Mar
17

The Morning After: Andy Pettitte

By

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Remember what it was like when the Yankees had rotation problems? That was only twelve weeks ago, and since then they’ve added Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda while subtracting A.J. Burnett. Yesterday they put the cherry on top, dragging Andy Pettitte out of retirement and signing him to a minor league deal worth $2.5M with no incentives. To call it surprising would be an understatement.

The 39-year-old Pettitte is very much a unique case. This isn’t Bartolo Colon v2.0, a guy who’s trying to come back after major arm problems at an advanced age. Andy voluntarily left the game a year ago and simply got the itch to pitch again. The Yankees have always left the door open and the two sides eventually figured things out once he decided to return. For more on the signing process and stuff, check out my recap post at MLBTR. Here are some random thoughts and musings…

  • One important thing to keep in mind: this is a comeback attempt, Pettitte isn’t guaranteed to do anything. He could get a month into workouts then decide it isn’t worth it and go back home. He could return to the team and pitch horribly due to age and rust. That would be worse.
  • Another important thing to keep in mind: Brian Cashman told Pettitte not to come back after the Pineda and Kuroda moves. Andy keep working out on his own and still wanted to sign. Pretty clear indication that he wants to do this and still thinks he can pitch at a high level.
  • Cashman said yesterday that they offered Pettitte a one-year deal worth $10-12M in December, and I’m almost certain that would have meant no Hiroki Kuroda. I do not believe they would have spent all that money on those two and then kept Jesus Montero. It would have been Pineda and Pettitte instead of Pineda and Kuroda.
  • I don’t know what the Yankees will do with their rotation whenever Pettitte is ready to go — Cashman made it clear yesterday that he’s going to be a starter — but there’s no rush to figure this out. They can wait the six or eight or however many weeks, then sort things out. It’s cliche, but these things tend to take care of themselves.
  • That said, I think it’s pretty obvious that Freddy Garcia is trade bait right now. He has some trade value because his contract is so much more favorable than Joe Blanton’s or John Lannan’s, and he’s at least their equal on the mound. I wouldn’t expect a ton in return. Maybe some salary relief and a Grade-B prospect.
  • The Triple-A starters — specifically David Phelps, Adam Warren, and D.J. Mitchell — are getting hosed, but that’s part of the game. I’m pretty sure we’re going to see at least one of these guys this summer, most likely in relief now. I’m also pretty sure one will get traded at some point, but I thought that before Pettitte came back anyway.
  • I am skeptical about how much Andy can actually help the team after a year away from the game, but he did go out on top after 2010. This isn’t a Jorge Posada situation. Posada was forced into retirement because his skills had obviously faded. Andy was still an above-average hurler when he decided to hang ‘em up, and that’s slightly encouraging. The year off might even be a good thing for his arm and body.
  • One more little note: As soon as Pettitte appears in a big league game, he’ll reset his Hall of Fame clock. Right now he’s scheduled to appear on the ballot in 2015, but if he pitches this year it will get pushed back to 2017 at the earliest. I don’t expect him to get in, but who knows how much closer he’ll get to 300 wins now.

It’s hard not to love the contract itself. Pettitte isn’t soaking up a 40-man roster spot at the moment and he won’t get a dime of that $2.5M until he’s added to the roster. Chances are it’s pro-rated as well, he won’t even get the full amount. The Yankees now have a ridiculously great piece of rotation insurance stashed away with zero risk involved. The fact that he’s a fan favorite (and left-handed!) is just icing on the cake.

Categories : Musings
  • Mike HC

    I guess one year hanging out with the family was more than enough, ha. He couldn’t get back to the Yanks fast enough even when Cashman told him they didn’t need him.

    • RetroRob

      Playing ball with the boys and making a few million dollars in the process, or staying home with the family?

      Surprised it took a full year.

      As I said yesterday, Mariano, take note!

  • Whizzo the Wize

    Whizzo loves the combination of starting depth plus expanded playoffs. With more teams dreaming the impossible dream Freddy or Hughes stand to bring back a more significant return come late spring.

    Whizzo hears the Bucs are in need of a hurler.

    • Havok9120

      This makes sense. Hadnt considered it.

      Hmmm.

  • AC

    Good for him. It’s a no risk for Yanks. He turned down 10-12 mil to take 2.5 on a minor league deal instead. A lot if people would have grabbed the $$. Let’s see what he’s got. After a 3-4 starts in minors and he feels he doesn’t have it anymore he will walk away.

