Why I love Andy Pettitte

Yankee-killer heads to Houston
For the Red Sox fan who has everything

Some of you might have caught my interview at YanksBlog.com, in which I said that my favorite Yankees, past or present, is Andy Pettitte. Today, he reaffirmed my sentiments:

“I guess there has been a lot of speculation that we need a true power arm, ace or whatever. I disagree with that,” he said. “I think Wang is an absolute stud. I think he is an ace. I understand he struggled in the postseason but that’s going to happen. I’ve struggled in the postseason before then come back and pitched extremely well. … To say we need (Santana) to be successful, that’s hard for me to say.”

Preach on, Brother Andy.

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Yankee-killer heads to Houston
For the Red Sox fan who has everything
  • E-ROC

    Amen, my brotha!

  • Count Zero

    You go, Andy!

  • Brian

    That’s awesome. I’m confused about the 40-man, though. We have 41 up and Pavano is in negotiation regarding the Minor League deal (what there is to consider, I don’t know), but how much time is allowed for this sort of thing? Must we DFA somebody by the end of the day if Pavano does not agree?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      I’m pretty sure we have 40 men. Sardinha was DFAd when Pettitte accepted arbitration.

      • Brian

        You’re right. MLB.com hasn’t taken Sardinha off. So we have three spots (A-Rod, Rivera, Hawkins) to open up.

  • CB

    Once again Andy showing his value as leader of the pitching staff. This off season must have been very hard on Wang – all reports say that he felt awful about letting the team down in the playoffs.

    Wang’s in a strange place in hi career. Comes up at 25, unheralded, and turns out to be the best homegrown arm since Andy. And one of the best pitchers in baseball.

    But then most of what people bring up about Wang are his deficiencies – how he is not Johan Santana, Beckett, etc.

    I don’t know of any other Yankee who gets held up to such a standard. It’s not like people are constantly knocking Abreu because he’s not Vlad or Matt Holiday.

    • Alex Rodriguez

      I don’t know of any other Yankee who gets held up to such a standard.

      HI!

      • Count Zero

        LOL

      • CB

        Alex Rodriguez gets held up to his own standard. He is constantly compared to himself in that his playoff performance is compared to his regular season performance. Even when he’s compared to guys like Papi – its not because people think Papi is better than him – its the argument that ARod is not clutch enough.

        No one is comparing ARod to other player’s based on talent.

        When have you ever heard ARod being compared to another player in the game and it being said that well ARod isn’t “on that level?: Or that ARod is a notch below?

        He’s universally regarded as one of the two best players in the game. His constant knock is with his playoff performance. Even last year the whole “he’s not clutch” argument vanished in the regular season.

        ARod’s only barometer is himself.

  • MS

    I like Pettitte too, but hopefully he isn’t on the Mitchell report tomorrow.

  • Ivan

    MArques Utica, NY : What’s Jose Tabata’s ceiling, higher than Jackson’s?

    Chris: (2:20 PM ET ) Ceiling, yes. Body, no. Right now, I think Jackson is more on track to reach his ceiling than Tabata. I like Tabata’s tools, I just have a lot of questions about his weight, the lack of power and how he comes back from the hamate surgery. Not that the hamate thing is that big of a deal, b/c there’s a strong track record of guys coming back–I’m just mildly concerned. And obviously I’m skeptical of Tabata having the makeup and drive to be the best player he’s capable of being.

    Interesting. I remember there was questions about his makeup, like not hustling groundballs or being lazy (I can see why they compare him to manny)

    • steve (different one)

      if he turns out to be the exact same player as Manny, everyone here would be ecstatic.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    I like what Pettitte says here because it’s basically the first time anyone’s rushed to Chien-Ming Wang’s defense this off-season. Posada was quick to call for an ace, and other fans and commentators haven’t been too kind to Wang this off-season after two disastrous starts in October.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Exactly the point. It’s not that Andy agrees with my philosophy of not needing Santana. It’s that he’s sticking up for his teammates, something Jorge didn’t do.

      • TurnTwo

        but can we blame Jorge for being honest? Its just pointing out the elephant in the room.

        • yankz

          How many postseason series have the Twins won with Santana?

          • TurnTwo

            this mentality is as foolish as saying the Yankees NEED an Ace to win a playoff series.

            of course the yankees coule win a playoff series with a bunch opf middle of the rotation pitchers… and yeah, the twins werent exactly world beaters, even with the best pitcher in the league on their team…

            but the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The Twins just havent had an offense to support the other 4 pitchers in the Twins staff enough to carry them through the season, let alone a playoff series when they face good teams… and the yankees offense has been stifled by other teams who have had dominating performances.

            but you cant argue that obtaining a true ace like Johan, and that is what he is, would be detrimental to this club.

            • Tom G.

              Yeah, getting Santana would help any club in baseball win more games, and he is a better pitcher than Wang. That being said, disregarding Wang as a middle of the rotation pitcher is a bit off base; he has won more games in his first two complete seasons than any pitcher in baseball during that span. He has a he has a low k/9 ratio. OK. He was projected to come down to earth last season, but ended up doing the same thing he did in 2006. He’s an anomaly.

              The reason he was in a position to fail so spectacularly in the postseason, and spectacularly he did fail, was there wasn’t any dependable pitching outside of him and Pettitte. This team can win with Wang at the top of the rotation.

  • steve (different one)

    maybe Posada should be looking at the elephant that is his career postseason line of .236/.352/.379.

    i love posada, but baseball is a team game.

