As the playoffs are slowly drawing to a close, the rumors are starting to ramp up a bit. Just a few hours ago, Buster Olney reported that both Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina may return to the Yanks. A few hours later, Ken Rosenthal struck back.
In his afternoon piece, Rosenthal dropped a plethora of rumors. I guess Fox is really dreading that Phillies/Rays World Series.
Anyway, Rosenthal contends that Derek Lowe isn’t interested in pitching in the pressure cooker of New York City. He also claims that Mike Mussina isn’t interested in pitching for the Yanks because he “fears that the Yankees will not be good enough next season for him to sufficiently chip away at the 30 victories he needs for 300.” That’s funny; a rather mediocre Yankee term just earned him 20 wins. I’m leaning with Olney on this report.
Meanwhile, the real news hit this evening. As the Yanks prepare for their organizational meetings in Tampa, Buster Olney reports that Andy Pettitte’s agents have told the Yanks that the lefty wishes to return for 2009. But do the Yankees want him?
Right now, it’ll be a while before we hear anything more about Andy Pettitte or any free agent, for that matter. We have to get through the World Series before MLB lifts its gag order — or really its gag request — on news not related to the playoffs. But we can speculate.
The Yanks seem to want two of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe. Clearly, Sabathia is the first choice. With Lowe seemingly out of the picture, they have to consider if the team would they be better off with Burnett or Pettitte. To me, the answer is Andy Pettitte, but I don’t think the Yanks should count on him to be as good as they want.
We don’t need to get into the numbers. We know Pettitte had a good 2007, a good first half in 2008 and a terrible end to the season. He seemed to fatigue in the second half, and his velocity was down by the middle of August. But with Wang and Chamberlain fronting the rotation, and Phil Hughes, Al Aceves or whoever else shows up at the back end, Andy Pettitte probably won’t need to be more than a fourth starter.
For one year, I’d take Pettitte rather than Burnett. The current Blue Jay just isn’t that good against teams that aren’t the Yankees, and he’s had a tough time staying healthy. Why waste money on four or five years of an injury-prone, average hurler when one year of that would suffice?