"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

That’s Rich


It always cracks me up when I read columns about how buying championships, as the Yankees appear to do doing again this winter, is a losing cause. Sure, it doesn’t always work, we know that (and thank goodness, because it keeps things interesting). But facts are facts: since the start of free agency in 1977, no team has spent more money on players than the Yankees have; no team has won more pennants or more championships. So while no team can ever fool themselves that they can pre-arrange success (as George Steinbrenner was accused of believing in the Eighties), the Yankees aggresiveness in the free agency market hasn’t always back fired either.

Do you think they should bring Pettitte back? The word this past week is that it’s now unlikely that he’ll return. Would you rather go Hughes-Chamberlain or still have a veteran like Pettitte in there?

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1 Evil Empire   ~  Dec 28, 2008 11:10 am

I'd bring back Andy. With him as the #4 or #5 starter you know you're going to get 200+ innings and around a 4 ERA, which is acceptable for a #4 starter and more than acceptable for a #5 starter. He's had a 110 and a 98 ERA+ the last two seasons (and pitched 215 and 204 innings).

Assuming he's the #5 starter, I think he's a lot better than what they've had in the post-dynasty era of 2004-2008 (although some might debate when the dynasty era ended, I think it was 1996-2003 as I measure the beginning and end by world series appearances -- anyone can lose a world series).

And, if someone else gets hurt -- like AJ Burnett or Joba -- it's good to have reliable old Andy in the rotation and you can move a kid in to replace AJ (and if it's playoff time Andy becomes the #3 starter).

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 28, 2008 11:20 am

I'd like to see Andy back in there, as I think Hughes could use a little more time in Triple-A to get back to the dominance he's capable of. Still, I'd also like to see Hughes back up by mid-year or so. Maybe he can take Burnett's spot after A.J. gets hurt.

3 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 11:21 am

I'd have an extra vet in that rotation regardless. A.J. has to prove that last season was neither a fluke nor a career trend of pitching well on the eve of free agency. Phil Hughes has to prove that last year was a fluke and NOT a career trend. In light of all that uncertainty, you should have a vet pitcher who can provide you a solid number of innings and stabilize the middle of the rotation. Andy provided 125 innings and 4.03 ERA in the first half, only a little less than what is expected from Joba and Hughes for a whole season.

Providing that the rest of the rotation gives you at least 175 innings per starter for the season, Andy or similar vet provides you the ability to balance Joba's and Phil's innings and keep them within their projected range without burning them out, and at worst provides insurance against two starter injuries (with Aceves and IPK in the wings either at AAA or long relief). Andy increases the odds that the rotation is stable, as opposed to relying on two young arms coming off injuries and with innings limits.

4 Joel   ~  Dec 28, 2008 11:29 am

The Yanks shoud absolutely bring Pettitte back--and stop trying to save a few bucks in the process.

Pettitte actually had a better WHIP, K/9 and BB/9 in 2008 than 2007. In 33 starts he averaged over 6 IP per start. And, if you factor out one awful 10 ER over 6 IP start against Minnesota, he finished the year with a very respectable 4.23 ERA in the AL East.

After this off-season, it is unseemly for Cashman to start getting religion on saving money by making an example of #46. Just give one of the winningest pitchers in Yankee history a face-saving offer with incentives, etc. and move on.

5 jkay   ~  Dec 28, 2008 11:34 am

I have mixed feeling here.

Negative: The PED use and the money. Take the $10 mil and be happy about it. The organization stood behind him when the PED news came out. Now he is whining over "only" 10 mil. Guess what Andy, you were grossly overpaid last year as the 2nd highest paid pitcher in MLB.

Positive: The Yankees need innings from this slot and Pettitte will provide them.

6 monkeypants   ~  Dec 28, 2008 12:47 pm

Would I *rather* have Pettitte back? Sure, more is better than less. The real question is whether Pettitte is really worth it, and I am not convinced that he is. Plus, the question is not simply Pettitte or Hughes. It's Pettitte or Hughes/Kennedy/Aceves/Giese/late FA signing/Pettitte signed later (if he is still available)/etc. In other words, the Yankees have plenty of options; they can throw any number of pitchers at the wall to see what sticks. Put simply, they do not *need* a 16 million (or 10 million, for that matter) dollar solution for the number five starter.

