In a piece that also provides some insight into the way the Mark Teixeira signing went down, O’Brien notes that her Yankee sources say the Front Office is no longer sure they want to welcome Pettitte back to the fold in 2009. She writes:
Still, even the Yankees have limits. As of midday Wednesday, a final decision had not been made on whether the one-year, $10-million contract offer to Pettitte was still on the table. Yet an inside source said the Yankees were at that point inclined to stick with their team as is.
Pettitte has had that contract offer from the Yankees since early November. And while he stated all season that he wanted to return to the Yankees in 2009 and pitch in the new Yankee Stadium, he has adamantly held out in hopes of taking a smaller pay-cut from the $16 million he earned in 2008. At the winter meetings and also at last week’s press conference introducing Sabathia and Burnett, both Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi said they hoped a return could be worked out.
But Pettitte may have waited too long to accept the Yankees’ offer. With Teixeira now in the fold for eight years and $180 million (pending a physical), Pettitte may be priced out of plans. The source said nothing had been finalized on Pettitte, but the Yankees were leaning towards no. The 36-year-old lefty went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA for the Yankees this season, having a good first half, but struggling after the All-Star break.
As I said yesterday, Pettitte may learn the hard way that “you snooze, you lose” is a very important life lesson to learn. If he doesn’t get a deal because he was torn over $6 million, he’ll have to live with that decision. For what it’s worth, Ken Davidoff thinks Pettitte will come back (third-to-last paragraph), but I’m not so sure.
So if this really is the end of Andy Pettitte, I can’t say I’m too disappointed. I think that he would be a sturdy back-of-the-rotation pitcher for 2009, and as we’ve learned over the years, a team can never have too much pitching. However, He’s not worth the $16 million he wants, and based on his performance in the second half in 2008, he just didn’t seem to have it. I’m ready to move forward with Phil Hughes, Al Aceves, Ian Kennedy or anyone else the Yanks choose to plug into the five spot.
In an off-season in which the Yanks have spent money they have, it will be sad for nostalgia’s sake to see Pettitte shut out. But he had his offer and declined it. That is, sometimes, just the way the baseball cookie crumbles.