If Andy Pettitte pitches in 2009, it figures to be for more than $10 million. Tyler Kepner reports that Pettitte has rejected the Yankees’ offer, though he still “could return because some in the Yankees’ hierarchy want him back.” Pettitte has long expressed his desire to stay with the Yankees, but they’ll have to sweeten the pot for that reunion to occur.
The Yankees still have a number of options to round out their rotation. They could pursue the remaining free agent options. While it’s tough to count them out on Derek Lowe, I don’t think anyone believes he’ll end up in pinstripes. Ben Sheets remains a possibility, though his shoulder might be too large a concern. They could check out Oliver Perez, but they certainly should not. Alternatively, they could open up the spot to Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, or Alfedo Aceves in Spring Training.
I still think that retaining Pettitte is the best option. The risk is obvious. Pettitte posted a 4.54 ERA last year, 5.35 after the All-Star break while battling shoulder issues. The Yanks would be gambling on him recovering and staying healthy throughout 2009. The payoff would be 200+ innings of slightly above-average pitching. This would take a bit of pressure off Joba Chamberlain, who has to work around an innings cap.
Will the Yanks tack on a couple million to the offer to retain Pettitte? I’d like to think so. If we’re talking $12 million, I don’t see why not. No, I don’t cut the checks, but if they were offering $10, they could probably do $12 easily. For one year, it’s a better deal than the other available free agents.