7 rbj   ~  Dec 28, 2008 1:13 pm

Bring him back. Andy, the team did stick by you, so don't sweat the extra couple of millions. And Cashman, you'll need an extra, dependable starter (think of El Duque in 1998) so don't be so firm on $10 mil.

8 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 28, 2008 2:06 pm

As much as I'd love to have Andy finish his career in pinstripes (and based on his luck in 2008, I wouldn't be surprised to see a throwback year in 2009), I'm actually kinda excited to see Hughes and Kennedy compete with the Mexican Gangster for a spot. I mean, if Aceves wins that competition, I think it would teach the kids all they need to know about learning to be successful MLB pitchers. Then they could go back to AAA with a better idea of what they still need to work on. For Hughes it's his fastball command and for Kennedy it's his composure and mixing pitches.

Signing Andy may make them think more seriously about moving an outfielder given the extra cost of all dollars now spent. And that's not something they should be thinking about given the ages of Damon and Matsui and the uncertainty of CF.

Sorry, Andy, it's been fun. Enjoy the rest of your career with the Rangers.

9 The Hawk   ~  Dec 28, 2008 2:31 pm

I'd like to see him back, but as has been noted, he was overpaid last year. $10 million is nothing to sneeze at, and probably is still too much. He's being way too proud, and just on principle I don't want to see more than that 10 spent. If he wants more years, maybe offer two for 18 or something.

I don't know; usually I don't care about dollars spent by the Yankees too much but after the last few weeks I'd like to see someone get paid a reasonable amount of money for what they offer. There's no reason Pettitte should pay for the sins of Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira but there you have it.

10 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 2:51 pm

[9] Getting paid an inordinate amount of money is not a sin, agreeing to pay it is. If anything, it's the agents who should be taken to task for promising their clients gargantuan deals, demanding insane stipulations and manipulating the system for their own benefit; more than for their clients even, as they make just as much by having a multitude of clients. I agree it can go both ways; if you can count on Aceves based on the small sample size, then it makes sense. But as I suggested some time ago, the Yanks need to get out of the habit of paying older vets big money for what they already did as opposed to paying younger guys for what they anticipate (if Cano bounces back, we might agree that we saved a bundle with his deal).

For all the grief and hostility being hoisted at the Yanks for paying out so much money for three players (plus the two budget eaters they already have), no one has come down nearly as hard on the agents for defying common sense in asking for so much in the first place (or for other teams willing to offer more than the Yanks signed them for.) Boras maybe, but who else has been spanked for asking for the world and the sky while "others suffer"?

11 Rich   ~  Dec 28, 2008 4:26 pm

I don't think the issue is whether or not you want to bring Andy back, it's does Andy want to come back for $10.5 million.

IMO, he has never forgiven the Yankees (read George) for not pursuing him more aggressively when he was a FA in 2003. He conveniently seems to forget that the Yankees drafted him, developed him, surrounded him with enough good players to win four WS, and made him a multi-millionaire. What else can explain his decision to leave the Yankees hanging for so long?

Initially, I thought it was time to move on from Pettitte given the shoulder problem that may have contributed to his second half 5+ ERA. Then I noticed that his FIP was lower in 2008 than it was in 2008 (3.71 v 3.87).

The Yankees, however, can't wait forever. If Andy doesn't make a decision in the next week or two, I wouldn't blame them for pulling the offer and letting Hughees, Kennedy, and Aceves compete for the 5th spot. In some ways, I would prefer that.

12 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 28, 2008 5:48 pm

[11] Actually, the Yankees can wait around because their other options are internal. There really isn't too much decision making required here...either Pettitte accepts the offer, or he doesn't. I hope he does, but the Yankee will be ok (and perhaps better) if he doesn't.

13 Rich   ~  Dec 28, 2008 6:24 pm

[12] Fair point, unless the Yankees come to believe that Andy's silence is a gratuitous diss, and as a result, decide at some point in the not too distant future to move on thereby lowering their payroll, or they choose to pursue someone like Brad Penny instead.

