Andy Pettitte returns for more material

Andy Pettitte is returning to the Yanks according to the AP. He's taking a huge pay cut, but one wonders if Joe Torre's explosive jeremiad against the Yanks, A-Rod, the Bronx, the fans, my family, your family, everyone's family, and your momma, gave the big lefty ideas about a way to make up for the financial loss. Is Andy's own best-selling tell all now in the making? If I were his agent, I'd recommend he carry around a recorder and notebook and hang out with A-Rod in 2009.

Meanwhile, what the hell is happening to the free agent market? If the article is accurate, Pettitte is only guaranteed to make $5.5 million, with incentives raising his salary another $6.5 million. Seems like a nice deal for the Yanks.

33 comments… add one

  • What an insult!? How dare they? A pay cut and incentives!? Why didn’t he go out to the Dodgers too?
    The incentives are a bit easier for Pettitte to meet than those for Penny or Smoltz, especially with the injuries of the latter. It would be interesting to compare them. I bet Pettitte easily makes $10 million and reaches $12 million if he pitches another 200 innings.
    Great deal for the Yanks.

    Rob January 26, 2009, 5:33 pm
  • So now we begin The Great Rotation & Lineup comparison….
    I’d say the Yanks Rotation and Pen have fewer question marks and more talent, but the Sox Lineup has slightly fewer question marks & more youth.

    Jonathan (yf) January 26, 2009, 5:35 pm
  • The free-agent market done imploded, is what. Of course, when your only stated options are a single team and retirement, it doesn’t give you a lot of leverage.
    Given how many free agents there are still out there and how cheap they seem to be going for right now, I’m thinking of signing one of my own. Brad Wilkerson could really help me around the house the next few months.

    FenSheaParkway January 26, 2009, 5:39 pm
  • Great title, by the way.

    Rob January 26, 2009, 5:45 pm
  • That was funny FenShea.
    I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last, but seriously…
    Bring Manny back, water under the bridge in my opinion. Hell, just tell him it’s another team, he won’t know the difference.

    LocklandSF January 26, 2009, 5:48 pm
  • A good deal for the Yankees, but as a Sox fan I’m a lot happier to see this than to see the Yankees sign Ben Sheets, which was also being tossed around the rumor mill. I know Sheets has gigantic medical red flags, but he’s still got a fantastic arm when he’s healthy and could provide some really good starts out of the #5 spot in the rotation.
    Pettitte, on the other hand, is done as a really good pitcher. I think he can provide a bunch of league-average innings, and some good starts here and there, which is fine as a fifth starter – but I’m not scared of him any more. The Sox can hit him. He’s not going to reinvent himself like Moose did.
    On another note: if the reports of the two-year offer the Sox extended to Varitek are true, why hasn’t he accepted it yet? I cannot believe he is still so delusional as to think he will get anything else even approaching that.

    Micah-SF January 26, 2009, 6:44 pm
  • Yeah, I was just about to bring up the reported Tek contract offer, Micah. Not only is it for $5 million this year, it has a player option for $3 million for the following year, too. I’m sort of surprised that the Sox are even offering that much, given that Tek seems to have nowhere else to go.

    stuck working (sf) January 26, 2009, 7:02 pm
  • Truthfully, you can argue it either way and present a valid case, although a large part of the anti-NYY argument would be based on percieved overuse of CC last year and Burnett’s injury history that didn’t surface last year. Of course Wang’s injury-heavy 2008 carries more concern, but it’s lessened by his age.
    I am a bit more skeptical of the Red Sox rotation now that I was two weeks ago.
    I am surprised there wasn’t more of a market for Pettitte, but he might have limited his options. That’s a good deal for Cashman.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 26, 2009, 7:21 pm
  • Re: Tek: It’s been suggested that he wants to keep money off the table until terms of his divorce are finalized. That way he might not have to pay her so much.
    Dunno if that’s valid, but it sounds plausible, I guess.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 26, 2009, 7:23 pm
  • Sounds like Mrs. Varitek should get a better lawyer then.

    stuck working January 26, 2009, 7:31 pm
  • I suppose that sounds as valid as anything I can think of.
    The big thing about the contract, for me, is that they really do shift Varitek to a part-time role (especially in the second year). The Red Sox aren’t the Yankees financially – a point that has been made once again quite clearly this winter – but they have a lot of resources and can afford to eat some dead money, so if the $3M second year ends up being mostly a waste then so be it. But I’d really like to make sure that they don’t just keep trotting Tek’s rotting bat out there every day (assuming they pick up a young guy to groom) just because “he’s the starting catcher.”
    In other words, if he want to serve as a mentor/backup the second year (and hopefully some of the first year), that’s ok, otherwise the whole thing is tremendously stupid. Thankfully, from what I’ve read I think that’s the idea the Sox are communicating behind the contract.
    I haven’t really sat down and done a thorough compare-and-contrast roster examination yet, so I’ll stay out of that part of the Sox/Yanks argument at the moment.

