Inside the Pettitte incentives

For better or worse, it's all about A-Rod
Keeping the new stadium very clean

When Andy Pettitte signed a one-year deal yesterday afternoon, the only unknowns were the incentives. Cot’s Baseball Contracts via the Associated Press answers that question.

Basically, Pettitte can earn $4.5 million in performance bonuses and $2 million in roster bonuses. The deal is structured in way such that the southpaw would have earned the full $12 million in three of the last four seasons. The only exception was 2008 when Pettitte threw only 204 innings. The bonus breakdown is as follows:

  • $4.5M in performance bonuses: $0.5M each for 150, 160, 170 IP; $0.75M each for 180, 190, 200, 210 IP
  • $2M in roster bonuses: $0.1M for 120 days on active 25-man roster; $0.2M for 130 days; $0.25M each for 140, 150 days; $0.4M each for 160, 170, 180 days

As long as the lefty stays healthy and continues to rack up the innings, he’ll get his money. His baseline for performance is to pitch well enough to stay in the rotation with the kids knocking on the door.

Meanwhile, speaking of the kids, Mike Ashmore offers up a dissenting opinion on the Pettitte signing. Noting the ever-increasing number of young arms in the Yankee system, Ashmore ponders the depth question:

Yankees fans have to ask themselves…what’s more important, Andy Pettitte getting 30 starts or Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy/Phil Coke/Alfredo Aceves getting 30?

If the consensus is that Pettitte is little more than a placeholder, why not use one of your numerous starting pitching prospects in a meaningful role at the big league level instead of picking up garbage innings as a long man in the Bronx or spending another year in Trenton or Scranton?

And how long before some of these players start getting frustrated with having to repeat levels of the minors?

Things are looking great at the big league level, and the minor leagues certainly look stacked as well. But at what cost?

I’ve struggled with this one for much of the winter and have no good answer. I was fine seeing Andy leave; I am fine seeing him return. With this incentive-laden deal, he’ll put pressure on himself to pitch. As long as the Yanks don’t leave him in there to the detriment of the young arms if the time is right to replace him, this one-year contract will work out for everyone.

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For better or worse, it's all about A-Rod
Keeping the new stadium very clean
  • Jonathan

    Pettitte coming back can only be seen as a positive, look at the history of our top three pitchers CC had unbelieveable innings last year, AJ is a health hazard, and Wang is coming back from a foot injury. I think that letting Aceves, Hughes, IPK, Wright roll at AAA (+Igawa) and be at the beck and call of the Big League club is the best option. Coke can start the season in the pen and be the longman/spot starter, I have a feeling that we are going to need all the percieved depth we have at the starting pitching position.

  • nick blasioli

    there is nothing wrong with letting the young pitchers get more seasoning at aaa..when they get their chance again,,maybe it will make them better overall…i really like the way the pitching staff is shaped up…the young guns will get their chances..just make the best of it when it comes…

  • r.w.g.

    Tough call. But at the end of the day, the goal is to win the world series on a year to year basis, not worry about developing young starters.

    CC has an opt out, AJ has a really dicey injury history, the team hasn’t looked super eager to extend Wang, and Andy’s on a one year deal. There will be openings for the young guys to show what they can do, and hopefully some of them (Hughes, Kennedy) can get their ERAs under 8.00

    • huuz

      the goal is to win the world series on a year to year basis, not worry about developing young starters.

      100% correct.

      • A.D.

        Now if this were a Marlins blog, the statement would be the opposite

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

          If it were a Marlins blog, the statement would read, “the goal is to make sure the camera never pans more than 10 rows deep on a home run shot to keep the national TV audience from seeing that we only have 6,000 people at this game.”

          • Tom Zig

            6,000 600 people at this game

            I remember reading an article one day that a fan got kicked out for heckling an umpire.

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....02444.html

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

              “The man was so loud, and the atmosphere so quiet, the fan could be heard saying “you don’t make more than me” on the television broadcast as he was forced to leave. There were no more than about 400 fans in attendance at the game’s peak.”

              LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FLORIDA MARLINS!!!!!

              • Tom Zig

                In all fairness they were playing the nationals. C’mon who goes to a Nationals/Marlins game?

  • Chris

    None of those pitchers mentioned (Hughes/Kennedy/Coke/Aceves) have pitched close to a full season at AAA. Kennedy has the most innings at AAA with just over 100. I don’t think it’s that big a deal for them to be in AAA for most or all of this season. Next season is a different story, but Pettitte signing doesn’t change that.

    • deadrody

      Exactly

  • A.D.

    It will essentially be a miracle if no one gets hurt, on top of that career AAA innings for the guys waiting:

    Hughes: 57.2
    IPK: 103.2
    Coke 17.1
    Aceves 43.2

    So none of these guys have pitched a full season there, and IPK is the only one that could make a case that he’s had a good sampling at AAA. I would say the “frustrating” defense might be able to come next year, if all these guys pitch well this coming year in AAA.

  • huuz

    missing the playoffs in 2009 is not an acceptable option. signing Pettitte increases our playoff odds and reduces our SP rotation risk.

    besides, if the past 5 years are any indication, there will be no shortage of injuries to the opening day SP rotation…(God forbid it happens this year…)

  • Reggie C.

    Last season was almost worst-case scenario for Hughes. The only bright spot: He didn’t go down with an elbow/shoulder injury. That’s it. Hughes didn’t improve his feel for the game or his stuff at the majors. Get him to start off ’09 right by putting him in AAA. I want to see Hughes dominate games like he did in ’06.

  • Evan in NYC

    I am just hoping that Pettitte isn’t dragged into court when this Clemens Purjury thing gets off the ground.

    • steve (different one)

      hmmm, i wonder how much this played into the contract structure.

      if Pettitte has to miss starts, the Yankees don’t want to pay him for that.

      probably not much, but it’s interesting.

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

        Well, it doesn’t really matter how he misses starts/innings/days on the roster, whether via injury, ineffectiveness, or subpoena; he loses money if he’s not taking the hill as much as possible.

        • steve (different one)

          of course. but if the Yankees had knowledge there there is an X% chance of Pettitte being pulled away for a month for a trial, perhaps that is why they were so insistent on structuring the contract this way.

          just wondering out loud.

  • CountryClub

    It will do wonders for Hughes to pitch a full season in AAA. He’s been like a yo-yo the past three years (partly because of injuries). Aceves will most likely be the long man for the Yanks and in my opinion, Kennedy should be the first call up if they have to dip down for an extra starter. I think Hughes is the better pitcher…but they should try as hard as they can to give him a normal year at one level.

    • Johnny

      The thing about bringing petitte back is it doesn’t mean none of the young guys will see gametime, it just means they won’t be relied on to carry a heavy load like last year. Andy eating up 200+ innings just means they don’t have to.

      I don’t imagine any rotation went all season, any season, with all five starters making every start. I’ts a hard job to do, and pitchers miss games. It’s gonna happen this year the same as any, you just hope it doesn’t often. add to that the innings limit on joba, and you could easily see some combination of the young guys starting 15 games or so(hopefully not too many more)

      In regards to hughes, I think you have a good point and I agree, with one slight amendment. the approach should be similar to that of the Twins towards Liriano last year. they stated from the start that they wanted to see him not succeed but dominate at AAA Rochester before calling him up. They waited, and waited, and by June he was indeed dominating to the tune of a K/BB ratio of 43/1, I personally watched him 6 or 7 times as I lived in the ROC at the time. he kept it up for about a month and the called him up in July.
      So,
      While it’s clear Hughes is succeeding on the farm(he was pretty tough late last year) let’s let him dominate before making the move. I think the percieved upside to this is when you make the move you’re bringing up a pitcher who has settled in to their approach, worked out some kinks without costing the big league club anything, and has confidence, and maybe he stays for good this time. either that or the twins were just trying to cheap out on the guy by keeping him off the big league roster for as long as possible, but I still thinks it’s a good idea

      thoughts?

