Archive for Andy Pettitte

I think most of us have assumed that the 2013 season would be Andy Pettitte‘s last as a player, but apparently that may not be the case. Pettitte told Dan Barbarisi and Jack Curry that he will make a decision about his pitching future next winter, though he made sure to mention that he wants to finish his career strong. We sat through a few weeks of “will he or won’t he pitch?” this past offseason and it looks like we might be in store for some more in a few months. I love Andy, but I hate that part about him.

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Via Ken Rosenthal: Andy Pettitte will not pitch for former manager Joe Torre and Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He had until February 20th to make his final decision.

As I’ve said before, I’m glad Pettitte will remain with the Yankees in Spring Training even though it would have been neat to see him pitch in the WBC. Rosenthal says there’s a chance Justin Verlander will join the squad — Kris Medlen recently withdrew from the event as well — which would be a pretty huge for Team USA. Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Frankie Cervelli as the only Yankees who will participate in the tournament.

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Team USA announced its official roster for the World Baseball Classic earlier today (seen here), with Mark Teixeira being the only Yankee to make the squad. Andy Pettitte was reportedly going to participate in the event, but he is not on the final roster. Bob Klapisch explains that Pettitte’s exclusion may have to do with the insurance (or lack thereof) on his contract. Not gonna lie, I’m happy Andy will be the Yankees and not Team USA during Spring Training.

The remaining WBC rosters will be announced later this afternoon. Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) and Frankie Cervelli (Italy) will participate in the tournament, and that’s expected to be it as far as 40-man roster players go.

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Via Jon Heyman: Andy Pettitte will be part of the Team USA pitching staff during the World Baseball Classic in March. He’ll be joined by R.A. Dickey and Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation.

I’m surprised the Yankees gave Pettitte the okay to participate in the tournament, but I suppose they have more than enough trust in him to do what’s necessary to prepare for the season. Then again, I don’t even know if they had to consent. Andy probably wanted to pitch for Team USA in what figures to be his final season. It’ll be fun to see him pitching in the WBC, but I will be a bit nervous until he makes it through the thing in one piece.

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Yankees re-sign Andy Pettitte

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(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

The comeback went well this season but a fluke leg injury cut it short, so Andy Pettitte has decided to return for another year. The two sides finished up contract talks and have agreed to a new one-year deal worth $12M plus another $2.5M in award-based bonuses according to Buster Olney, Ken Davidoff, and Mark Feinsand. Because the Yankees have been keep tabs on the veteran left-hander’s health this offseason, the process was expedited and the deal is already official.

Pettitte, 40, pitched to a 2.87 ERA (3.48 FIP) in 12 starts and 75.1 innings in his return from retirement this year. He also posted excellent strikeout (8.24 K/9 and 22.8 K%), walk (2.51 BB/9 and 6.9 BB%), and ground ball (56.3%) rates. A hard-hit ground ball fractured his left ankle in late-June and cause him to miss almost three full months, though Pettitte did return in time to make three regular season tune-up starts and two postseason starts.

With Hiroki Kuroda (one-year, $15M) and now Pettitte both re-signed, the Yankees can move forward with their offseason plan knowing the rotation is well set. CC Sabathia will round out the top three while Phil Hughes backs them up as the four, then David Phelps and Ivan Nova figure to compete for the fifth starter’s spot in Spring Training. The Yankees are optimistic about re-signing Mariano Rivera this week as well, and once that’s completed they’ll know exactly how much money they have to address the right field, catcher, DH, and bench holes heading into the Winter Meetings next week.

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7:36pm: Pettitte has informed the team that he intends to pitch next season, reports Bryan Hoch. The two sides hope to have a deal done within 48 hours.

8:45am: According to Buster Olney, Andy Pettitte is close to formally announcing his return in 2013. He says the two sides are close to a new contract, which Joel Sherman says will be worth $10-11M. No surprise there.