    Micah-SF January 26, 2009, 8:34 pm
  • Color me unthrilled about the Pettitte deal. I was hoping to see Hughes plugged into that slot, and come what may. Now he’s blocked, and while i’m sure there will be starts found for him, there’s a big difference between spot filling and rotation work. At some point, the Yanks have to let him develop into a pitcher if he’s going to develop into a pitcher. The Jobas of the world—pitchers who can just be slotted into a rotation and thrive at once—are impossibly rare. Hughes might be less than Pettitte in 09, but his chances of becoming valuable down the line are considerable, and i hate to see those chances squandered for what is essentially a marginally better temporary solution, but one with a much more limited upside.

    YF January 26, 2009, 9:04 pm
  • The thing is a marginally better temporary better solution might very well be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs in what is likely to be a very close 3-team race in the AL East.
    Hughes is only 23, so I don’t think another year in the minors or pitching between the minors and the majors in necessarily going to stunt his development or means the Yanks do not see him in their long-term plans.

    Nick-YF January 26, 2009, 10:09 pm
  • “better temporary better”
    My first album name, maybe?

    Nick-YF January 26, 2009, 10:14 pm
  • Anyone else getting the feeling Cashman is losing his job if the Yankees fall one run short of a championship? This is the last few chips all-in being pushed in the pot, good for the Yankees’ 5th slot (if he pitches equal to last year, which was 5th starter quality), bad for the youth. I’d be unimpressed if the Yankees were my team, but am mildly intrigued as a fan of their rival. The odds are also increasing on Hughes getting a slightly better package in exchange for than, you know, Lastings Milledge did.

    Hit Dog January 26, 2009, 11:04 pm
  • I don’t think so – I mean, what can they get back with Hughes to fill which hole? I guess CF is probably the concern, but it’s hard to believe the Yanks will be _that_ short sighted.
    Unless a major non-pitching injury comes up, I guess..

    Lar January 26, 2009, 11:54 pm
  • Jamal G. (from http://www.riveraveblues.com) makes a strong case for Pettitte’s better-than-perceived 2008:
    “*The 6.97 K/9 rate was the second best he has posted in the past four seasons (2006: 7.47).
    *The 2.43 BB/9 rate was the second best he has posted in the last five seasons (2005: 1.66), and the best in the last three.
    *The 2.87 K/BB ratio was the second best he has posted in the last five seasons (2005: 4.17), and the best in the last three.
    *The K/100 rate of 4.83 was well above the average starting pitcher who threw at least 100 big-league innings in 2008 (4.54).
    *The 1.41 WHIP and 3.71 FIP was the best he has posted in the last three seasons.
    *The GB/FB ratio of 1.87 was the best of his last three seasons.
    *The 19.9 LD% was the second-best rate he has posted since the 2002 season (2007: 19.4%).
    *The GB% of 51.5 was the highest it’s been since his 2004 campaign with the Houston Astros (52.8%).
    *The 80.8 Contact Percentage he posted was less than the 2008 A.L. Cy Young winner, Cliff Lee (83.6%); America’s favorite cancer-survivor, Jon Lester (82.6%); Houston ace, Roy Oswalt (82.2%); 2008 breakout star, Gavin Floyd (81.7%); in my opinion, the best starting pitcher in MLB, Roy Halladay (81.5%); 2006 rookie phenom, Justin Verlander (81.4%).
    *Not only did 2008 Andy Pettitte provide nearly $20,000,000 worth of value ($19.9), he actually was 43.7 runs above replacement level. How special is that for an AL East pitcher in his age-36 campaign? Well, that’s more runs above a replacement-level starter than Cole Hamels, James Shields, Chad Billingsley, Felix Hernandez and Matt Cain.
    So, in essence, Andy Pettitte’s 2008 campaign was much, much better than what his 14-14 record, 4.54 ERA and 98 ERA+ might lead you to believe.”
    thanks J.G. for the analysis

    Jonathan (yf) January 27, 2009, 1:37 am
  • I think we could very well see another old-Yankee stalwart turnaround in Pettitte this year. Not so dramatic as Mussina’s, but looking at his peripherals last year, I’d bet on him getting better than him getting worse.

