There’s a fair bit of anguish being expressed on the airwaves today over the Astros’ refusal to offer salary arbitration to Roger Clemens ; as such, Houston can’t sign the Rocket again until May 1 of next year. With Clemens undecided about whether or not to play in 2006, it’s hard to argue with the Astros’ decision. Given they need to have 25 guys in uniform and the club will struggle to field a competitive team if Clemens’ salary is essentially in escrow (I didn’t wanna use the word “hostage” as Terry Waite might be reading this) while he makes up his mind, I’m not sure they had any other choice.

Peter Gammons has mentioned the possibility of Texas, New York or Boston making a run at Clemens, but I suspect the sun will rise on Opening Day with or without his participation.

Mark Sweeny has signed a 2 year, $1.8 million contract with San Francisco.

Steve Phillips, who seems to talk much faster when he doesn’t have his ESPN colleagues yelling questions at him in a fake news conference setting, claims (as have others) that Billy Beane is no hurry to trade Barry Zito to the Mets or anyone else, knowing that a) the A’s are very much a contender in the AL West and b) Zito could well remain a terrific bargaining chip right up until the trade deadline.

Earlier today, Gammons mentioned the possibility of Shea Hillenbrand and Dave Bush moving from Toronto to Milwaukee in exchange for Lyle Overbay. Even if that trade doesn’t happen, I have a strong suspicion that before his career is over, Hillenbrand is gonna challenge Reggie Sanders (if not Jimmy Jackson) for the number of teams he’s played for.

It would appear as though the mooted Renteria/Lugo/Marte trade involving Boston, Tampa Bay and Atlanta is kaput for the moment, but there’s talk of the Red Sox and Braves doing a mere 2 team trade of Renteria for Marte. Phillips said for the 2nd afternoon in a row that it’s “interesting” the way Renteria is on the block after one season at Fenway, but an MLB leading 30 errors surely have something to do with that.

Gammons claims the Mets are upset about Anna Benson’s appearance on “Cold Pizza”. Either he is being sarcastic or there is at least one other person in America other than Will Leitch that watches the program.