  • Macphisto

    I would much rather have depth at pitching after watching a few seasons of Chacon, Small, Rasner, Lidle (rip) Ponson, Leiter, etc needed to come in, hope to catch lightning in a bottle, and patch the rotation together. Now, we have young guys that are chomping at the bit to break thru. I think Hughes/Aceves/Kennedy will all get good innings at SP. Coke will probably see time in both the pen and starting. This nothing but good news.

    • Gordo

      yea chacon and small were TERRIBLE coming in during the ’05 season right?

      • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

        I believe he is just saying that he would rather have planned depth as opposed to having to scramble.

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

        Yeah, I always liked Chacon. He’s a non-Mexican gangster, like a CC Sabathia-lite.

        (Very lite.)

        • Macphisto

          Yes, Jay, that is exactly what I am saying. Chaacon and Small were great finds but we got lucky with them. What did they do the following year? The Yanks caught lightning in a bottle. We don’t have to worry about that this year the way we have in years past.

          • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

            Eh some just look to argue.

            Like me usually, lol

        • Tom Zig

          Bet you didn’t know Chacon is tied for fourth place for career ERA (5.20) for the Colorado Rockies

  • JRVJ

    I wonder if Mr. Ashmore would have made the same point if Mike Mussina had decided to unretire and the Yanks had signed him for 2009.

    (i.e., I think part of Mr. Ashmore’s complaint is that Pettitte is no longer that good, or at least much better than the young guys in the minors. I can buy that argument to a point, but I do think it’s better to have depth for the inevitable – unfortunately – injuries that will crop up and due to Joba’s innings cap).

  • Gordo

    I’m sick of hearing about the young kids. let them EARN spots thru performance at AAA. They shouldn’t be handed any job especially a starting rotation slot.

    • Craig

      Interesting, haven’t heard that yet. I can’t say that I’d EVER get sick of hearing about our young kids after the near decade we’ve gone through with aging vets – some good, some bad – and lack of new blood. I am thrilled and hype as hell that we have begun the accumulation of young arms down on the farm. What we have right now (a modest road block to a few of the young kids) is actually a small glimpse of what we are on a path to – stud 5 man rotations with a log jam of young talent in the minors. Its going to be a great problem to have. With that said, the kids do need to earn it. That will not only help the team, but hopefully the prospects will come in hungry and aggressive knowing that they have to take and hold that spot from someone versus taking it for granted because he is the organization’s top prospect.

  • kane

    And hopefully if we can clinch a playoff berth early, then we can resy Burnett and Joba and let Hughes and IPK/Aceves/Coke could take their spots to see how much they’ve developed.

    • Raul

      Clinching the playoffs early? In this division? not going to happen its going down to the wire.

  • Raul

    Joba slotting into the five spot sounds fantastic. He will be one 130 innings cap this year. Hughes looked like he figured it out at the end of last year. Using him/Joba as a combination for the number five is ideal with Joba getting preference of course. Pettitte is a great addition

    • Raul

      on* a 130 innings cap i mean

      • Craig

        With all due respect, how do you know he will have a 130 IP cap? Wasn’t it like 150 last year? Even if he averages 5 IP a start for 30 starts (modest assumptions, but really, speculations are worth s*it right now) that gives him 150. Did you read that somewhere? I have heard that perhaps they wanna keep his IP during the regular season strictly limited so that he still has a lot left in the tank – can’t remember if that was just a friend or a reputable media source.

  • Tony

    assuming there are no injuries that would be legitimate concern. But what team goes a full season with the same 5 starters? There will be oportunities for Hughes to “earn” a few starts & prove his worth.

    The major league team is the main concern & the minor leagues should always be there to stock the team & help them perform. If Hughes or any other young pitcher is a stud – he will force the issue & the Yankees will call him up. If he is average then no will not deserve a call up.

    • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

      Tampa Bay just went through the season without injury I believe. Kazmir might have missed a start or two at the beginning, but I think they all avoided the DL and all made every start

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

        That would make Tampa Bay like the 2nd team in the past 40 years to do that, or some other unMoly like number.