    AndrewYF January 27, 2009, 1:42 am
  • I agree on the marginal benefit given the need to get Hughes and others some major league innings. The only way to learn to pitch to major league hitters is to pitch to major league hitters. Plus, I always like a competition in Spring Training to keep an eye on.
    However, I also see why they did this very well-priced, one-year deal. By 2010, they’ll know better if Joba can stay healthy as a starter and if Pettitte has anything left. And the kids will have had an opportunity to get their feet wet slowly. They also have built in insurance if one of the recent signings gets hurt. I’d be very surprised if Hughes doesn’t get 100 major league innings. And if he doesn’t that means very good things have happened with the team’s pitching. Win-win.
    I do wish they’d trade some of this pitching talent for a decent CF though. The Yanks tend to sit on prospects until they either prove themselves or they lose all value. Flipping them can also be very useful, especially when it’s for another prospect in a needed position. For instance, i can’t see how the Pirates don’t move McLouth for almost ready pitching and one of the Yankee CF prospects not named Jackson.

    Rob January 27, 2009, 6:40 am
  • On Varitek, I can’t see what the Sox are thinking. They could rightly have him on a Zaun-type deal ($2 million for one year). He’s not going anywhere else, at least not before the draft. I suppose they’re being a bit generous, but that’s strange given their stance in previous negotiations of this type. It could be as simple as just trying to get something done. Still, if faced with playing a kid or Bard or Varitek, it seems you guys are rightly worried about the choice Francona will make.

    Rob January 27, 2009, 6:54 am
  • Good move for the Yanks. Sure Hughes is blocked right now, but he’s only 23 and when Burnett hits the DL in June he’ll be ready to come up for a while. Like Nick said above, spending one more year at AAA isn’t going to hurt Hughes.

    Atheose January 27, 2009, 7:59 am
  • “The Yanks tend to sit on prospects until they either prove themselves or they lose all value.”
    Are you serious?

    Lar January 27, 2009, 8:11 am
  • Are you serious?
    Deadly. What was the last prospect for prospect deal they made? I say Javy Vazquez from Montreal. That was six years ago.
    Right now, that’s the only way to upgrade in CF. And they have the pitching to do it. Time to roll the dice and solve CF for at least 2009. A guy like Kemp could play there over the next year or two then move to a corner.

    Rob January 27, 2009, 8:32 am
  • One more note on Pettitte: I wonder if the vastly improved defense at 1B would tend to help him more. Do lefties tend to pull his pitches with righties going the other way? That would at least explain the discrepancy between his ERA and FIP.
    Any one know where to find hitting charts against pitchers?

    Rob January 27, 2009, 8:37 am
  • I understand YF’s point, but there is a definite benefit to having a guy like AP in the #4 slot. Without AP in the rotation the back half is Joba and ______. The ______ is Aceves, Hughes, Johnson, Kennedy, etc…All guys that (in theory) probably wouldn’t give you much length. That means you’d get back to back starts (sometimes on back to back days) from Joba(a guy on an innings limit) and a _______ who you know you’d be thrilled with if you got you 6 innings out of, but would bet your house it’s more like 5 or less. That’s a lot of work for your bullpen on back to back days, over the course of the season that would take a toll. By signing AP they can slot him into the #4 and push Joba to #5. Now Joba is surrounded by two (historically) horses. AP is a guy the Yankees are obviously not going to care about innings limit with and they wouldn’t be worried about leaving him out there down 5-0 in the 3rd to take one on the chin and save the pen.
    Sure I’d love to see Hughes pitch this year and get his chance, but this team is built for the right now and this move is best for right now. Hughes will get his chance next year if he’s not traded. One thing I will say is, no need to keep him with the big club if he’s going to be the 6th man. Let him throw in Scranton until June or until needed, then bring him up. Let Aceves fill that spot starter/long man role, let Hughes continue to refine and grow.
    As for the comment about holding on to prospects too long,etc…that’s the case for a lot of teams not just the Yankees. Ask the Cubs what they thought Felix Pie was going to be 2 seasons ago? He was untouchable. Lastings Milledge? Jeff Francouer? Homer Bailey? Prospects are just that prospects, them panning out is a crap shoot. In Hughes case his value is not gone, he still has good stuff. The Mets aren’t going to give us Santana for Hughes and Melky, but such is life in the world of prospects.

    John - YF January 27, 2009, 8:50 am
  • I don’t think you make a move for a CF’r until you exhaust all your in house options first and see what team you will be putting on the field on opening day. As currently constructed the Yankees lineup (with a Nady/Swish platoon in RF and Melky/Gardner platoon in CF) combined with the new (adding AP) pitching staff, should be good enough to win. See what the M/G platoon can give you then go from there. Also, you need to see what Posada can give you 1st. If he cannot catch, he then gets slotted into the DH spot and you then have WAY to many OF’s. Then you have the surplus OF’s to deal for an upgrade in CF OR a more serviceable offensive catcher. I say sit on what you have until you see what you truly need, right now CF is just a hole on paper and games aren’t played on paper. (Also if they got real desperate they could throw defense out the window and put Swish in CF IF he is hitting the ball well) Lots of options, just be patient.

