Not really, Pettitte is still a free agent, still looking for employment from a team that desires his services. And since the Yankees don’t want to offer more than $10 million for Pettitte, then they may not ink a deal with what is a more than an adequate “5th” starter. It isn’t as though I am against the Yankees holding their own in this situation, and not wanting to up the millions. But having a starter on a one year deal, is a very low risk proposition. With his age, a one year deal’s upside is even more pronounced, more recognized. So if Pettitte does not feel that the Yankees feel he is worth what HE thinks he is worth, then there seems to be a very compelling option just around the bend. Compelling to me anyway.
Andy Pettitte probably wants to retire a Yankee, understandable from afar. Pettitte has spent his most memorable seasons in the Bronx, having been a part of four World Series championships, and one other World Series in which the Yankees lost. Fortunately for Pettitte, he actually appeared in another World Series with the Astros as well, but was on the wrong side again that time. But six trips to the Series, five with the Yankees, and four with plus-results leads me to believe that he is by far a Yankee at heart. 178 of Pettitte’s 215 victories have been with the Yanks…
…And if Pettitte and Cashman cannot compromise on the pitchers value, Pettitte could stay in New York, however, he would be wearing a different uniform. I know Yankee fans, especially the ones that despise the Mets, do not want to see the borderline Hall of Famer–ultimately falling short barring an unlikely resurgence at the end of his career–in a Mets uniform. I understand that, just like I understand Pettitte being hard-headed about his worth. But the Mets just make sense, a lot of sense.
Since the Yankees did not offer arbitration to Andy, the Mets would not have to surrender a draft pick for his services. That is one small plus to trying to sign Pettitte. The Mets also need a starting pitcher, an even bigger “plus.” With Derek Lowe signing in Atlanta, there aren’t too many more pitchers available, and few that could even be counted on giving a team decent production, along with enough innings to warrant mediocrity. Chase Utley is hurt, and will be a for a while. A few months without Utley, and maybe a little while longer as he finds his stroke upon return, may not seem like much. But the Mets and Phillies are very close in talent, and something so miniscule could actually make the difference in a competitive division. These two teams were separated by a total of merely four games atop the NL East the past two seasons (1 game in 07,’ 3 games in 08′). Small things will probably be the difference in who wins in 2009, too.
Andy Pettitte is 36 years old, and will be turning 37 during the 2009 season. The AL East is the most difficult division in baseball, and the AL in general is supposedly the more talented and stronger league. Pettitte would be switching to a league where he should find a little more success. And since he has already crushed the pressures of New York multiple times, then he would not have to overcome that, or prove that he could do it. Pettitte was roughly league average last year, ERA+ 98. Stuggled mightily during the second half of the year, but was above average during much of the first half. And as we know, the Yankees defense was at the bottom of the league last year. That should improve a little this year, but it won’t be as good as the Mets defense. Which means? Pettitte should have fewer balls fall in, which will result in fewer earned runs. Balls to the left side should be scooped up by Reyes and Wright, both above average defenders. And anything hit into the middle of the outfield will be tracked down by Carlos Beltran.
The “perception” of Andy Pettitte should be better after the year if he maintains his health. Then maybe someone will offer him a two year deal, or a very generous one year deal again, worst case scenario. What I mean by “perception,” is that his ERA may be better with the quality defense backing him up, while he may not actually have been any better a pitcher in comparison to his 2008 campaign. Someone may be duped into giving him multiple years, where as they might not have wanted to pre-2009. If Andy Pettitte truly does want to pitch three more seasons, this may be the best way to get there. Playing in the National League, most importantly, might let him maximize what he has left in the tank.
Another thing about the Yankees situation is that they have a very talented young pitcher who may have nowhere to go but up. If Phillip Hughes tears up the minors, assuming that he begins there, then the Yankees might feel pressured to promote him. Because Phil Hughes has upside that Pettitte, at this point in his career, just doesn’t have. To maximize production out of the rotation, the Yankees might want to promote Hughes, which may force Pettitte out if he is showing any signs of fatigue, or just struggling in general. The Mets don’t have enough talent in the rotation to force Pettitte out unless he is truly miserable. So Pettitte may feel more comfortable simply ‘pitching,” then having to pitch well enough to keep his job.
And just one more reason why Andy Pettitte may enjoy the other franchise in New York…They give him a chance to win. The Yankees do too. But it isn’t as though Pettitte would be moving to Washington and pitching for a losing team, a seemingly lost organization. The Mets may have collapsed the last few seasons, but they have still had success, they still win games. Realistically, the Mets with Andy could probably win somewhere between 88-93 games. The bullpen is there. Purposeful Digression: Speaking of the bullpen, that could increase Pettitte’s win total too, which could again help lead to more money in 2010 (if any GM’s still rely on wins that is). But if nothing else, Pettitte could leave the game at ease, knowing that JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez await. And that isn’t a shot at the Yankees pen, just pointing out the improvements that the Mets bullpen has experienced.
So if I am the Mets, and I have to pay Pettitte, say, $12 million in 2010. So what? I would take my chances, based on the fact that the Mets have a win now mentality, evident by the trade for Santana. And a low risk contract with Pettitte would increase the chance that they actually, you know, win enough games this time around. Pettitte in the pitchers park that is known as Citi Field, just sounds inviting…
Five strikeouts and one pickoff in the first two innings, against the only team that may be be experiencing more turmoil via the media than the Yankees. I am not sure how well Pettitte will pitch this season, as I was a little skeptical going into the year (not that he would be bad, but that he might be less than what he has been). But right now he is dominating in a game that was built around Johan pitching in the Bronx. He IS a gamer.
Note: In 2005, a run scored 86% of the time, when there were runners at second and third with nobody out. The play at the plate was very close, but with no one out, Damon should not have been sent. Because to me it isn’t really whether he is safe or out, in a situation like this, it is how close the play is at the plate.
Edit: I spelled “Pettitte” wrong.