Tyler Clippard is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 11 games for the Blue Jays, his eighth team in the last five seasons.
Clippard was 1-5 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 appearances with the Yankees before being traded to the White Sox. The White Sox traded him shortly after to the Astros, who he pitched 16 games for and watched them win the first World Series in franchise history in the dugout.
A two-time All-Star, Clippard entered spring training as a non-roster invitee with Toronto but impressed in March and made the team.
Clippard took a few minutes before Sunday’s game to talk to NY Sports Day.
NYSD: Having been a Yankee, do you find it easier or tougher facing ex-teammates and guys that saw you up close?
TC: Well, early in my career it was really tough. I’ve done it so much now that it’s no big deal. I’ve been bouncing around, I’ve pitched against a lot of my friends and former teammates, so it’s kind of an old hat now at this point.
NYSD: What is it like, seven years with Washington, now this is your eighth team in five years?
TC: Yeah, I mean it’s been crazy the last few years, bouncing around like I have. I guess it’s a good thing teams want you, but at the same time, from a lifestyle standpoint, it’s tough, but no complaints.
NYSD: So hopefully you’re renting and not buying.
TC: Yeah. Always renting. Always renting and always making sure I can get out of my leases and things like that because I know how volatile it can be.
NYSD: Was it different this year in spring training being a non-roster guy as opposed to the usual?
TC: Yeah, very much so. But you know, I think looking back on it, and being here now, I think it’ll help me. Because you get into a routine, and my routine over the last 10 years was pretty much showing up to spring training knowing I had a job, and this year that wasn’t the case. And I think I worked a little bit harder and helped me mentally kind of reset and say ‘nothing is going to be given to you ever in this game.’ And I think that’s going to help.
NYSD: Is there a little something to prove to yourself after some struggles last year?
TC: For sure, yeah. Absolutely, yeah. That’s the thing. It just kind of helped motivate me more to continue to progress and hopefully give me a little more longevity in the game. Because of that, I think that’s ultimately what will happen.
NYSD: When the Yankees traded you last year, did you think ‘well, there goes my chance of winning a World Series in 2017’?
TC: A little bit, yeah. That was the disappointment that was a part of that trade, was I really enjoyed being with that group. We had been together, I got there in ’16, and really saw those young guys coming up and the talent that was there and I wanted to be a part of that. And getting moved to Chicago and knowing they were kind of in a rebuild stage and not knowing what was going to happen, I was like ‘that stinks.’ But at the same time, at that particular moment I was like, you know what, this could be good to kind of get me back on track, and it did. And I landed in Houston and got where I wanted to go.
NYSD: Nice the Yankees traded you with still two weeks to go before the trade deadline so you could get flipped again.
TC: Right. You know that’s a possibility, too. Especially going to Chicago, I knew if I pitched well that was going to be a possibility there because there was really no reason for them to keep me and my salary, especially if I pitched well and another team wanted me. So I knew that was a possibility, I just wanted to make sure I got back on track.