    John - YF January 27, 2009, 8:59 am
  • Good point on Joba being surround by length. Though that sounds like the makings of a gay porno.
    Goldman says you don’t assume you can let one position be below average cause you never know what will will happen with the other positions. If one or two other hitters have sub-par years, you’re looking at three blackholes. That’s what happened in 2008 and given the state of Jorge versus Molina and questions about Cano, Swisher, and even Jeter, I don’t think you can assume the lineup will be good enough.
    But sure, Hughes isn’t going to lose value in AAA at his age…unless he gets hurt again.
    I’d rather see Damon in CF though over Swisher. A weak arm means one extra base. Smallish range means two or more.

    Rob January 27, 2009, 9:16 am
  • However you want to position them, my point was if Swish was hitting well by June then you can make a move and find an everyday spot for him. If that’s LF, so be it.
    You are right that long term the Yankees can’t leave a below average CF platoon out there but we won’t know if they are below average until we see them play. Give them ST and then a couple months, if they are not getting it done you make a deal. I just think you have to wait and see what you are getting out of Posada before you can make a move for any other position players. It’s realistic to think that he may not catch early on in the season, that throws a wrench in the Yankees plans for sure.

    John - YF January 27, 2009, 9:21 am
  • See, I agree with you on the corner outfielders and DH. I just don’t think CF impacts that situation all that much. You don’t want either Damon or Swisher out there more than once or twice a week. If anything, Posada at DH means Matsui is expendable since he shouldn’t be playing defense at all. The two of them would basically fight over the DH slot. Furthermore, the shoulder injury sapped Jorge’s power. If he’s not good enough to catch, he likely won’t be good enough to hit.
    Here’s the thing on Hughes and Kennedy. Say they’re both fine at AAA. But they get called up during random stretches and stink up the joint again. Then what? That actually does hurt their value, and even more so if they get hurt. Your point on prospects is correct, but it’s the intermediate case you’re missing. Pie had more value last year. If they had moved him then, they could have gotten more in return. The Yanks could have had Santana last year for Hughes and Melky. If it’s Kemp this year, then that’s a move they should make in a heartbeat.

    Rob January 27, 2009, 9:36 am
  • I understand your point, trust me…I am not a huge prospect guy (odd coming from a HS coach, LOL) I think you should always trade at MAX value, so I am with you. All I am saying is let’s just see how the first few months pan out, then make a move if needed. You are spot on Hughes and Kennedy can only improve their standing with good showings in Scranton. I am fine with making a move AND giving up SP’ing or where there is a surplus (OF’s) to fill a hole, but just not yet. Overall we are agree though. Another good example of this, they most hyped prospect in the past few seasons Delmon Young…also Brandon Wood (45 HR’s in the minors, the next Cal Ripken, Bla Bla Bla…) More often than not these guys don’t reach the status they are penciled in for.
    As for Posada, I would disagree. Everything I read and heard (Cashman on 1050) said that his type of shoulder injury should not take away from his hitting. Remember he could have hit for the remainder of the season had they not DL’d him, but they wanted to start the long rehab process. Now, he might not be the 2007 Jorge, but chances are good he wasn’t going to be that anyway.

    John - YF January 27, 2009, 9:53 am
  • Um, they just this past season traded Tabata and others for Nady. 2 years before that they traded a couple minor leaguers for Abreu. Just because they’ve held onto their blue-chippers doesn’t mean they’ve stopped trading prospects.

    Mark January 27, 2009, 10:00 am
  • Um, they just this past season traded Tabata and others for Nady. 2 years before that they traded a couple minor leaguers for Abreu.
    I said: What was the last prospect for prospect deal they made?
    The deals you mention were for known commodities. Big difference. Same too with the Unit, Clemens, and A-Rod deals. If you want to call Vazquez that in 2003, then the last prospect for prospect deal would have been Weaver.
    In fact, I think it’s because of the Vazquez and Weaver deals that Cashman only wants to trade prospects for knowns. The problem there is you won’t get younger or cheaper doing so. If anything, all of those known-type deals made them older. Those deals have a place but they shouldn’t be the only acquisition strategy besides free agents.
    Basically, I want a Kemp or a McLouth. The only way to get them is to move Hughes or Kennedy (plus more, of course).
    That is funny coming from high school coach! Yup, we’re really close, I’m just a bit more impatient. I will say though that another factor is if Kemp or McLouth get out to a hot start, they probably become untradeable. By contrast, if they get off to a slow start it will be hard to justify acquiring them. The interesting thing about the Winter is that it has a way of pressing reset on fans’ emotional commitments to players.
    As for Posada, here are his monthly SLG splits in 2008:
    April – .476
    June – .444
    July – .262

    Rob January 27, 2009, 10:39 am
  • I missed the prospect-to-prospect part of the statement, but ya, don’t really have to look far to see the Yanks trading away prospects..

    Lar January 27, 2009, 11:12 am

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