having an automatic out every time though the lineup, and AL pitchers tending to go deeper in games because managers never pinch hit for them.

  5. ICallMasICM says:

    Thank God the Red Sox didn’t sign him. Houston is crazy for signing him for that kind of money prorated or not. They’re 7.5 back now and he won’t pitch for at least 3 weeks. He claims he’s in shape now but hasn’t pitched in competition for 2-3 months. Good luck to him, I hope he comes back and is fantastic but if he comes back and is not so fantastic it’s going to be an ugly thing to see.

    Roger I’d have to respectfully disagree with you. Maddux was certainly more consistent but pitching in the NL is a lot easier than the AL. Not only is there no automatic out in the AL it’s HR derby all the time. You get to hide 1 Giambi, Ortiz, Hafner, Thomas at DH and since there’s no sense in playing for 1 run so they’re not giving away any outs sacrificing. I’m not saying one league is better than the other but all AL teams load up and there are a lot of bandboxes in the AL. It’s just a tougher league to pitch in.

  6. allison says:

    sad for clemens, he wants to see those poor Astros win a World Series SOOOOOO bad, sad for Houston really…….12 mill for another chance to make it into the series. Give it up boys……GO CARDS!!!!!