Heyman: Pettitte’s return at ‘less than 50-50’

Psst, buddy, how much for a win?
NYC Comptroller slams Stadium plan

In a column on the disgruntled Michael Young, Jon Heyman drops in some fairly significant news about the now-estranged Andy Pettitte. While news got out recently that Pettitte had declined the Yanks’ offer, according to the Sports Illustrated scribe, the Yanks were the ones to yank the offer to Pettitte, and the southpaw’s pride prevented him from inking a deal sooner.

Heyman writes:

The Yankees’ longstanding one-year, $10 million offer to lefty Andy Pettitte expired when the club signed star free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira to a $180 million deal. The Yankees explained to Pettitte all along that the offer could go away if they hit their payroll limit, and they apparently did that when they signed Teixeira.

Pettitte, 36, never took the Yankees’ offer because he was hurt by the idea of a $6 million pay cut, never mind the fact that he started and finished poorly last year (he began the year with his HGH press conference and ended it with seven losses in his last nine decisions.) Overall he was 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA.

But it doesn’t appear that Pettitte has anything better, and if he wants to pitch in 2009 he will have to wait. If the Yankees can trade either Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady, that may open up payroll room to resubmit a similar offer to Pettitte, a beloved Yankee. This time we’d have to think Pettitte might finally except.

So much for that three-year, $36-million deal that Heyman himself reported on in mid-December.

Personally, I go back and forth on this one. As I mentioned yesterday, I thought the Derek Lowe signing would up Pettitte’s cost a bit, but I realize that Lowe finished stronger and had better overall numbers than Andy in 2008. Pettitte, however, would be pitching for just one year and could conceivably make $12 million in 2009 simply because a team would be willing to pay a few extra million this year for the roster flexibility next year that Derek Lowe’s contract doesn’t give to the Braves.

No matter the outcome, it sounds like it’s doomed to be retirement of the Bronx for Pettitte. If he wants it badly enough, he can probably work out a deal with the Yanks, but if I’m Brian Cashman, I’m not about to sell low on Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher simply to make payroll room for Pettitte’s return.

Psst, buddy, how much for a win?
NYC Comptroller slams Stadium plan
  • ryan

    Guess he shoulda done the talking and not his agents.

    • Should be working

      If thats what he really wanted he could just call Cashman himself and tell him lets do it. His agent works on his behalf. Not like he doesnt know whats going on.

      • ryan

        im sure they are in his ear telling him he’s worth more…agents are suppose to get the most for their player in contract negotiations. Im sure hard ball was played here or this wouldn’t even have been an issue. Ofcourse he can call cash and say “lets do it”, at what price now tho? Maybe his agents called the yanks bluff and were wrong and now he’s lucky to get the offer originally put on the table, apparently the yanks yanked it themselves ;). Im sure Andy has faith in the people that represent him or he wouldn’t have them as agents. Boras takes every player he represents for a rollercoaster ride every time they become FA’s.
        Look what happend with the Arod opt out, supposedly Boras overplayed his hand and he had to go back to the yanks on his own and say “lets do this”.

  • Cam

    I’ve always felt, same as Ben, that if they were able to come somewhere in between, like 12 or 13 mil, that it would’ve gotten done. Just funny that these “new” Yankees wouldn’t budge on their initial offer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=43434432275 Ace

      Does a pitcher who throws 200 innings with a 4.54 era and a 1.41 WHIP deserve 12 or 13 million? Basically you are paying for the innings.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        Basically you are paying for the innings and his name.


        • Evan in NYC

          How much is the Clemens thing (pending) going to affect Pettitte? Could he be handed a subpoena mid June/July? I think that is a distinct possibility that should be thought about.

      • TurnTwo

        which to the yankees this season, yes, those innings are very valuable.

        • steve (different one)

          more valuable than Teixeira?

          almost every argument that says the Yankees should just give him his $12-13M and get it over with is based on the premise that the Yankees do not have a hard payroll cap for next year.

          but there is a significant amount of evidence to the contrary.

          these are the parameters that Hal’s Yankees will be working with.

          they will have, by far, the highest payroll in the league. however, there will be a limit to that payroll.

