Friends & Enemies: Andy Pettitte Splits

Generic Andy Photo. My last generic Andy photo ever? Sob. (AP Photo/Andy King)

Your critical analysis will have to wait another few hours, because I am personally still in mourning over Andy Pettitte. Yes, I know he’s not dead, but the man has been pitching since I was seven years old. When I was eight, he was the best pitcher in baseball, period. This was confirmed by something better than a statistic: my grandma told me so. Anyway, it’s kind of a stupid emotional thing for me. Instead, I thought I’d focus on the batters who are glad to see Andy go and some who would have liked him to stick around instead. It’s hard to say why hitters do well against specific pitchers. If you can hit one soft-tossing lefty, why not all the other ones in the league? Oh well. Baseball, being hard to predict, I guess.

Sad to See Him Go

Manny Ramirez

There’s no two ways about it: Manny had Andy’s number. Those years in Boston gave him lots of plate appearances to do as much damage as he possibly could, too. In 104 PAs, Manny hit .391/.452/.652, with an OPS of 1.104. He leads all hitters in damage against Andy Pettitte in three categories: hits (36), doubles (9) and RBIs (23), while striking out only eight times. He follows only Carlos Peña in home runs (5, to Peña’s 6), and only Frank Thomas in walks (10 to Thomas’ 11). He was intentionally walked twice. With his declining power, he needs a little more Andy Pettitte in his life. But if we have to suffer without him, so do you, Manny.

AP Photo/Ted Warren

Magglio Ordoñez

Despite a smaller sample size attributed to his AL Central habitat plus injuries, Ordoñez did fine for himself against our crafty lefty. In 42 plate appearances, he whipped up an impressive 1.050 SLG complete with two homers, six RBIs, and a triple. His best year against Pettitte was 2000, in which he tacked up a double, a triple, and two walks (one intentional).

Carlos Peña

It always surprises me when I hear people who bat .196 sign for $10M. Perhaps the Cubs are signing him specifically for interleague? Peña tops the Pettitte home run list with six, as well as holding the record for highest SLG (an impressive .875) and fourth in OPS (1.301). On top of this, man is tied with three others for the triples-against-Pettitte champion crown with two. In 2007, Peña went 4-for-8 with two home runs, which probably explains the 2.100 OPS. Don’t you just love the absurd numbers a tiny sample size can create?

The San Francisco Giants

Congratulations Giants, you are the only major league team that Pettitte has never beaten. In three games, Pettitte gave up a grand total of 11 ER and had a WHIP of 1.582, going 0-3. Most of his bad Giants numbers stem from one particularly nasty start during his Astros tenure, in which he pitched a little over five innings and gave up six runs and eleven hits.

On the other hand…

Happy to See Him Go

Alex Gonzalez

In 62 appearances, Gonzalez only managed a downright pathetic OPS of .404. This might have something to do with the fact he struck out fifteen times (24%) and hit into four double plays. He did manage a home run and four RBIs, but generally, going 8-for-58 is not advised if you’re actually trying to win anything. If you’re trying to make Andy Pettitte look good, of course, then these numbers’ll do rather well. Not sure if this was Gonzales’ intention, though.

Darin Erstad

.184/.184/.204 with a .388 OPS, combined 16 strikeouts and no walks in 49 appearances. Ow.

The Baltimore Orioles

"So what if he beat me in one stupid game?" (AP Photo/Erik Lesser)

Admittedly, the Orioles have been making everyone look good for the past ten years except themselves, so it’s not that much of a surprise that Andy is 27-6 against them for his career. He’s maintained a career 3.52 ERA against them and racked up nearly 150 strikeouts in about 250 innings, good for a 5 k/9 and a 1.64 K/BB. Not spectacular, but it did well for him, for sure. That’s our Andy.

John Smoltz

We will not have to listen to another postseason of Smoltz biting the inside of his mouth as he talks about Pettitte’s playoff prowess. You’d think the guy took a hard playoff loss to Andy at some point in his career. Jeez.

