Signing Pettitte makes the off-season clearer


While I’m out at the Winter Meetings, I’m doing some work for the YES Network. It won’t be breaking any stories — as I overheard from a journalist this morning, “Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney break all our stories.” –but it’s something. Andy Pettitte is atop the Yanks’ ledger, and I explain why he’s the logical place to start.

Categories : Asides


  1. Evil Empire says:

    “Ken Rosenthal … breaks all our stories”

    Those words make me feel ill. I mean, if the stories were about the pending attack from Mordor, the latest is hairy feet grooming, or Shire gossip, that’d be fine.

    Baseball? No, he’s too much of a tool.

    • Michael Kay says:

      FOX probably pays for that right, they probably even pay ESPN to occasionally look the other way when Rosenthal breaks one of Olney’s stories.

  2. Michael Kay says:

    hopefully Mike Cameron is next, I just want it to be done. So next year when his name comes up we can just say “They did have him last year, he hit .212 in 50 games and they shipped him to The Cubs for a case of Almond Joys.”

    • whozat says:

      He must also have forgotten how to take a walk, play defense and hit home runs in your example, otherwise the conclusion wouldn’t follow from the evidence.

      You should try and fully specify these things, you won’t look so myopic.

  3. Rose says:

    He will be signed…the question is just how much??

    My guess is $10 with incentives…

  4. Jay says:

    Ill take 1 dollar Bob.

  5. The Three Amigos says:

    How in this market is it logical to pay Pettite 11 mil with 5 more in incentives. How about 11 flat, which is a 500K raise over last year and call it a day. Maybe 12 M. Anymore then that we should look at other options. Nobody is paying Andy more then us, and where else is he going to play. Texas or LA?

    • Jeremy says:

      Agreed. You don’t give Pettitte a high base salary AND incentives.

      • TheLastClown says:

        Well the idea is that he WAS worth $16/per.

        Performance dropoff in 2008, coupled with market collapse, caused his price to plummet.

        Any agent worth his salt is going to try & recapture the previously established value. This is how it works in the entertainment industry anyway.

        Andy had a great year last year with minimal injury concerns going into this one, and the Yanks do need that #3 guy. Hendricks Bros. know that.

        He won’t be guaranteed the $16, but I could see a base of about what he achieved last year coupled with incentives to possibly get closer to that previously established mark.

        His highest Annual Salary was $17.5M, the last year of a backloaded deal w/ the ‘Stros.

        • The Three Amigos says:

          Fair enough, however the market clearly is not what it was in 2007 for players. Yanks can easily come back with OK, we are going to sign Ben Sheets, or x, y, z.

        • Ed says:

          Performance dropoff in 2008, coupled with market collapse, caused his price to plummet.

          The market had nothing to do with Pettitte’s salary last year.

          Pettitte began the offseason by stating to the press that he would not play for any team other than the Yankees. That killed all leverage he had in negotiations. The Yankees had no reason to offer him market value after that.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

      or he wouldnt, and i dont see a better one year option out there…

      • The Three Amigos says:

        That’s true he is the best one year option, but if that’s all the Yanks cared about they wouldve offered Damon Arbitration at 1 year 14-15 mil.

        If they are serious about lowering payroll and I think they are- they have to start somewhere. I think they are doing this not because they need to lower payroll so much, but because FA perception of the Yankees can’t just be biggest contract ever. It can be big contract, but the Yankees have to get back to bringing FA in because they want to win WS and now they are in a great position to do that with most cornerstones locked up long term.

        • The Three Amigos says:

          ** It’s about resetting expectations.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

            A larger part of the compensation package needs to be ‘AND…wait for it…you got to play for the most storied franchise in all of sports, who, with your addition, are the hands on favorite to REPEAT as world champion…or you can make another million playing in LA or Chicago. Either way.’

        • Drew says:

          Damon and Andy are different animals.

          The pitching market is better(for the players) than the OF/DH market.

          On the open market Andy is worth somewhere between 10-15, especially with the luxury of a one year deal. The market for Damon is not 15, that’s crazy.

    • Drew says:

      Eh. What’s wrong with paying a guy what he’s worth? If he makes it through the year and has 33 starts he probably deserves the kickers to push him from 11 to 13-15. Plus, yeah you can look at other options, but not many will provide you with the innings that he can give along with the fact that he is coming for only one year.

    • JMK aka The Overshare says:

      A legit #3 starter throwing 200+ innings of around 4.00 ERA ball to the Yankees is worth overpaying for by a small amount and using incentives to sweeten the pot.

      He was supposedly worth around $15 million last year, so it’s not crazy to think $11 million + incentives is a poor idea. He doesn’t hit the incentives, well, hey, you “saved” some money. He hits the incentives and it’s probably worth it. It’s not long-term; this is one year, maybe his last.

      The other guys out there have serious flaws. Pettitte is about as good a bet to perform, give lots of innings and take a one-year deal. Lackey may throw 200 innings, but it’s unlikely, although he’s a higher-quality pitcher. Sheets is definitely a better pitcher, but we’re looking for a guy that can eat innings and throw a solid, not spectacular game. Pettitte is a much better lock than Sheets to throw innings on a short deal. Besides, Sheets is probably looking for a few years, not one. Harden can’t give you innings, Bedard has serious injury concerns and doesn’t like the spotlight. Duke is an option, but more for depth than necessarily in the rotation

      Who’s left? Pettitte is the best, most flexible option for the money, whether it be $10 million or a total of $15 million, IMO.

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        I forgot: signing Lackey will kill long-term flexibility. But that’s obvious.

