ROGER, OVER AND OUT
Nowhere was "fiscal insanity" more evident than in Winter Haven, Fla., where the American League champion Red Sox started their exhibition season without Cy Young Award winner and MVP Roger Clemens and All-Star catcher Rich Gedman. Management curiously chose to make an example of Clemens, who was 28 days shy of rights to arbitration. After keeping the agents for Clemens, Alan and Randy Hendricks, waiting all day on March 4, G.M. Lou Gorman offered Clemens a $400,000 contract—a $60,000 raise for going 24-4, leading the team into the World Series and helping the ownership make a lot of money.
Even before Clemens left the Red Sox complex on Friday, the club distributed a press release claiming he wouldn't negotiate. But, in effect, it was the club that said, "We don't have to negotiate because we can renew you." What made Clemens walk out was a subsequent offer of $500,000—half of what Boston is paying Bob Stanley. Fiscal responsibility is fine, but Roger Clemens?
It seems that some clubs want to beat their players at hardball even more than they want to turn back inflation. In Boston's case, the priorities seem especially out of whack. Clemens and Gedman are model citizens off the field and workaholics on it. Meanwhile, the Sox are on the line for $775,000 to Tim Lollar; they owe Stanley $1 million a year for three years; and they gave Marc Sullivan, a .193 hitter and the son of co-owner Haywood Sullivan, a 36% raise from $110,000 to $150,000, virtually the same salary the Cardinals give to base-stealer Vince Coleman.
There are a few signs of a thaw for the free agents. On March 6 agent Dick Moss and Cub G.M. Dallas Green ended their verbal battle over Andre Dawson when Green agreed to Moss's offer to sign a blank contract. Green filled in the blanks at $500,000 guaranteed salary, with an added $150,000 if the great outfielder with the bad knees doesn't go on the disabled list before the All-Star break. The Phillies have a uniform waiting for Lance Parrish, but they're still trying to iron out the clause that will prevent Parrish from suing baseball for collusion. The Padres and Braves are only now warming to the N.L. batting champion Tim Raines, who understandably doesn't want to take a $400,000 pay cut from his $1.5 million '86 salary. In the meantime, Parrish is working out in California with fellow free-agent catcher Bob Boone, while Raines is practicing with his old Seminole High School team in San ford, Fla.
A major side issue in this war is the animosity toward agents Tom Reich (who represents Raines and Parrish) and Moss (who represents Jack Morris, as well as Dawson). Said Oakland G.M. Sandy Alderson, "If Dick Moss had Babe Ruth, I still wouldn't talk to him."
Some executives insist that George Steinbrenner is shopping Dave Win field around for a quality starting pitcher, even though 10-and-5 man Win field can refuse a trade and has stated he doesn't want to leave New York....
The Phillies may sit and wait for Parrish, but their other big problem is a highly questionable starling staff. Kevin Gross, their one shot for 240 innings, has a herniated disc, and though he has resumed throwing, he is a prime candidate for a blowout. While the Phils study Marvin Freeman and Steve Carlton, they are also inspecting available starters like the Twins' Mike Smithson, the Dodgers' Alejandro Pena and Oakland's Chris Codiroli....
Toronto minor league pitching instructor Dave LaRoche, who worked for the Yankees last year, thinks his old club may have given up more pitching than it got in the Rick Rhoden trade. "Brian Fisher and Logan Easley could be outstanding relief closers and Doug Drabek could win as many games  as Rhoden did last year," LaRoche says of the three pitchers sent to the Pirates....
But with Ron Guidry virtually certain to return to New York and the addition of Rhoden, the Yankee rotation may yet have the stability it lacked last season. In addition, Rickey Henderson says he'll start bunting for base hits again to improve an average that fell 51 points last year. He gave up the bunt after being hit in the eye during errant attempts in 1980 and 1982. "There just have not been many good bunters with his power," says Yankee adviser Clyde King....