14 Joel   ~  Dec 28, 2008 6:44 pm

The Yanks were reportedly thinking very hard about signing Derek Lowe to a 4-year $65+ million deal. Lowe is a year younger than Pettitte.

Is Derek Lowe really any better than 14-14 with a mid 4 ERA in the AL East? And he's going to get close to the money he wants.

With performace incentives included, 632 year-old Randy Johnson is going to get $12.5 million from the Giants.

Can we get real here?

15 thelarmis   ~  Dec 28, 2008 7:08 pm

shit sox are apparently close to a 1-yr deal for brad penny...

i'd much rather have andy back for a year, maybe even two if we had to, than lowe for four...

16 thelarmis   ~  Dec 28, 2008 7:20 pm

[10] sorry 'bout yer jets, brother man... : ( my best friend from childhood is none too happy right now...

17 joejoejoe   ~  Dec 28, 2008 7:45 pm

Pettitte made more last year than Greg Maddux ever made in his career. I'd love to have him in pinstripes but he's got no leverage to be asking for $16M when the alternative is paying a youngster peanuts. Based on their track records Pettitte is touch more valuable than Tim Wakefield and Wakefield makes $4m per year. The Yanks should offer $9-10M to Pettitte with an infinite series of player options and stop with the drama every year.

18 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:28 pm

[16] (grrr) Well, whatever. Mangini's coaching decisions remind me of a skipping record in a locked deejay booth. We basically got what we deserved. I guess the players don't really want him back either.

19 Mr. Max   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:29 pm

I'd love to see the Yanks get the apparently newly available Jonathan Sanchez for one of the extra OFs plus someone for the Giants to control past 2009. Sanchez would be bought low, too.

20 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:39 pm

Ben Sheets is still out there ...
(just sayin')

Any opinions on how many games Giants will win in '09 now that they have a damn good rotation?

21 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:40 pm

[18] Well, I do feel good for Chad, he got what he deserved, too. And, (heh-heh), Patriyutz are out! >;)

22 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:41 pm

Sayonara, Andy.

Wow, Buster Olney with a SERIOUS hatchet job on Manny Ramirez today...hard to believe the hatred towards this guy in the media. One of the 3 best RH hitters of this era..guess times change and people want their stars to be saints? Lucky Mantle isn't around today, he certainly wouldn't be a "hero" like he was in the 50s...

23 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:48 pm

[20] Dunno, his agent might tell him to just go back to Milwaukee for a year rather than take a lowball from anyone in the east so he can restate his value with a solid, perhaps injury-free year. Then again, the Mets might try to steal back some limelight by signing him for 2-3 years. Anything's possible...

[19] pass...

24 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 28, 2008 8:52 pm


I'm happy for Chad .... with one notable exception he's been a model of class and composure ...

that exception being the press conference a few years ago in which he chided the press and said it was a "privilege" to do their job

25 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:06 pm

[24] There sure are a few that give off an air of privilege in their writing or broadcasting, but that aside note taken. Still, if that's the worst we can say about Chad, I hope he and Ricky Williams go to the AFC finals... then lose, because I'm far from a Dolphins fan >;)

26 thelarmis   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:29 pm

shit sox signed both josh bard and brad penny to 1-yr deals. bard, has a non-guaranteed major league contract for $1.6mil and, as of now, is viewed as a backup backstop. penny, gets a $5mil base w/ $3mil in incentives, if he surpasses 160 innings. masterson, will remain in the 'pen as the setup man for papelbitch.

27 Joel   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:31 pm

[17] Sandy Koufax never made $16 million in his career either. Big deal. A.J. Burnett is getting $16.5 million--for 5 years no less. Derek Lowe will probably get $16 million for four years. How does Pettitte for just one year compare to those guys? I 'd say he's a bargain.

And any of the youngsters we would be paying peanuts have yet to show they can consistently pitch at the ML level let alone stay healthy enough to make 33 starts and throw for for 200+ innings.

28 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:41 pm

[5] HGH is not (NOT) a PED. Aside from this being common knowledge, it was also stated clearly in the Mitchell report itself.