    • TurnTwo

      its a team game, but can be dominated by a single player when they are good enough.

      • yankz

        You contradict yourself constantly. Santana, in your view, is the dominating pitcher that can take over a game. But he wasn’t enough to win series for the Twins because their offense sucked. Which one is it?

  • Rob_in_CT

    Good stuff from Pettitte. I am glad somebody spoke up for Wang. He’s been really, really good for two plus years now, and he has two bad starts and all of a sudden he’s garbage. Bah. Pettitte is right to point out that he’s stunk in the playoffs before (game 6, 2001 WS anyone? Bueller?), but that it didn’t mean he sucked.

  • ceciguante

    this is a nice showing of support by pettitte, but let’s not allow warm feelings to cloud the issue. i love andy, but jorge’s sentiment was accurate (if harsh): the new york yankees need more elite pitching. they stopped having the best pitching in 2001, and it’s been curtains since.

    i’m sick of watching the yanks club their way to 96 wins and a playoff berth, get named the favorite in a playoff series because of the their star power, and then get beaten by a team that has better pitching (and defense). jorge may not have been kind to call for better front of the rotation guys in the press, but his message was dead on. this team is fatally flawed as currently constructed, and if you don’t beleive me, i offer you the past 7 postseasons as proof.

    • steve (different one)

      do we not think the Yankees are making the right moves to develop an elite pitching staff?

      is it that you think the Yankees are unaware that they need better pitching, or is it simply that Yankee fans can’t WAIT for what is on the way?

  • Glen L.

    I think Wang is very good .. a number 1 on a lot of teams, including the Yankees at the moment. However, calling a pitcher who had 104K’s in 199.3 IP an Ace is something i’m not really inclined to do. To me an ace is an ace is an ace on any team .. Wang isn’t an ace on a team with crappy infielders playing on a hard, dry surface

    • barry

      Saying Wang isn’t ace because he doesnt have a 10/9 strikeout ratio is garbage, he’s an ace because he wins games.

      • Glen L.

        seriously? from 98-2000 aaron sele won 19, 18, and 17 games .. guess hes an ace

        wins are the WORST way to judge a pitcher

        • barry

          Oh so I guess the Yankees would be better off without those wins from Wang? So I guess a guy that K’s 220 but is only lets say 10-10 is better than Wang who was 19-7 with a 3.7 ERA and a 1.29 whip yet only had 100 K’s. K’s are great and everyone loves to see their pitcher own a batter but K’s don’t make an Ace.

  • Al the Man

    I love Wang. I think he has been an amazing asset at a huge discount the last 3 years (Something the Yankees obviously haven’t had i.e. Carl “American Idol” Pavano) I understand your point that Wanger only had 104K’s in 199 1/3 innings but you can get away with that when you have such a high ground ball percentage. Carmona isn’t a strikeout king either but I think both he and Wang will be solid for years to come. Now the whole term Ace gets thrown around to loosely. I trust Wang. Great pitcher, has been very good for the Yankees without putting up the best sabermetric stats however things like game 4 will happen to a pitcher like wang (besides Sizemore’s HR) he gave up seeing eye ground balls and bloop singles. All in all the Yankees can easily win with the pitchers they have right now and the gamble (monetarily wise) is very small

  • tony from the bronx

    Andy has always been special.He is amuch better man then he is a pitcher.Did not hold the Yanks up for more money(Posoda.Mariano)let Cashman know he was coming back before the winter meetings started.He could be on the “List” but so what.The man gives everything ha has every time out.Borderline HOF

  • Glen L.

    i want to reiterate i think wang is a great pitcher … i just wouldn’t call him an ace

    and yes you can get away without a ton of Ks especially when you induce groundballs .. my point is what happens to the ball after it is pitched is (excluding balls hit right back to the pitcher) out of the pitcher’s control

    so to me personally an Ace is one who dominates the game and controls it .. a groundball non-strike out pitcher cant be an ace, given my definition

    and before someone tries to through brandon webb in my face .. he had 194Ks last year

    clearly k/bb ratio is also very important and something else to be factored in .. i still stand by my above points though

    • barry

      Wang controls the game. 19-7 1.29 whip says enough about controling the game.

      • Glen L.

        yup says it all … that 1.29 WHIP was good for 32nd in baseball … great point … that absolutely proves he’s an ace…

  • Jeff

    When you think of Pettit you think of character…
    When you think of Pavano trying to eek out another half mil by signing a major league contrat insted of letting the the Yanks cover their losses… ?

    On the other end speaking of our rotation bening good enough… Sure we are not in the worst position… lot of promise but if you consider the teams he won on you’d have t think the hurlers were the key. Bolstering our rotation makes the best sense in the world to me. Doesn’t seem that way for Cash and most of you though… I can understand with the dollars factored in however.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    haven’t we moved beyond W-L to judge pitchers? i remember Michael Kay hating the RJ trade bc ‘the guy won 17 games! who’s going to win those games for you?’ just the fact that Michael Kay still uses W-L should tell you that it’s obsolete. RJ had a 5+ era and won 17 games. Pettitte this year had a 4 era and won just 15. who was the better pitcher?

    there are numerous examples of pitchers having great ERAs but shitty W-L records (bc their teams sucked) and vice versa.

    not that k/9 is the end all be all either, as evidenced by Wang and Pettitte.

  • http://www.yanksblog.com Patrick

    Thanks for the mention.