          Teixeira put the Yankees somewhere close to that limit.

          if that means they have to cut corners at their 5th starter spot or trade away their OF depth, well, welcome to the realities of every other team in baseball.

          • TurnTwo

            no, no. not more valuable than Teixeira.

            dont get me wrong… im glad they signed Tex over Pettitte + Cameron, or whatever the alternative would have been.

            just saying that the innings Pettitte could give to this team are indeed valuable ones, both in what he’ll provide to the yankees at the MLB level, and developmental innings he’ll allow Phil Hughes to have in Scranton.

            • steve (different one)

              ok, we are in agreement on that point.

              i was more speaking in generalities.

  • Jay CT

    Suprising that he never submitted his demands. I think that all the free agents will begin getting a bit desperate, especially the pitchers, as they report in less then a month and they need as much time as possible to get ready, thus missing any spring training is toughest on them. I still expect Pettitte to be back by Feb. 14

  • http://www.stilettosetsports.com Mike

    I still want to see Petite in pinstripes but as this drags out its becoming more for just sentimental reasons than anything else.

  • jsbrendog

    i love how anytime there seems to be a pettitte thread there is the inevitable “get the full story on the clemens mcready affair scandal NOW” add to the left. i know its chance, but i find it absolutely hilarious

    • Jay CT

      Yeah. And you post about all the time!

      • jsbrendog

        this is only the second time i have said anything, if at all. you are confusing me with someone else sir.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          That’s probably me, I made that joke a few times. But yes, as radnom says below, it’s all the algorithms, nothing more.

          (ironic that radnom would point out why the phenomenon is not random…)

    • radnom

      It isn’t chance. Google ads use keywords on the page they are advertising in an automatic attempt to try to match the most relevant ads to the page you are viewing. For example, when I’m on Gmail reading an email about an upcoming ski trip, the ads to the side of the page are about ski gear. Same thing is going on here.

  • steve (different one)

    if the yankees had $23M left of payroll space and the choices were Pettitte and Cameron or Hughes and Teixeira, i’m glad they chose Teixeira.

    it’s too bad that Pettitte wasn’t amenable to a paycut from the beginning. were he willing to negotiate in November, he’d proabably have been signed.

  • Pel

    The Yankees’ longstanding one-year, $10 million offer to lefty Andy Pettitte expired when the club signed star free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira to a $180 million deal.

    Really? All I’ve read is Andy rejected the offer. I never once read about the Yankees pulling the contract off the table because they signed Teixeira.

    What is this bullshit?

    • Jay CT

      Why is this bullshit? Heyman is pretty trustworthy, but for all we know, there was never an offer made. None of us are involoved in the negotiations, so why would this be “bullshit?” Of course, I am sure you won’t even respond…

  • pat

    To quote a disgruntled Dave Chappelle when he found out his son dissed him for nick cannon- Andy you’re acting like a little bitch.
    This is a team that publicly stood by you while you were being disgraced for allagedly using ped’s. This is a team that has paid you millions upon millions of dollars to play a game you love in a city that has adopted you as a son. This team just spent about a BILLION dollars to build a state of the art stadium with every amenity available for players and then some. This is a team that just comitted hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade the rotation and batting order. They jettisoned arguably the two worst defenders on the team and replaced them with a young spry gold glover and an equally as young and spry rightfielder with nary a wallphobic tendency.
    I’m all for a man trying to make a living to feed his family but come on dude you’re gonna let 6 million dollars possibly tarnish your reputation in NY forever?? For a guy who said it aint about the money,he’s certainly illustrating the point that most of the time, it indeed is about the money. I wonder if he knows greed is one of the 7 deadly sins? Someone should get that guy a bible ASAP.
    /ends rant. takes deep breath. walks away.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I can’t feed my family on 10M, that’s insulting.