Yankees bringing Eric Chavez to camp

Via Sweeny Murti, the Yankees are bringing infielder Eric Chavez to camp as a non-roster invitee. If it makes you feel better, just call it a minor league contract, same difference. In case you missed it, they added Ronnie Belliard on a similar deal earlier tonight.

Chavez, of course, hasn’t been healthy in years, battling back, elbow, neck, and shoulder injuries. He was awesome back in the day, with double-digit UZR‘s at third and wOBA’s in the .380’s, but that was a long time ago. He’s a lefty bat and it’s a zero risk move, why the hell not. Hannah wrote more about him just last weekend.

Fun fact: Chavez has the fourth highest WAR (35.8) of any player never to appear in an All-Star Game.

Open Thread: Jon Lieber

(AP Photo/Ed Betz)

Given the current state of the Yankees rotation, I guess it’s only fitting that today is the eight year anniversary of the John Lieber signing, a move similar to the recent scrap heap signings of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. Just a season removed from 21 wins and a 4.23 FIP with the Cubs, Lieber was in the process of rehabbing from Tommy John surgery when the Yankees inked him to a two-year contract knowing he’d miss the entire 2003 season. He was worth the wait though, because Lieber provided 176.2 quality innings in 2004, pitching to a 3.71 FIP with just 16 unintentional walks (0.82 uIBB/9). He also gave the team some strong starts in the postseason before signing a big fat deal with the Phillies and eventually hurting his arm again. Every once in a while one of these reclamation guys will work out, hopefully one of them does in 2011.

Here’s tonight’s open thread. The Devils, Knicks, and Nets are all in action, but you should go out, it is Friday night.

Yankees sign Ronnie Belliard to minor league deal

Via Enrique Rojas, the Yankees have signed infielder Enrique Rojas Ronnie Belliard to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. He’ll earn $825,000 if he makes the team.

Mini-Manny suited up for the Dodgers last year, posting a .276 wOBA in 185 plate appearances. He’s a season removed from a .339 wOBA and two seasons removed from a .369 wOBA, so he can hit a little. He spent plenty of time at first, second, and third over the last few years with basically average UZR scores (±1), so he provides a little bit of versatility as well. Hey, minor league contract? Zero complaints here. Let Eduamiro Penunez earn its job.

Ex-Gov. Paterson forks over $62K World Series fine

So much for putting up a fight. After vowing to challenge the charge that he owed $62,125 in fines due to an ethics violating stemming from 2009 World Series tickets, former New York Gov. David Paterson has paid the fine, the Daily News reported today. Paterson, who could still face a criminal investigation for perjury, violated ethics regs by accepting five free tickets to Game 1 of the 2009 World Series, and the fine is the largest ever levied by New York’s Public Integrity Commission. “This closes the case,” Walter Ayres, the commission’s spokesperson, said. “We imposed a penalty, he paid it. There is nothing else to say.”

Yankees discussing left-handed starters, mostly mediocre ones

Via Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees have “kicked around” the idea of pursuing a left-handed starter in the wake of Andy Pettitte‘s retirement. On the supposed list of targets: Scott Kazmir, Joe Saunders, Wake LeBlanc, Clayton Richard, and Gio Gonzalez. My quick analysis is no, no, no, okay, and meh. Joe already looked at Kazmir, but a few of the other guys will be covered over the weekend.

You know who’s a half-decent left-handed starter? Jeff Francis. Too bad he signed with the Royals for half of what the Yankees are playing Pedro Feliciano in 2011. In fairness, Francis did say he chose Kansas City because of the opportunity they provide, but the back of New York’s rotation isn’t exactly tough to crack these days.

Report: Cano hires Scott Boras

Via Enrique Rojas, Robbie Cano has fired agent Bobby Barad and hired Scott Boras. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, he’s not coming up on free agency anytime soon. Cano will make $10M in 2011, then the team holds a $14M club option for 2012 ($2M buyout) and a $15M option for 2013 ($2M buyout). If he continues to play at the level he did last year, those options are no brainers.

Robbie makes three Boras clients on the infield, joining Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Rafael Soriano and Andrew Brackman are also Boras clients, and the team has a great working relationship with the super-agent. It’s hard to blame Cano, I’d hire Boras if I was a player.