Pettitte, 40, has reportedly started his offseason workout routine to test his body in advance of a decision. That was an indication a) his family gave him to thumbs up to return in 2013, and b) he actually wanted to play again. I don’t think he would have started his routine if his heart wasn’t into it. Nothing is final yet, but it appear to be only a matter of time before Pettitte is officially back in pinstripes.

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What Went Right: Andy Pettitte

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I can’t believe I’m actually writing a season review post for Andy Pettitte. The 40-year-old left-hander was retired a little more than ten months ago, having thrown what we thought was his final big league pitch in Game Three of the 2010 ALCS against the Rangers. He spent all of last season at home and showed up to camp as a guest instructor this year, which is pretty routine for notable former players. Little did we know what was going on behind the scenes.

While in Spring Training as an instructor, Pettitte threw a bullpen session for Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the whole nine. The two sides actually discussed a substantial contract ($10-12M range) during the offseason, but Andy told the team to proceed without him because he wasn’t sure he wanted to make a comeback. That money went to Hiroki Kuroda, then in camp Andy again broached the subject of coming back to pitch. On March 16th, halfway through the Grapefruit League schedule, he signed a one-year minor league contract worth $2.5M.

Pettitte was obviously behind the rest of the pitching staff, so his comeback attempt started in the minor leagues. He made one appearance at the end of Spring Training then progressively climbed the minor league ladder. First came three innings with High-A Tampa, then four innings with High-A Tampa, then five innings with Double-A Trenton, then another five innings with Triple-A Scranton. He was ready to go by early-May and the Yankees needed him — Michael Pineda just had shoulder surgery, Phil Hughes had a dreadful April, and Freddy Garcia was so bad that David Phelps took his spot in the rotation.

Andy’s first start back came at home against the Mariners on May 13th. He allowed two two-run homers in 6.1 innings in the loss, but he looked like the Andy Pettitte of old. He was cutting his fastball, sweeping his slider, and inducing double plays at just the right time. Five days later he struck out nine Cincinnati Reds in eight shutout innings, officially putting an exclamation point on his comeback attempt. Through the end of June, his first nine starts back, Pettitte pitched to a 3.22 ERA (3.37 FIP) in 58.2 innings with ungodly peripherals: 9.05 K/9 (25.2 K%), 2.30 BB/9 (6.4 BB%), and 58.3% grounders. He wasn’t just a solid veteran starter, he was pitching like an ace.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The comeback came to screeching halt in the fifth inning of a start against the Indians on June 27th, when a Casey Kotchman hard-hit ground ball clanked off Pettitte’s left ankle. He went after the ball but crumbled to the ground, then was lifted one pitch later. Andy talked the training staff into leaving him in the game after some warm-up tosses, but it was obvious something was wrong. The diagnosis came down after the game: Pettitte had fractured his left ankle and would be out six weeks.

Those six weeks became seven weeks when Andy pushed his rehab a little too hard and suffered a setback, so he didn’t return to the team until mid-September. He did all of his prep work in simulated games — no minor league rehab games at all — and returned to the rotation against the Blue Jays on September 19th. Limited to 75 pitches, Pettitte threw five scoreless innings and followed up with six scoreless innings on 88 pitches against the Twins five days later. Rain threw a wrench in the late-September plan, limiting Andy three starts instead of four. The Yankees lost both of Pettitte’s playoff starts but they weren’t hit fault — he allowed five total runs in 13.2 innings.

Andy’s comeback featured a 2.87 ERA (3.48 FIP) in 75.1 innings across a dozen starts, plus some of the best peripherals of his career: 8.24 K/9 (22.8 K%), 2.51 BB/9 (6.9 BB%), and 56.3% grounders. There was legitimate concern about how the year-long layoff would impact Pettitte, but I joked that maybe it did his body good and gave him ample time to rest and heal up. That’s exactly what appeared to happen, funny enough. Pettitte looked as good as ever when he was on the mound, though the ankle injury obviously took a little blush off the rose. Either way, the Yankees came into the season expecting to get literally nothing out of Andy, but he made a successful comeback and became a valuable and important member of the rotation.