        • The Three Amigos says:

          True, he is the best option, but no one is giving him more then 12 M and if they do fine, then raise it. But, the man has publicly stated Yankees or bust. This isn’t brain surgery, we are only competing against ourselves.

          • Jay says:

            I agree. @ 12 mil, he’s getting more than last year, and you have to expect some slight decline no?

            I think 12 mil would get it done.

            • JMK aka The Overshare says:

              But things are more complex than that. You could make the argument he outplayed his contract (even with the incentives), he has great leverage (retiring), he’s the best fit for the Yankees short-term and long-term, and it’s a good market for pitchers this year.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

            we are only competing against ourselves.


          • Tubby says:

            We are competing against the desire to retire. In this specific set of circumstances, that threat carries considerable leverage. If we don’t sign Andy, the Yanks will have to strongly consider trading valuable young talent for Halladay or offering a long term/high cost deal to Lackey. An extra $1 or $2 million shouldn’t stand in the way of bringing Pettitte back because the alternatives are much more costly.

          • JMK aka The Overshare says:

            We’re not simply competing against ourselves. I understand there’s no competition for his professional services outside of us, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have leverage. The leverage in this case, retirement, may even be greater leverage than another team as competition, which will force us to take a big risk on a flexibility-killing Lackey or an oft-injured pitcher unlikely to give you 200 innings–the most critical need in our rotation. So you either take your name out of the next two free agencies by signing Lackey or you likely expose your entire staff to a higher workload. Is that worth a couple million? We’re not talking $10 million dollars—we’re probably closer to a $2-3 million dollar difference.

            Not to beat a dead horse, but as I mentioned, he was worth $15 million last year, and is arguably the most likely pitcher to hit 200 innings with an ERA of 4.00. The others may be better in terms of pure talent, but he fits the need best.

            This isn’t brain surgery, you’re right–there are limits. Giving him $17 million a season would be too much, but I doubt he wants that. Fair price is fair.

          • Mike HC says:

            We are competing against retirement and spending more time with his family, which depending on how you look at it, could give the Yanks more leverage, ha. Either way, if the Yanks don’t show Pettitte that he valued and wanted, he will probably call it a career.

            Saying that, I think Pettitte will re sign on a one year deal without any incentives. Somewhere between 12-14 million in my opinion.

    • Mike HC says:

      I’m with you there. 11 million base with 5 million in incentives is ridiculous. Unless the incentives are that he needs to reach 250 innings.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

        11 base, 500k for every 50 innings up to 2m, then 1m for every 7 innings of playoffs pitched :)

        • Mike HC says:

          Yes, the contract would be ridiculous in reality, but in the realm of Yankee Blog comments from the name “king of fruitless hypotheticals,” that hypothetical contract does not sound that bad. I guess adding in the playoff innings makes it a bit more interesting and worthwhile. I’m not even sure if that is allowed in a contract. Maybe.

          • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

            based on the word ‘fruitless’ i’m going to go with ‘no.’

            i have no concrete knowledge of the fact, but i’ve always made my living by guessing based on circumstantial evidence…

  6. Mike HC says:

    One year, 13.85 million. No incentives.

    • Drew says:

      What’s wrong with incentives?
      Why not an 11 million base with 3-4 in incentives. Judging from your above posts it seems for some reason you’re really against these incentives which are basically a small insurance policy. I don’t understand why.

      • Mike HC says:

        I’m just predicting on what the contract will end up being. Not what I would offer. And now I am thinking more like one year, 13.37 million.

        The contract I would prefer to give Pettitte is almost exactly what you wrote, 11 million base with 2-3 million in incentives.

        I just have a feeling there will not be any incentives in Pettitte’s deal this year. Not really based on anything but on the fact Pettitte will probably prefer it that way. But what the hell do I know???

  7. YankFanDave says:

    Don’t be so sure Andy will sign; he is a rightfully very proud man. The Yankees seem intent on making a fair offer early and are unlikely to get involved in protracted talks if they believe they have made their best offer. I want it to happen but he just might be overvaluing himself. Just another armchair muse.

    There is a lot of talk about Edwin Jackson is close to being traded, none seems to involve the Yanks but won’t that be interesting if that went down.

    After the pitcher is sewn up, let’s hope the Yanks get Damon in fold. And, please don’t bring in DeRosa to replace Damon and please, please pass on Nick Johnson as DH. DeRose is great as a super utility type but does not fit as a starter in left and is overvalued. He expects Figgins, or at least Polanco, $ but he isn’t as valuable as either of them. Regarding Johnson, one word — injuries!

    • Mike HC says:

      The Yanks are well aware of his injury problems, and much of Johnson’s value comes with his defense. I’m sure Johnson would also prefer to go to a team where he is their starting 1b.

      While Johnson is surely an option, every free agent is an option, he is most likely far down the Yanks list as you wrote.

  8. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    Here’s how I see this all going down: Yankees sign Andy to a 1-year $13-14 million deal, no incentives OR $11 million guaranteed with an extra allotment for incentives.

    We just saved $2 million** by letting go a future manager at Subway (Bruney), and may use that to shore up arguably the Yankees’ most pressing off-season need.

    **Note: I like the Nats picking Chuck Lofgren for the Yanks with the first pick of the Rule V draft as the PTBNL in the Bruney deal. He could be a good swingman or LOOGY reliever, especially if Marte is sharing the 8th with K-Rob.

  9. Mr.Jigginz says:

    For the rule 5 pick?Mike Axisa,you are a genius!!!

  10. toad says:

    Sign Pettitte. That is all.

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