  • Zack D

    He got offered 10-12m guranteed after a year of not pitching? Don’t follow that logic, but I’m all for 2.5m

  • Plank

    Who is this “Andy” “Pettitte” fellow? I just started following baseball last season. He seems small.

    • http://www.retire21.org/ first name only male – Retire 21

      Describe him?…That’s hard. I don’t know if I can.
      He is shortish, and oldish,
      and brownish, and mossy,
      and he speaks with a voice that is sharpish and bossy.

      • I Voted 4 Kodos

        Well played, sir. Well played.

  • Rob G

    When Bobby V shows respect for the game and other players is when I will show him any respect. Until then he is the most arrogant A-Hole in the game and I can’t wait for the stories from Boston this year on how his players want him fired! Just saying….

    • viridiana

      Bobby V. fits in perfectly with Red Sox management team. Didn’t believe Sux could find bigger A-hole than Lucchino. Guess I underestimated them.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        Totally agree.

        It’s bad enough he acts like he invented the game ( which is comical considering he’s never won anything) and add in his insatiable quest to aways be the center of attention and top it off with his new found obsession to comment on every move the Yankees make and it all adds up to the biggest asshole douchebag in baseball by a country mile.

        • gc

          Bobby V is definitely an ass, but I think the thing people are overlooking is the media’s role in all of this. They LOVE having him in Boston because they know he’ll be far more forthcoming in his answers than most other managers. So as soon as the Yankees make a move, the first thing they do is search him out and ask him what he thinks about it, knowing he’ll play their little game to say outrageous things and create headlines for them. The first really lengthy article I read yesterday about the Pettitte signing, before the news cycle had ingested all the information completely, had only one quote in it. Not from Pettitte. Not from Cashman. Not from Girardi. But from Bobby Valentine. The media loves him and they’ll either be his undoing or they’re going to make him a god up there. Probably a bit of both.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            Very true especially now that he has relationships with ESPN after working there.

            ESPN is gonna milk the Bobby V vs. the Yankees angle for all it’s worth and now with Francona working there and the fact that there seems to be no love lost between him and the Red Sox , it’s gonna be a circus.

            Most managers though with the exception of Valentine would have enough sense to avoid saying something controversial but he can never resist the urge to make an ass out of himself whenever someone sticks a microphone in his face.

            • JAG

              I have never wanted the Red Sox to miss the playoffs more in my entire life.

              I may have hated the Sox during the late 00s, but I could at least respect Francona. Bobby V is a guy who you just can’t wait to shove his words back in his face by crushing him and his team.

  • Ace

    The big question is who gets bumped if and when Pettitte is ready to join the rotation. If Hughes and Nova are both pitching well, what will the Yanks do?

    • Plank

      I would trade Hughes in that situation if I were Cashman.

      • nolan

        hopefully cashman can turn hughes and or freddy plus some of our surplus AAA starting pitching into a young cost controlled outfielder who can replace swisher

        • Mike HC

          Hopefully it is Freddy. I see Pettitte as taking over Garcia’s role, not Hughes hopefully.

      • yankdeez

        or a stopgap fix the age difference alone does not constitute trading a potential arm control for Pettitte he is not there forever

    • Mike HC

      Like Axisa said though, there is at least a decent chance that by the time Pettitte is ready to go, at least one of our starters will either be hurt or getting bombed on a regular basis. You never know though, I’m hoping all five starters pitch over 200 innings and under 4.0 era. In that case, I would personally keep Pettitte as the long man until he is needed.

      • Ace

        Yes, probably. But IF they are all healthy and pitching well, what then?

        • Mike HC

          Pettitte long man in my opinion. But in reality, what happens is that the Yanks make a decision regardless of what I think and then I cheer, ha.

        • CP

          Six man rotation!

        • RetroRob

          Hoping that happens.

          Life will be good. : -)

    • DM

      Grin from ear to ear as they think about all their good pitching.

  • Monterowasdinero

    I pitched BP last night and feel like I have something left in the tank….

    Seriously, I will not be thinking much about Andy until a month or two from now if he is still healthy.

    As for Jorge, can we really say he was “truly done” from the left side as we now have the aged Raul Ibanez as our DH?

