Andy Pettitte has, according to his agents, declined to exercise his 2008 option. While the initial reaction among Yankee fans is one of panic, there’s comparatively little to worry about here. Pettitte will either pitch for the Yankees in 2008 or retire.
Randy Hendricks, his agent, issued the following statement:
“I have spoken with Brian Cashman, who has reiterated what Hank Steinbrenner said about the Yankees wanting to give Andy all the time he needs to decide about next season. Accordingly, we are declining to exercise the option for 2008 and Andy will declare free agency in order to free up a roster spot for the Yankees.
“If Andy decides to play, I am confident we can reach an agreement with the Yankees within 24 hours. The only options, as Andy has stated, are the Yankees or retirement. He appreciates the Yankees’ willingness to give him the time he feels he needs. I do not expect him to make a decision for quite some time.”
Don’t panic. Pettitte isn’t jumping ship. It was anticipated that he would take a little bit longer than ten days to determine his future. I’m still betting he’ll be back.
Update: PeteAbe has a little bit more from Brian Cashman. The Yanks GM has politely asked Pettitte to decide within the next two months. That seems quite reasonable to me.
It’s clear that the Yanks want Andy to stay. They see big things for him in his role as staff ace next year, and his departure could radically change the Yankees’ offseason plans. Johan Santana is just moving higher and higher up their Wish List.
“Obviously we want Andy to stay with the Yanks and pitch for us in ’08,” Cashman said. “In fact I’d say I need him to. He’s an important piece for us.”