        It’s an rarity. The fact that the Rays pulled it off doesn’t make it more likely.

        • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

          No doubt. He just said what team, and I said last years Rays. No arguement that its a very rarity.

      • MattG

        The ’98 Yankees did it or came real close. The year the White Sox won, they had super-natural health from their starters.

        Essentially, show me a team that has five starters with 29+ starts apiece, and I can probably show you a team that is competing for the World Series.

        • Craig

          All this shows is how much good fortune plays into success. We obviously hope for health from our rotation but that is not always granted. All of the other teams that have won with injuries and other such things were, undoubtedly, able to weather the storm with adequate depth – something that we have if the Baseball gods aren’t to grant us 30+ starts from each member of our rotation.

  • BJ

    I can’t get over that “threw only 204 innings” line. It’s crazy how consistent of an innings eater Pettitte has been.

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

      Andy Pettitte = PacMan

      (not Jones)

  • Yankee Al

    There should be more incentive laden contracts for MLB players out there. Too many players these days are getting that big contract and not living upto its value!

  • pat

    I might agree with ashmore if both phil and ipk hadn’t looked utterly overmatched and lost in their short stint in the bigs last year. Coke should and will be given more time to try and stick as a starter. That is a chore best served in Scranton not NYC. With the Geiseman likely being dfa’d for andy I think it is very likely the mexican gangster breaks with the big club as the longman/ joba’s caddy. As previously stated the Yankees are a win now organization. They took their one step backward last year, capitalized on the offseason market conditions and are now ready for the 2 steps forward.

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

      Except Phil wasn’t looking overmatched at the end of the season.

      I’m all for Pettitte and the depth, but Hughes showed promise in September. Let’s not overlook that just because his overall numbers were awful.

      • mustang

        “Hughes showed promise in September”

        The key word here being September.

        • pat

          Word. He wasn’t that great in his first start of september. 4 innings 4 hits 1er 2bb 4 k 89 pitches. The game against the jays was a gem- 8ip 5 hits 6k 0bb. Then again it was the last week of the season against a team well out of the playoff picture. I know u were just tryin to bust my balls because he wasn’t COMPLETLY lost all last season, but I hope you’re not insinuating he should be given the keys to the castle because of one good start in september.
          And for the record I’m not one of the people who thought he was handed a job out of spring training last year. I think he was definitely one of the 5 best pitchers throughout ST and earned the spot.

          • mustang

            “I hope you’re not insinuating he should be given the keys to the castle because of one good start in September.”

            The compete opposite I like to see some “promise” in April, May, June, and July.

            It’s the same old IPK and Hughes game played here on RAB. When they do great they are showing promise when they suck they are just young and developing.

            The Apologist’s theory

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

              As opposed to your same old “divorced from reality” theory. That works just as well.

              • mustang

                Reality is that they try the young pitchers last year they fail even with all that “stuff and make-up” and the nice T-Shirts.
                Now they actually would like to win so they got some proven talent.

                They are developing the kids slowly in the back end of the rotation the way they should have done it in the first place.

          • Ed

            I was at his first September start. It was a weird game. I really don’t know what to make of it.

            He started off ahead in the count for most batters. You could probably count on your fingers the number of pitches that were hit hard. But every at bat dragged on with lots of pitches weakly fouled off.

            Some of the hits off him shouldn’t have been hits. I remember Giambi didn’t even try to catch some balls that looked like they should have been easy plays.

            Basically, he wasn’t dominating, but no one could do anything with his pitches.

      • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

        IPK showed promise the previous September. September is the time that is spent against other teams AAA players. I am not saying Hughes isn’t going to be really good, but I hold zero stock in what players can do in September

        • Ed

          IPK also pitched completely differently in ’07 than in ’08. In ’07 he was hitting his spots and challenging people. In ’08 he couldn’t hit his spots, got frustrated, and threw worse pitches. His problems came from his head, not from the competition.

          • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

            You mean those 2 or 3 starts in ’07? The kid has hardly any big league innings and everyone has already kicked him out of town.

      • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

        I’m with you on that one, I think Hughes is going to be one of those players who start off slow. He pitched good at the end of the year last year and he pitched good at the end of the year in ’07.

    • A.D.

      Its more, if Phil and IPK had gone out and had decent seasons, then got elbowed out for proven FA, then I get the issue. But they both essentially pitched themselves out of the rotation last year, and then Phil finished strong. If they both had pitched as the Yankees thought they could all season we’d have:

      CC
      Wang
      Hughes
      IPK
      Joba

      …they didn’t so now they can pitch a full year in AAA and get their shot again

  • yanks99

    any truth to the rumor that they are looking at sheets to be the long man out of the pen?

    • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

      Where exactly did you hear this rumor start? Why in the hell would last years All Star game starting pitcher work as a long man?

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      I’m going to go ahead and assume there’s none because using Ben Sheets as a long reliever would be worse than using Joba in the 8th inning.

    • Ed

      Yeah, Girardi is tossing around a new idea based on that time he used Kennedy in relief. He’s still working on convincing Cashman though. They would use Joba & CC in the 8th, AJ & Pettitte for the 7th, Wang & Sheets for middle relief, and a bunch of rookies for the rotation. Igawa would be the #1 starter.

      That way the most best pitchers would be pitching the most important innings, and we’d get to take advantage of lefty/righty matchups at the same time. We’d break in the young pitchers by letting them pitch the unimportant innings. They wouldn’t get a lot of innings each start, so they’re considering going with a 4 man rotation to build up their arm strength.

      • yanks99

        this was a joke by the way

        • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

          Sure it was. Sure…

  • emac2@msn.com

    I don’t like it.

    I like the idea of the deals structure but hate that it’s just innings and not production. It puts girardi in a bad position every time he wants to pull him from a game or skip a Pettitte start.

    There should have been some performance incentives beyond showing up.

    I agree with Ashmore as well. I think we really overreacted to the fact that we relied on the young arms a little too much last year.

    • A.D.

      The idea would be if he isn’t pitching well, he won’t pitch as many innings… what type of performance incentives do you want?

    • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

      You aren’t allowed to have production be escalators I believe in MLB contracts.

      • Evan in NYC

        I think you can only have incentive laden contracts permitted to Innings Pitched and Starts for an SP.

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

          Yup. All performance based metrics (like ERA or Wins or Batting Average or Homers) are specifically banned by the CBA.

          • A.D.

            The most performance based would have to be all-star appearance or cy young voting

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      “…that it’s just innings and not production.”

      I think there are rules about what can and can’t be used as incentives.

      “I agree with Ashmore as well. I think we really overreacted to the fact that we relied on the young arms a little too much last year.”

      Half of me says this because in the last year or so, I”ve found myself saying “Well if we have all these young arms, why don’t we test them?” But at the same time, I agree with what was said in this post: If Pettitte left, fine. Here’s your chance to shine, Phil. If Pettitte came back, okay, let Hughes polish up in AAA a little bit and he’ll obviously still get starts with Joba’s innings limit and potential skipped starts from the other 4 guys as well. I think this situation will work out just fine.

      • Evan in NYC

        If not for the sheer fact that all 3 (Hughes/Kennedy/Aceves) know they are starting in AAA in April.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I’m perfectly okay with IPK, Phil and Aceves starting in AAA. Heck, Phil’s needed to do it the past two years…

    Fact is, I don’t remember the last time we had this sort of pitching depth.

    • steve (different one)

      that’s because it’s probably never happened in your lifetime…

      • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

        This to me, is the best part of the offseason- We now have tremendous depth, and the ability to make a move if need be, because we can trade some of these young arms.

  • Bryan

    While I kinda agree with Mike, I think more pitching depth is better because what happens if AJ goes down, would you rather have a rotation of CC, Wang, Pettitte, Joba, and Hughes. Or a rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Huges, and Kennedy? Which is kinda the situation we were in last season.

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  • mustang

    “With this incentive-laden deal, he’ll put pressure on himself to pitch.”

