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