Roger Clemens agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros on Wednesday. Despite his on-going training efforts, he'll require at least three minor league starts, with the first coming in roughly a week. Assuming everything goes smoothly, he could return to the majors by the end of the month.
This is a great boon for the Astros' rotation, and a potential treasure for whatever fantasy owners picks him up. How much of your free-agent budget should you set aside for The Rocket? Personally, I'd do whatever it takes, even if it means blowing the whole wad, assuming, of course, that your league allows you to make $0 bid free agent moves the rest of the way. And if you don't play in a league that uses a FAAB budget, well, there's no question that he's worth the No. 1 waiver spot, if you've been holding onto it.
Why am I so confident that Clemens will be worth so much? In my book, FAAB money means nothing if you don't spend it, and there isn't another player out there that could make the impact for half the year like Clemens will. It's basically like getting an extra pick high in the draft. Looking at the Roto Times Player Rater, Clemens "earned" about $40 in a 12-team, NL-only league last season. Even if he earns half that this year, $20 players just don't come along on the free agent wire very often, especially in deep leagues where most of the top prospects are already on fantasy rosters. So doing whatever it takes to get Clemens will give you a frontline pitcher to use the rest of the way, or one more bargaining chip to trade to improve your team elsewhere.