    The man pitched with a sore shoulder the second half of the season and has proved to be a warrior over the years. To make an inference that he needs incentive-laden deal to help him pitch it’s a bit of a slap in the face.

  • Rob in CT

    I have no problem with Hughes and IPK pitching in AAA. Hopefully, Hughes will be the #1 callup in case of injury or to make some starts in order to keep Joba under his cap (hopefully in that he’s gotta be healthy and effective to be that guy). IPK is a little trickier, IMO. He’s thrown a fair number of AAA innings and he’s great down there… and terrible up in MLB. So it’s a fair question as to whether more AAA will do anything for him. But the Yankees can’t really worry about that. They’re trying to win the toughest division in baseball. Besides, the team always seems to need 6-8 starters. IPK will probably get another chance this year to show improvement.

    Aceves and Coke keep getting mentioned… Aceves basically is what he is – there isn’t much (if any) development left in him. I think he’s useful depth, but IIRC his FIP last year was WAY higher than his ERA.

    Coke I see as a good lefty relief option. Maybe, if everything goes well for him, he’s a back-end starter type. Am I underestimating him?

    Pettitte is a league-average or better starter who has consistently given his teams innings. I love this deal.

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

      Aceves basically is what he is – there isn’t much (if any) development left in him. I think he’s useful depth, but IIRC his FIP last year was WAY higher than his ERA.

      Yup.
      Aceves, 2008 ML (30.0 IP):
      ERA: 2.40, FIP: 4.80

      Aceves, 2008 AAA (43.2 IP):
      ERA: 4.12, FIP: 4.02

      I’m not saying he’s a bust, but the indicators seem to say it’s only a matter of time before the league catches up to him.

      • Ryan S.

        Aceves has longman written all over him.

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

          Hey now!

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Rob, I dont’ think you’re underestimating Coke at all. I see that projection as very realistic.

  • Jake H

    Why is it bad for Hughes to dominate, get his confidence up and get innings for next year? I mean come on, the guy is going to be given a spot next year and would it be terrible if he could go 180 innings or more next year?

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      It’s bad because he’s a bust if he hasn’t won 2 Cy Youngs by now. Obviously.

  • steve (different one)

    Ashmore covers the Trenton Thunder.

    as a result, there is naturally a little bias here. his perspective is more geared towards the farm system and seeing those guys prosper.

    he’s very good at what he does, but i think he’s missing the forest for the trees here a bit.

    • mustang

      I agree.
      I think this is the perfect situation. Now they give the kids time to develop a bit slower. (Which is what they should of done in the first place). And next year they have the 5th spot waiting for them.

    • Mike Ashmore

      I’m basing what I said off of Pettitte’s relatively poor season last year, not that I cover the Thunder. Of the players I listed, several never played for Trenton…Igawa, Johnson come to mind.

      Someone suggested that I’d be thinking a little differently if this were Mussina and not Pettitte, and they’re probably right. It would still create the same “problem,” but at least Mussina showed he could be a good 2 or 3 starter last year.

      Pettitte’s ERA was his worst in 10 years or so, and his average against was the highest it’s ever been at either the minor or major league level.

      But I won’t deny that I’m looking at it from a minor league perspective…because that is pretty much my job at this point in the season. I just think that you’re going to have a lot of frustrated Yankees pitching prospects…

      • steve (different one)

        i don’t really see how Hughes and Kennedy can be “frustrated” given that they were both handed rotation spots last year and crapped the bed.

        i’m as big a Hughes fan as anyone here, but he’s smart enough to know that he hasn’t earned a spot this year.

        Coke has no illusions that he is ready to start in the majors.

        as for the rest of the guys you listed on your blog, they are mostly irrelevant. Christian Garcia is MILES from the big leagues. Sanchez is jut coming back from TJS. he’s not an option either.

        i’m not really worried if Igawa is “frustrated”. etc.

        Pettitte is the best option for the 2009 Yankees to win the most games. Hughes is right behind him, but with Joba’s limits, he’s going to get his chance in 2009.