    • Ted Nelson

      Agree about Jorge. I usually like Cashman’s work, but am a little perplexed that he sees enough value in a terrible defensive OF to guarantee his deal instead of using someone who can either hit or field… You know, someone who can still play MLB baseball. Hope Ibanez proves me wrong, but I am not optimistic. I’m still hoping Branyan’s back means he takes an exst/minor league assignment and he gets himself healthy to contribute down the stretch… Or just trade for someone I guess.

      • RetroRob

        Agreed. Posada was not done from the left side, and last I checked, RH’d pitchers still make up a little more than 2/3rds of the game.

        That said, they seem to want the DH bat to also be an OFer. I can’t suddenly pretend to be a fan of the Ibanez signing, because I don’t think it will work out at all. I hope I’m wrong. These are the type of situations where I’m more than happy to be wrong.

  • M-Three

    I can’t wait to see Pettitte back in pinstripes in actual MLB games. I think he will show that hes still got it because Pettitte has got a lot of heart and will alway be able to battle his way through. Remember, its never really been about velocity with Pettitte but instead hes command and movement.

    As for your random thoughts, I do agree this takes away a possible opportunity from Warren or Phelp but could careless about Mitchell pitching for the Yanks. His potential is to be a long reliever at best. Mitchell is a guy that in 2 years we will dislike being on the Yanks because Girardi will have a “Sergio Mitre-like” or “Edwar Ramirez-like” crush on him. I just don’t get why everyone alway lumps Mitchell in with Warren and Phelps when those have much more potential than he does and will better pitcher than he every will.

  • statboy yankopherson

    GARCIA CANNOT BE TRADED FOR MONTHS

    • DM

      That’s fine. There’s no need to trade anyone for months — if at all.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      June 15th. Just about the time Pettitte should be ready.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        I should have mentioned that June 15th is the earliest a FA can be traded without his consent.

        He can be traded anytime if he agrees to it.

    • Steve (different one)

      UNLESS HE APPROVES IT. THEN HE CAN.

    • Ted Nelson

      I believe that he can be traded, but has the approve the trade

    • CJ

      Garcia can be traded as fast as he can sign his name. He would to go to a competitive team for sure probably for a rotation spot at this point. Garcia & phelps for Parra or Seth Smith? Lannan for Parra rumors were floating.

    • Waiting for Phelps

      IF HE APPROVES IT, YES HE CAN.

      • Evan3457

        For the English majors: the Main Idea of this sub-thread is “He can be traded before June 15th if he approves the trade.”

  • Chrisis

    I’m calling it, Pettite will be a 60 game winner, thus becoming a first ballot hall of famer.

  • nsalem

    Not surprised Andy came back. Mussina is the only healthy pitcher with over 200 wins to leave the game healthy and after a good season since Al Spaulding did it 120 years ago. Andy was having a career year in 2010 when he was injured. Hughes is always the focus of being the great first half picture in 2010, but I think Pettitte was having even a better year. I think he will do well.

  • Ted Nelson

    As far as the only starting proclamation… In the one possible outcome (of several) where he’s got the health and stuff to pitch, but not the health and/or stamina to start I wonder if he’d go to the pen or hang them back up.

    I think you’re likely right about Pineda/Kuroda… They could have used Pettitte and Kuroda as a bridge to the Bs and other AAA guys, but don’t know if they’d have spen that money. I’m not in the camp with those commenters who feel that the Yankees were determined to move Montero, though, I just think they were willing to of the right price came along… And it did to them

    • Waiting for Phelps

      The starting thing, to me, is out of respect for Andy. He has the itch to come back. He should be able to scratch that itch, if needed, from the bullpen just as well if there’s not a reason to bump one of the five starters.

      Phelps/Mitchell/Warren will have to work harder to impress, but there’s still a rotation spot open for a AAA starter to seize in 2013. Life’s tough when you’re a Yankee prospect. The upside to being one is still great.

  • Hank

    True story: my wife is expecting our first in April and we’ve been debating names. I wanted Andrew, she wanted various others. I was able to use this development as leverage to finally tip the scale.

    (yes I picked the name after my favorite player of all time)

    • moonimus

      Isn’t spelled Andruw though?

    • Peter North

      Nice! Congrats, that’s Andy’s first win of the season right there.

    • yandeez

      Let me guess…ur parents were fans of the Steinbrenner’s son and named you accordingly!!!!hahahaha couldn’t resist

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Congratulations to your family and welcome to the biggest rollercoaster ride/joy of your life.

  • moonimus

    Isn’t it spelled Andruw though?

  • moonimus

    Sorry for the double post. The mobile site always says the comments don’t publish.