  • A.D.

    I don’t get why Young is so angry about this move, so he won a GG that should have gone to Orlando Cabrera.

    He’s getting paid, this isn’t like the Soriano situation where he wanted a more valuable position to demand more on the free market, Young isn’t going to be a FA for awhile. I would think he would be happy with the youth coming through the system, that should help the team and maybe put them back in the playoffs during his contract.

    • jsbrendog

      To quote a disgruntled Dave Chappelle when he found out his son dissed him for nick cannon- Andy you’re acting like a little bitch.

      Michael, you’re acting like a little bitch. NICK CANNON STEALING YOUR SCHOOL MONEY!

      • jsbrendog


        • A.D.


    • frits

      in re: Orlando Cabrera…Was this tongue-in-cheek?

      • A.D.

        Cabrera had the best defensive season of any AL SS. Young had a worse UZR than Cabrera, Jeter, and Bobby Crosby.

        So no, I was serious. Young GG wasn’t quite McClouthian but he isn’t exactly a stellar defender.

        • frits

          Interesting, his UZR was the best, youre right about that. Fielding Bible Plus Minus data has him at +1 though, 17th overall in MLB. Thats an odd discrepancy.

          • frits

            So, Cabrera had the best defensive season of any AL SS according to UZR. According to Plus/Minus, he was 1 above average.

            • A.D.

              very interesting… where does fielding bible have Young, higher?

              • Bo

                Because new age fielding stats are ultra reliable right?

                • Jack

                  Moreso than the old age ones.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        The funny thing is, if you grafted Orlando Cabrera and Michael Young together into one super-shortstop, you’d have one damn good player…

        … or the worst player in the league. All depends on what sides you’re grafting. (There’s two sides to every Schwartz.)

    • JohnnyC

      “this isn’t like the Soriano situation where he wanted a more valuable position to demand more on the free market”

      Actually it is. Traditionally, third base is a power position. Not coincidentally, Young has had an all-too-obvious power outtage in recent seasons. His power profile now looks better as a middle infielder than a corner. You can hazard a guess as to why the sudden loss of power. Anyway, it’s ALL ABOUT his next contract. Weak-hitting, weak fielding third basemen in the mid-thirties do not get to hold bally-hooed press conferences in the off-season, trying on a new uniform.

      • A.D.

        Given that he’s not a good SS now & that he’ll be 36 for his next contract… I doubt that’s going to go well

      • steve (different one)

        Actually it is. Traditionally, third base is a power position.

        you’re missing the point. the point is that Soriano was moved from 2B to LF in his final year before free agency, thus damaging his FA value.

        Young is ALREADY signed for the next 5 years at a rate that is higher than anyone would currently pay him on the open market.

        the point was that Soriano would have been ok with moving to LF if he was moved AFTER he got paid. Young is being moved AFTER he got paid.

        that is the difference.

  • robmel

    Totally agree with the post…Cash should not sell low just to bring Andy back….Hopefully he can trade Nady for a back of the rotation pitcher..

  • Macphisto

    What is all this talk about”payroll space” left. I have never heard those words uttered regarding the Yanks. If the Yankees want to sign Pettitte they would sign him. I think they prefer to let the 5th spot be up for grabs in ST and then if things aren’t working out bring Pettitte in. If they do work out then that means one of the kids is progressing which is what we all want. But, hearing the words “payroll space” is nonsense.

    • A.D.

      New management, may be the same last name, but they may want to act slightly differently. My guess is its somewhat of a ploy by the Yankees, they want some excuse to drive Pettitte’s price down, but there is also some truth there.

    • steve (different one)

      I have never heard those words uttered regarding the Yanks

      so what? get used to it.

      • radnom

        No offense, but everyone here (including myself) had this exact same attitude regarding people complaining that the Yankees had the money to sign Tex but wern’t going to because of “payroll space” problems.

    • Am I the only Kevin?

