It’s been a whirlwind day for Andy Pettitte and the Yanks. After rumors emerged this morning of an impending thaw to the stalemate between the Yanks and their long-time lefty, news progressed quickly, and the Yanks just announced a one-year, $5.5-million deal with Andy Pettitte. The deal also provides up to $6.5 million in incentives.
According to PeteAbe, the incentives clauses are based on innings pitched and time spent on the roster. It seems that Pettitte will make a good chunk of changes as long as he remains uninjured and effective this season.
Meanwhile, Pettitte is taking a steep guaranteed paycut right now. He had a $16 million deal in 2008 and faced a $10-$10.5 million offer for 2009. In December, it became apparent that Pettitte was not keen on taking even that $6 million cut, and he held out for more. But as the U.S. economy has worsened, Pettitte’s options dwindled to one.
Without knowing the details of the negotiation, it seems to me as though Pettitte opted to go with the Yanks over retirement and had to accept a deal more on their terms than his. Reporting on the call, Abraham says that Pettitte felt slighted by the pay cut. He probably feels worse about turning down more guaranteed money.
By guaranteeing a low salary, the Yanks still seem to be on pace to meet but not quite exceed their 2008 payroll for now. The incentives may push them up to that limit, but the team should be just fine financially. Don’t hold your breath for any other big moves until much closer to the trading deadline.
Baseball-wise, the Yankees will now head into spring training with a starting five of CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain with Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Al Aceves and Phil Coke waiting in the wings. Barring any unforeseen injuries, Hughes will get to hone his craft at AAA to start the season, and with Joba’s innings limits, he’ll have ample opportunity to pitch in the Bronx this season. That’s pitching depth we can believe in.