According to an old Astro teammate, James Rodney Richard now weighs in the neighborhood of 400 pounds....
The Indians gave 44-year-old Mike Marshall, now the St. Leo College baseball coach, one final tryout this winter, but Marshall's fastball only hit 72 mph.
The Dodgers have been pursuing Indians centerfielder Brett Butler, but their offering of pitchers Tom Niedenfuer and Jerry Reuss and outfielder Ken Landreaux is as insulting as it is impractical. Oh, well, Peter O'Malley has lopped about $1.5 million off his payroll. That is more important than signing Tim Raines, and winning....
The Braves are trying to dump Rafael Ramirez and Glenn Hubbard to free cash for Raines....
A British cricketer named Ian Pont—a Dave Smith look-alike who throws a cricket ball farther than anyone in Great Britain—is touring the Florida camps, asking for a minor league contract as a pitcher. "The difficult thing is the motion," says Pont, who tried out last year with the Yankees and has been looked at by Toronto, Texas, Philadelphia and L.A. "A cricket bowler's elbow has to be stiff, and when I worked out in Texas, they made me bend my elbow. As a result, I had some arm problems."...
The Blue Jays and Braves are talking about going to London for two exhibition games in the spring of '88....
Len Barker wishes he had Pont's problems. Now in the Expos' camp, the former All-Star pitcher can't straighten his arm out at all....
The A's are very impressed by Mark McGwire, their 6'5" rookie third baseman, who is making a strong bid to move Carney Lansford to first base.
BETWEEN THE LINES
AT LEAST THEY AVOIDED DIVORCE COURT
Blue Jays rookie pitcher Luis Aquino was set to be married on March 1 and even posed for pictures with his bride-to-be in her gown and a Blue Jays cap for the front page of the Feb. 22 Toronto Star. Unfortunately, the night before the wedding, Aquino got into an argument with his future father-in-law at the bridal dinner and the whole thing was called off.
WAIT TILL THE AS PLAY THE TIGERS...
Oakland rookie catcher Scott Hemond called the Domino's in Phoenix for a pizza one night and was told he lived one house outside the delivery area. He said he would go stand in the driveway of the house next door. When the store still refused to deliver, he drove off to pick it up himself, only to be broadsided by another car. Hemond suffered a broken nose and other facial injuries. Nevertheless, he is back playing for the A's.
THE PADRES WOULD LOVE HIM
Rookie Reds third baseman Chris Sabo takes a great deal of ribbing from teammates who remember he worked at the McDonald's next to Al Lopez Field in Tampa when he was in the Instructional League in 1985. "We used to go watch him flip hamburgers on the 5-to-11 shift," says pitcher Hugh Kemp.
THE DODGER FAMILY
When Los Angeles reliever Ken Howell's contract negotiations were over—he had to accept a $5,000 cut, to $170,000—Howell turned to general manager Al Campanis and asked, "The team finished fifth and you put the team together, so did you take a pay cut?"
THE CALVIN COOLIDGE JULIUS CAESAR TUSKAHOMA McLISH NAMES OF THE WEEK
•The Astros have a minor league infielder named Andujar Cedeno.
•Avon Park (Fla.) High has a lefthander certain to be drafted in June whose name is Little Anthony Gordon.
•Twins general manager Andy MacPhail and outfielder Billy Sample played against one another when they were on the Dickinson College and James Madison University baseball teams, respectively.
•The guy wearing Tom Seaver's old uniform number, 41, at Boston's camp is batting practice catcher Kyle Sullivan, the younger son of Haywood Sullivan.
•Expo players have nicknamed club president Bill Stoneman "10A." It is provision 10A of the standard contract that Stoneman invokes when he renews players with less than three years of experience.
•In the Giants' first exhibition game, the Brewers batted around in the six-run third inning of a 13-2 rout. In the next inning Roger Craig looked up into the stands and spotted owner Bob Lurie, sound asleep.