      Remember Carlos Beltran? Yanks turned down an All-Star, gold glove, switch hitting, power hitting, young CFer who was willing to come to them for LESS than the Mets’ offer because they reached their payroll limit with Randy Johnson. How much better off would the Yanks have been keeping Javy and Navarro and using that money to pay Beltran? We then could have used the Damon money on a pitcher or corner OFer.

      The Yanks’ payroll limit is much much higher than other contenders, but it certainly exists.

      • Macphisto

        Yes, there are limits to the long term deals they take on and Beltran was one they mistakenly did not. What this team would be without Johnson and with Beltran. But, in a one year scenario the Yanks don’t operate with payroll limitations. If they wanted Pettitte, really felt they needed him, he would be back by now. A couple of million would not hold them back. They had already reached record levels in 2007 when they brought Roger on for that ridiculous contract. They are extremely flexible when it come to short term deals. This isn’t about “payroll space”, it is about Pettitte. The Yanks feel they can be as good or better without him. I think they are right. If Lowe was available for one year they would have jumped on it. If Sheets decides he will take less than one year I think they will sign him for more than they are offering Pettitte. I just think it is funny that sports writers like Heyman are buying this nonsense about “payroll space”.

        • Bo

          Payroll space is BS.

          You don’t spend 190 mill and cheap out in bringing in more talent when you need it. As the Tex deal showed. They just want some more dominoes to fall before they look like the only team handing out deals.

          Problem for Andy will be when Sheets comes calling and his price is cheap. Or Perez. Or Garland. Etc.

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

            I take it you’ve never run an organization on a budget. Just because a team has a high budget doesn’t mean they have an unlimited budget. If the Yanks deem $16 million to be beyond their budget, I’m sure they have a very good reason for that.

            Sometimes, you do spend $190 million and then meet your budget. It’s not about “cheap[ing] out” as you so eloquently put it.

            • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

              About time someone brought that little fact up. As usual I am to late.

        • Am I the only Kevin?

          Your splitting hairs regarding the one-year vs. long term deals makes no sense. They had the money the next offseason to sign Damon to a long-term deal, no? So in essence the Beltran addition would have just been a one-year splurge over what they ended up doing (i.e., getting a CFer on a long-term $$$ contract, but a year earlier, and maybe at a slightly higher rate).

          The Yanks have a limit, you and I don’t know what it is until after the fact and in retrospect. But the fact that it is there is inescapable. Maybe they are just playing hardball with Andy. If so, good for them. But maybe they are really near their limit or have already decided to go over budget this year to get Teix given the money coming off the books when Damon and Matsui leave.

          All I know is that it is silly to dismiss deals because they supposedly are “Pocket change” to the Yanks. The stupid Hawkins and Wright and Igawa and Cairo deals add up, and the Yanks saying “enough” has come back to bite the Yanks squarely on the butt at least once in recent times, despite your and others’ dismissive attitudes.

          • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

            A little problem with your thinking here; 1) Cashman goes by the budget set by the CFO and the Family. 2) the deal was, getting Randy or Baltran. 3) Cash tried to talk King Ger. into getting Baltran, Ger. wanted Randy, so we got Randy…fact as was reported.
            There always has been a budget, no company can run effectively without one. There may be a lot more money around (I’m sure there is) but, they may have it earmarked for International scouting, draft etc…we don’t know. But one thing is clear…there is a budget, believe it.

  • josh

    i like pettitte as the four start- i dont understand how the yanks pitching staff could go as is. maybe there is someone else they could get to eat innings but even with the great names they have there are question marks on the staff. actually they are a bit more than just question marks as we know joba and hughes have not yet worked there way to that 200 in. level nonetheless had six straight healthy months pretty much ever as yankees. wang is coming off a long injury and has had injuries in his short history and burnett getting hurt is almost a constant. i hope it doesnt seem like i am trashing anyone, i love the homegrown young talent on the staff and want nothing more than for all to be healthy but there is a reality here. injuries are an issue with all staffs and certainly this one has a history of them – some more serious than others, but couple in innings limits and the lack of depth (ian kennedy, aceves, and hughes do not count as serious back end depth until they can prove themselves – i think there is a big difference if they are 6,7,8 rather than 5,6,7 because of jobas innings limitations. i’m not saying it has to be pettitte but the yanks NEED a 200+ inning horse in the four hole. anyone agree? anyone have any suggestions?