The question is do the Yanks have another $10-12m to spend, and if so, could they get someone more 'productive' then Andy? If they trade Matsui and pay $10m of his salary, what might they get in return?

Ceratinly we don't NEED him, but between injuries and possible kid-flops, it certainly can't hurt. It has become a sad story. Andy is supposed to be a humble guy, but he ain't acting that way. You would think our increased chances of getting a ring would motivate him. He has said he doesn't want to pitch for anyone else. Is his holding (us) up all an ego thing?

29 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:41 pm

[22] Jazz, I see Olney as one of several jockeying for position as Alpha Dog on E@#$ once Berman retires. I try to strain their commentary and hold onto only the facts. One fact: Olney was dead wrong about who was going to end up with Tex in the end, and now he has to pick on someone else to compensate. Well, at least he didn't take as hard a hit as Bill Simmons did, but again, it's jockeying all the same.

30 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:46 pm

[17] Lowe is probably looking at the neighborhood of 3/$39 at best. And looking at other overpriced players is not the way to determine what player X is worth. My guess is if Andy negotiated with Cashman, he would end up with $11-12m.

31 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 28, 2008 9:53 pm

[29] yeah, I think that Olney's blog is usually so good, that's why I was surprised by the attack on Manny like that. I actually LIKE Simmons because of the homerism (and his NBA columns), fan enjoyable read. Generation thing perhaps, but I find people like Rick Reilly to be unreadable...anyways, if Andy is the last piece of the puzzle for this offseason I think we can all live with that. CC & Tex are going to be a lot of fun to watch, and I can see A-Rod going off for 55taters this year..

32 Rich   ~  Dec 28, 2008 10:04 pm

The Sox are going to sign Penny per Ham, so there goes my speculation:


33 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 28, 2008 10:09 pm

[31] I'd be happy with forty taters for A-Rod if he drove in many more runs; a two-run double is better than a solo homer in my eyes (That's for you, Weep!)

34 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 28, 2008 10:11 pm

[32] Keep that rally going! Don't clog the bases! Gritty McMvpBall! I do miss FJM over the morning coffee..

35 Joel   ~  Dec 28, 2008 10:16 pm

[30] What you call "overpriced" is the current market price for major league pitching.

And when did Lowe's price suddenly drop almost $30 million? Oliver Perez is going to get more than 3/39.

36 joejoejoe   ~  Dec 29, 2008 12:48 am

[34] Are you Scott Boras's brother or something? The Yankees are bidding against themselves in an economy in recession. And l cited Greg Maddux as a comparison to Pettitte and not Sandy Koufax because Pettitte and Maddux are, you know, peers. As recently as 2006 Maddux had a better season than Pettitte --- in the same league against the same competition.

37 Ricardo.jp   ~  Dec 29, 2008 2:31 am

How about trading packaging one of the outfielders for SF's Sanchez? There's been some chatter on other boards about this topic.

38 Bum Rush   ~  Dec 29, 2008 7:41 am


Sure, Sanchez might be a nice return for Matsui. But Nady/Swisher would seem to require more than that.

Besides, Sanchez is a project. I can't believe how much the Giants rushed him. After 125 IP in the Sally league (A), they basically allowed him to pitch in the majors. So, in his career, he has 3 IP in A+, 31 IP at AA, and 44 IP at AAA. That's just malpractice, especially for a guy with so much talent. If the Yanks were to get him, I'd seriously hope they'd forget about his age and put him in Trenton for half a year and promote him to Scranton only when he had shown strides in learning how pitch. A full season, or two, in the upper minors could still make him into a legit pitcher rather than a crappy thrower.

39 Joel   ~  Dec 29, 2008 10:09 am

[35] All I'm saying is that the pitchers are going to get (mostly) their money. The Braves were right there with the Yanks on Burnett. The Mets are reportedly in serious discussions with Lowe.

Baseball is making money hand over fist. The money is there.

40 thedmondsjr   ~  Jan 2, 2009 9:37 am

Pavano is the answer or a 5th starter. Andy's old and Hughes is young. Pavano's just right.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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