It came out of nowhere, which makes it all the better. Minutes ago Jack Curry reported that the Yankees have signed Andy Pettitte to a one-year, $2.5 million minor league deal that does not include any incentives. Joel Sherman has since confirmed the report. At 1 p.m. the YES Network will have more details. Chances are Pettitte won’t be ready for Opening Day — he does need to get into the swing of things — but he’ll be around for the 2012 season. Forget Michael Pineda. Forget Hiroki Kuroda. This is the most exciting news of the off-season.
Update by Ben (1:03 p.m.): According to multiple reports, Pettitte got the itch to rejoin the club when he visited Spring Training a few weeks ago. After considering a return throughout the off-season, he reached out to the club recently, and the team responded in kind. As Sherman reported, Yankee sources said, “It’s Andy Pettitte; if he wants to come back, we say yes.”
For now, Pettitte’s comeback attempt — and that’s what this is — will have little impact on the starting rotation. Pettitte, who turns 40 in June, will have to work his way back into game-ready condition, and the Yanks plan to give him as much time as he needs. He should probably be viewed as an option come mid-May or even early June. Much depends upon the current condition and the shape of his left arm and legs.
When or if Pettitte is ready to return to the Majors, the Yanks will have the luxury of seven viable starters. He could slot in behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda while taking pressure off of the young Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda with Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes in the wings. Pettitte’s return would also make Garcia, signed to just a $4 million deal, a potential trade chip.
It’s something to think about how, just over two months ago, the Yanks were facing a shortage of starting pitchers but now find themselves awash in arms.
Update by Mike (2:01 p.m.): In an appearance on YES, Brian Cashman said the team offered Pettitte a substantial contract back in December, around $10-12MM. He decided to work out on his own to see how he felt before accepting, but basically told the team to plan on now having him. Following the Pineda and Kuroda moves, Cashman told Pettitte to stop working out because they didn’t have room for him. Andy kept going and here we are.