  • Jay

    The reason why nobody else may be willing to pay Pettitte $10 million in a market where pitchers seem to all be getting king’s ransoms is very simple. And if you’re going to look for comparable deals, be sure to compare Pettitte to a pitcher with similar stats after the All Star Break:

    5.35 earned runs per 9 innings pitched
    79 innings pitched
    96 hits
    25 bases on balls
    1.53 walks and hits per inning pitched
    .302 average batting average against him allowed

    By comparison, Derek Lowe had a 2.38 ERA after the All Star Break and finished very strong even on the road beginning with his August 26th start in Washington.

    I think you’ll find that pitchers with stats like Pettitte’s in the second half got contracts with very low bases and bonuses based on innings pitched, etc. because teams view them as very likely being injured. But maybe I’m wrong. Please list pitchers that have signed this offseason with statistics that bad who got contracts of $10 million or more.

    By the way, if you believe it was because of the poor Yankee fielding — which was definitely lousy — then compare him to the other Yankee pitchers who started two or more games after the All Star Break. And only Sidney Ponson, Darrel Rasner and Carl Pavano had higher ERAs, at 6.29, 6.02, and 5.77, respectively. If you want to say that he should get a little more than them, I would agree. But I don’t think that gets you up to anything even remotely approaching $10 million.

    The Yankees don’t know if he’s injured, and neither do any of us. But what we do know is that if the Yankees pay him $10 million and give him a spot on the roster and it turns out that he is injured, and so the Pettitte of 2008 after the All Star Break is the best they get, the dominos start to fall. Why go there if they believe that they can make other lower risk arrangements (by trade, free agency or anything else)?

    The answer, of course, is Pettitte’s upside if he’s healthy. But those other alternatives might have similar upside, too. And if Pettitte isn’t just blowing smoke you know where when he says it’s the Yankees or nowhere and that it’s not about the money, why won’t he take a lower $ deal, prove himself and get the big contract next year? Answer: Because for him, it IS about the money. And even in this very expensive market for pitching, I suspect that nobody is willing to pay him even $10 million for the reasons that I’ve outlined.

    Maybe an organization like the Red Sox that get it right most of the time in their analysis of pitching could figure out if he’s healthy. But I can’t imagine even them not doing what they usually do and giving him a low base and performance bonuses which, after all, is what they usually do when there’s that kind of uncertainty.

    I suspect that the reason why the Yankees were willing to pay Pettitte $10 million this year, given his second half performance in 2008, had as much to do with thanking him for services rendered in the past as anything. But if they ever want to become competitive with the Red Sox again, it may be sentimentality they can’t afford. If you think the Red Sox would let sentimentality get in the way of hard decisions, I could give you plenty of examples to the contrary. But you need look no farther than Jason Varitek right now.

    Prediction: If Pettitte pitches elsewhere this year, it will be for a base FAR below $10 million with incentives based on performance — similar to the contract the Red Sox gave John Smoltz, only for fewer $ (because Smoltz is (rightly, I believe) viewed as being worth more at this point. And given the choice, I’d vastly prefer Smoltz — who has a history of healing quickly and coming back strong, who if he can’t cut it as a starter looks like he can continue to be a lock down closer, and who, when healthy, finishes like a lion every year. And, it should be noted, the Red Sox did their homework on him, having three senior representatives watch him pitch even then before they offered him a contract.

    It’s easy to think, “Hey, it’s only money.” But the Yankees squandering money is one of the primary reasons why the Red Sox are now the two-time world champions and the Yankees are struggling to make the playoffs despite having a far higher payroll. Paying Pettitte $10 million instead of a Smoltz style deal, if anything, in my judgement, would be yet another step in the wrong direction.