        • mustang

          Steve (different one)
          I must say your one of the best guys here at matching Stats with good old fashion logic. This is a slam-dunk comment well done.

          • steve (different one)

            thanks dude.

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

          Even if all four veteran pitchers (CC, AJ, Wang, Pettitte) remain healthy and make 34 starts (or 210 innings) each, that still leaves 26 starts/160 innings for the 5th starter slot, and Joba can’t take all of those. Either Phil, or IPK, or both figure to see time in the majors anyway.

          As for Coke and Aceves, yeah, they probably don’t make the show now that Pettitte’s around (unless there’s an injury), but they’re probably not destined to be big league starters anyway, right?

          • mustang

            RAB’s commentaries are on a roll today. Keep preach on bro.

            • mustang

              preaching

      • MattG

        I buy that Kennedy may be frustrated. But he can’t be frustrated that the Yankees signed Pettitte–he needs to be frustrated in his own performance. Blaming the organization isn’t going to help him, and I hope there is someone in the organization that can get this message through to him.

        To tell it from what could be Kennedy’s perspective–he’s dominated the minor leagues, and had a very short go of it in the majors. He could very well be frustrated he is in NY, with the expectations to win, as opposed to Pittsburgh or KC. In another organization, he would probably have a starting spot sewn up right now.

        I do not buy Hughes will be frustrated. He knows he is first in line. He knows the Yankees have held onto him despite many attractive trade possibilities. Hughes may be a AAA pitcher right now, but it is most obvious what the Yankees expect of him, and he knows, once he shows it, the Yankees will make room for him.

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

          The fact that we refused to sign anybody but Andy on anything more than a one-year deal speaks directly to the fact that we expect Hughes to be firmly in the rotation by opening day 2010.

          Had we signed Lowe or Sheets or Perez etc. to a 2, 3, or 4 year deal, that would be telling Hughes and IPK to go suck a lemon. We didn’t do that.

          • mustang

            Bingo.
            That’s why I didn’t want them so the kids get there chance next year.

          • mustang

            Hey,
            tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside since your on such a roll today any suggestion about the economy.
            LOL

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

              Yeah, actually. Boehner and McConnell have it all wrong by pushing for more tax cuts and less spending in the stimulus package. You don’t tax-cut your way out of a recession, you spend your way out of a recession. Every dollar appropriated for public works projects goes 100% into the American cashflow. Money returned to the American peoples via tax cuts is often hoarded and therefore doesn’t help stimulate the transfer of goods and services.

              • mustang

                Holy Shit, I was kidding, but WELL DONE I totally agree.
                Very impressive, my man.

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

                  I have ridiculous upside.

      • Rob in CT

        And those of us pleased with resigning Pettitte are looking beyond ERA. Pettitte’s FIP last season was good. Even in a bad year, he was basically average. Hughes and IPK absolutely faceplanted. I remain hopeful, but those guys should understand they have some things to prove.

        I think the Yankees pitching prospects will find that if they pitch well, they will get opportunities. They will probably have to earn it (unless the rotation is wrecked by injuries again), but that’s how it should be. In the long-term view, at least 1 spot in the rotation will be available in 2010, as Pettitte is only signed for 1 year. And that’s w/o considering injuries.

      • Jay CT… STILL Ben Sheets biggest fan (till the season starts)

        Old Ranger, is this you?

  • Pingback: Pettitte and the Kids | The Yankee Universe

  • MattG

    Philip Hughes has a grand total of 310 minor league innings. They are ultimately dominant innings, but they are still just 310 innings. This is his age 23 season. While that is a little old for a future HOFer, there are plenty of fine careers that started at age 23.

    Ian Kennedy has just 226 minor league innings, with even better results than Hughes, however as a college player, he turns 24 this year. I think his days of being compared to Mike Mussina are over, unless he utterly dominates AAA right now.

    I’ll bet these guys get 30 starts in the majors this year, just due to stuff. And when they do, I’ll bet they pitch very well–but this is kind of an important season for Kennedy especially–their stars are dimming.