  • Ro

    Mike,

    The one thing that keeps being overlooked in the comparisons is that I agree Kuroda would have been the odd man out a few months ago, but let’s all remember that Kuroda himself stated he was only considering playing for the Yankees or Red Sox, at that time. Considering the Red Sox severe pitching issues and their unwillingness to pay up for Oswalt, understandably, I’d say there would have been a greater than 95% chance that Kuroda wound up with the Sox. I see the Yankees situation as best case scenario. Even if Pineda fizzles this year and requires time in the minors, he’s important for 2014 and 2015 when the Yanks have to keep their payroll down for those two years. They got Kuroda and Pettitte for a combined $12.5mm and kept one of them out of Boston.

    A rotation of Lester, Beckett, Kuroda, Buchholz and Bard (maybe) is much more intimidating than Lester, inconsistent Beckett (meaning he’s due for a bad season now), Buchholz (virtually identical stats to Hughes as well as track record and with previous and recent back issues) as your number 3, no #4 and Bard (a reliever who hasn’t pitched more than 70 or so innings and no one can expect him to go more than 145 this season).

    • Ro

      …and I don’t see Freddy being traded at any point. I firmly believe that. I don’t think the return could be nearly as great as the benefit of keeping him on the team for depth out of the pen, spot starter, or whatever. And that’s not for at least 2 months away as we’ll probably not see Pettitte (if even pulls through) until Mid-May. Plus at that point, Garcia will only be owed around $2mm. I don’t see any player being moved in fact. I think Cashman (as well as us fans) are fed-up with the mid season trade demands of most teams. Last year it was Jimenez, the year before Lee and all the others in between that at the time commanded Montero, Banuelos, Betances and why not, throw in Nunez, as the “lowest we’ll go” from other teams. Cashman executed perfectly this off season. Sometimes I’m literally shocked over how ruthlessly efficient he is in comparison to most other GM’s.

      • mike

        I agree – its more likely that Joba has a setback , or Wade is horrible, or Nova/Hughes gets pummeled where the Yanks would overpay for a Garcia-type pitcher at the deadline since they couldnt trust a AAA guy down the stretch

      • Tom

        The other thing to keep in mind with mid-season deals is the extra playoff spot will likely shift the market further… it won’t likely affect he big names being moved who may have 2+ years or 1.5) prior to FA, but I think the ‘rental’ starter market may shift.

        There will be potentially more teams hanging around looking to possibly add a starter, or at the very least not willing to sell someone off if they are near contention. I see bullpen moves and utility players still being readily available, but the starter market midseason will be a lot more competitive and potentially more expensive for the 1/2 season rentals.

        Of course the other variable is the new CBA where a team will no longer get comp picks for people moved mid season (even if they are offered a qualifying offer), so that may offset the market a bit as the value of the comp picks when picking someone up was often factored in.

        • Ro

          Agreed. Two more very accurate points.

  • Ryan

    Now we’ll win the 2009 world series for sure.

  • Chen Meng Wang

    Two things, one on topic, one slightly off but help would be appreciated.

    One, love the signing…it’s cliche but you can never have too much pitching. Remember last year when everybody thought Boston had the best rotation in the AL. Hell even I thought they had a pretty damn good rotation that was at least ML average at it’s number 6&7 pitchers. So as Axisa said, this will probably work itself out in due time. On top of that even though Andy only threw ~120 innings in 2010 he still pitched very well.

    Two, I just got a new job, I’m going to be working nights and there’s no TV or AM radio receiver. What’s a good website to either stream the game(for free) or watch gameday (what’s best between yahoo, mlb.com, epsn.com, ect.) until I can get myself a AM radio in here.

    • Jesse

      Not allowed to share websites that show free games. But I do prefer the mlb.com Gameday over the other gameday sites, though.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    What would it take to land either Mike Stanton from Miami or Justin Upton of the D-Backs to man RF over the next decade?

    Im thinking maybe Hughes, Nunez & a prospect?

    • JAG

      Good luck with that. Either one is a face-of-the-franchise level talent, and both would require large trade hauls at this point, almost certainly more than the Yankees are willing to pay. We’d be saying goodbye to Banuelos and another AAA starter for sure, and more above that as well.

      Hughes has very little value now, and Nunez, while in demand, isn’t someone the Marlins would even care about with Hanley and Reyes on the team.

  • Another Bronx Dynasty

    Maybe Romaine?