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Via Mark Feinsand: Andy Pettitte has started his usual offseason workout routine to “see how his body will react” before making a final decision about next season. Over the weekend we heard the veteran left-hander could have a decision by the end of the week.

Feinsand’s report seems like an indication that a) Pettitte’s family has already given him the okay to pitch next year, and b) Pettitte wants to come back. Now it’s just a matter of finding out if he’s physically up to it. Andy is a big part of the Yankees’ offseason one way or the other, so the sooner he makes his decision the better. Working out a contract doesn’t figure to be much of a problem, it’s Pettitte figuring out if he wants to come back.

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Waiting on Andy, waiting on Mo

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(Al Bello/Getty)

For the second straight offseason, the Yankees took care of just one piece of major business by the time late-November rolled around. Last winter it was signing CC Sabathia to a new contract extension before he exercised his opt-out clause, and this year it was re-signing Hiroki Kuroda before some other club lured him away. Unlike last offseason, however, we have a pretty good idea of what the Yankees will do next.

At some point soon, possibly before the end of this week, Andy Pettitte will let the team know if he plans to pitch next season. If he decides to return for another year as many expect, the two sides figure to hammer out a contract relatively quickly. Mariano Rivera has already let the club know he will return next season, and they’ve reportedly been talking about a contract for a few weeks now. For both guys it’s not so much if they’ll work out a new deal, but when.

Late last week Andrew Marchand wrote Brian Cashman is employing a “methodical, punch-list approach to the offseason. He would like to go in order in making his decisions, but will react if circumstances dictate.” Items one through three on that punch list appear to be bringing Kuroda, Pettitte, and Rivera back for another year, and Marchand speculates that finding a starting catcher will be next. That makes sense given both the importance of the position and the dearth of quality backstops. Right field, the bench, the bullpen, and miscellaneous minor league depth pieces also figure to be on the agenda.

Moreso than Rivera, Pettitte is dictating New York’s offseason pace. If he decides to return, they know the rotation is set with the three veterans up top, Phil Hughes as the four, and either Ivan Nova or David Phelps as the five. If he decides to retire again, the Yankees will have to search the free agent market for not only a legitimate AL East-caliber pitcher, but also a pitcher willing to sign a one-year contract given the 2014 payroll plan. That’s much easier said than done since there are medical red flags associated with pretty much any pitcher open to a one-year deal, including guys like Dan Haren (back), Shaun Marcum (elbow), and Brandon McCarthy (head, shoulder).

Cashman tends to preach (and practice) patience, but that might not be possible this winter. Buster Olney recently explained how this offseason is essentially playing out backwards — asking prices have clubs seeking out bargains early while the top guys figure to sign late. The one-year contracts given out to Bartolo Colon and Scott Baker are the types of deals we usually see happen in January and February, not November. Maybe that approach will allow the Yankees to grab a premium free agent on a short-term contract later in the offseason — how great would Josh Hamilton look on a one-year pact worth $25-30M? — or maybe it leaves them scrambling for solutions because all the reasonably-price players already have new homes.

The Yankees have been connected to all sorts of players who fill their roster holes these last few weeks, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll move on any of them until Rivera and (potentially) Pettitte are signed for next season. The Winter Meetings start one week from today and that’s when the hot stove really takes off around the league, so hopefully the club gets things sorted out with their two long-time pitchers before heading to Nashville in a few days.

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Via Jon Heyman: Andy Pettitte is expected to decide whether he’ll return to pitch next season by the end of next week. He cites a “friend” of Pettitte, so take the report with a big grain of salt. Less than a week ago a “friend” indicated that Hiroki Kuroda preferred to pitch in Southern California, and we know how that turned out.

Earlier this week we heard that the 40-year-old Pettitte could give the team a “timetable” soon, and I suppose this qualifies. Most expect Andy to return next year after a big chunk of his 2012 comeback was wiped out by a fluke leg injury, but that’s not a guarantee. The Yankees would have to give the veteran left-hander a hefty raise over the $2.5M he earned this year, but I don’t think that’ll be much of an issue since it figures to be a one-year contract that would not impact the 2014 payroll plan.

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