    I think they’ll get more than 30 starts combined this year. Stuff happens. I’ll bet both pitch really well when given the chance.

  • mike

    As much as I am not Cash’s biggest fan, why is no one giving him kudos for working out a deal with Pettitte?

    While I admit that he had no other options, especially with the Astros not being in the mix, I still felt that Cash would give in to pressure to get the deal done at the 10mm mark.

    If he makes more than 10mm, especially with innings bonus, it can only bode well for 2009

    • mike

      by “no one” i mean national press

  • Dirt

    These comments on ESPN made me so angry, although I knew what I was getting myself into, so if anybody wants to get really angry:

    http://myespn.go.com/s/convers.....ry/3863434

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

      Nails on a chalkboard…

  • Count Zero

    As long as the Yanks don’t leave him in there to the detriment of the young arms if the time is right to replace him, this one-year contract will work out for everyone.

    That sums it up nicely right there. If JT were still the manager, I would be concerned because no way he pulls Andy out of the rotation unless he’s on the DL. But since JT is gone (if not forgotten), I’m good with it.

    • MattG

      What does ‘JT’ stand for?

      :)

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

        Justin Timberlake.

        “If Justin Timberlake were still the manager, I would be concerned because no way he pulls Andy out of the rotation unless he’s on the DL. But since Justin Timberlake is gone (if not forgotten), I’m good with it.”

      • jon

        JT stands for Johnny Termain

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Tremain

    • MattG

      Incidentally, I think you are spot on with this. JT was clinically adverse to change. I mean, the guy needed medication for that or something. JG doesn’t give a fart about the name on your jersey.

      Or in this case, number.

  • Bill

    What we learned last year is that if you want to compete in a given year rotation spots shouldn’t simply be handed to someone that hasn’t earned them. Last year we handed rotations spots to Hughes and Kennedy and paid dearly for it. This year we have learned from our mistakes and will let those two as well as others fully develop and fully prepare for that position so that when they are called upon they will be ready and they will have earned it.

    Plus as the #6, 7, and 8 starters those guys will still likely have plenty of opportunities to contribute. Joba will be on innings limit, Burnett is injury prone, Wang is coming off an injury, CC is coming off a 2 year span in which he threw over 500 innings (including the playoffs), and Pettitte played most of the second half of the year last year hurt and did not pitch well at all in that span. Also when looking at the Yankees luck in the rotation well over the past couple years we’re averaging about 12+ plus different starting pitchers each year. That means the #6, 7, and 8 guys will likely get their chances.

    To summarize re-signing Andy was a great move. His innings and normally solid production should really help us make a push for and possibly through the playoffs.

  • Rob S.

    This is such a dumb argument. Plenty of rookie arms get their shot last season and look where it got us. I’ll take a proven workhorse like Pettite anyday over an unproven rookie. You know inevitably that young starters will get their chances and most likely they’ll stick around if they perform well. Before I worry about Hughes or Kennedy getting frustrated they should know how frustrated I am with them….my new tag line with which I shall end every post…I hate John Sterling …or should it be….John Sterling sucks….???

  • J.R.

    Good bye Chase Wirght, DFA

  • Virginia Yankee

    never enough P — keeping andy gets him into new stadium — but unless a sustained injury occurs shuts off the ‘young guns’ for a year

    revisit history – strategy — so why pass on santana??

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

      Are you really asking why pass on Santana? The answer isn’t obvious to you?

  • deadrody

    While I’m sure there are guys that will repeat levels for the Yanks in the minors, I don’t believe ANY of the four players referenced, if they didn’t not throw one pitch for the Yankees will be “repeating” their level. Why ? Because not one of them has pitched a complete season at AAA. How about they try that, without worrying about a callup to NY and without missing time due to injury. THEN we’ll worry about them being frustrated.

    The fact is Coke is the only one that hasn’t been rushed to NY to pitch because of injury or ineffectiveness by the guys already on the roster, and he didn’t start in AAA last year either. I would double check that, but every damn site I can think of that would have that info, will not come up for me. I’m thinking there is some kind of screwy DNS thing going on.