    • andrew

      why won’t he take a lower $ deal, prove himself and get the big contract next year?
      because he probably is planning on retiring

      similar to the contract the Red Sox gave John Smoltz, only for fewer $ (because Smoltz is (rightly, I believe) viewed as being worth more at this point. And given the choice, I’d vastly prefer Smoltz — who has a history of healing quickly and coming back strong, who if he can’t cut it as a starter looks like he can continue to be a lock down closer, and who, when healthy, finishes like a lion every year
      Smoltz is out till May, at the EARLIEST. If he comes back in May, and pitches the rest of the season healthy, he will be getting $10 million. $10 million for 4 months, as opposed to Pettitte’s offer of $10 million for the whole year. It would appear, rightfully so, that Smoltz will be getting paid more per start this year. Smoltz contract over the full year would come out to be around $14 million, and i’m guessing that’s approximately what he’d be getting paid if he were healthy.

  • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

    Why trade anyone at all, we have all we need? Any pitcher we pick-up at this point would not be any better then our own pitchers. Aceves can go 200 innings or we could go with Phil and his 170/180 innings+IPK and his 150+ innings. If any of them falter we have Coke, Giese etc., to fill in.
    I don’t expect any of those guys to pitch under a .400 era…just keep us in the game. If they do that much for the team we would be more then alright. Because whom ever we pick-up is not going to give us any more then that.
    Save the money, give the kids the chance to make it or break it.

    • jsbrendog

      randy wolf might be an interesting pickup if he falls through the cracks and is available on a 1 yr contract of between 4-7 mil

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Save the money, give the kids the chance to make it or break it.

      While this strategy is fine for other clubs, and maybe even for the Yankees in some years, there is tremendous pressure on the Yanks to win this year.

      After having missed the playoffs in the final year of the old Yankee Stadium, missing them in the first year of the new ballpark would be disastrous.

      The Yankees draw 4 million fans per year because they win, not because they are the Yankees. If they stop winning, the dominos start to fall.

      So while I would also like to see “the kids” get a chance, Cash has to be ready with one helluva Plan B if they aren’t getting it done by early June.

    • Bo

      Aceves can go 200 innings? Um ok but what kind of innings are they? Or did 2 starts in Sept sell you on his bonafides?

      I’d rather not have a starter “keep us in the game”. I’d rather have 5 really good starters with the “keep us in the game” people waiting in Scranton.

    • Whozat

      The problem with that is Burnett. He’s going to go on the dl, most likely. Then the whole safety net is in the rotation, and that’s a problem.

      • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

        All four of you have good points or worries, which ever.

        Burnett may miss a start but, I don’t see him going on the DL…ok, maybe. But we have it covered, bring up one of the other kids for one or two starts…max DL time, 15 day.

        Bo; I too would like 5 bonafides but, even with Andy…you will not have 5. Andy is not that good anymore, he may be able to keep us in the game, that’s all we expect from him or any other #5 starter. So, one of the guys can give us that quality. Aceves can go 200+ innings, how good he will be is still up in the air. That’s why they have ST, see if he can do it and beat out Phil.

        SDW; Plain “B” is in place all the time, when dealing with people in a high risk industry

        jsbrendog; Honestly, I don’t know how good (or bad) Wolf is as a pitcher but, I know that one of the guys we have can put up numbers comparable to his…otherwise, he would have been signed already.

  • GG

    Cash needs to go sign Juan Cruz already

    • whozat

      Yes. That will help with the starter depth problem.

      The point of this post:

      “Hm. The Yanks could use more durable starting depth, but it seems like signing Tex has caused them to not want to spend even 10MM on a starter; they’ve finally gone over-budget.”


      “Spend money on a reliever.”

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Cash needs to go sign Juan Cruz already


  • nick blasioli

    sign sheets to performance laden contract…keep the kids in aaa until and injury occurs…it just is the right thing to do….remember we relied on the kids last year exclusively and look where it got us….