• Pettitte Still Unsure When He Will Reach A Decision

    Posted by on January 7th, 2011 · Comments (29)

    Brian Costello cornered Andy Pettitte, on his front porch, in pajama pants. Here’s the story -

    Tanned and rested, Andy Pettitte stood on his front porch last night and answered the question on every Yankees fan’s mind: Do you know if you’re going to pitch this year?

    “I don’t,” Pettitte told The Post fresh off his two-week vacation in Hawaii. “I’m just chilling out, hanging. I’m relaxing. If I had something, y’all would know. If I knew exactly what I was doing, y’all would know.”

    The 38-year-old pitcher said he is unsure when he will reach a decision. The veteran left-hander is the biggest story in the New York baseball world, but the always-humble Pettitte does not see it that way. He has maintained a low profile this winter, and was annoyed when a reporter showed up on his doorstep.

    “I don’t want to be a story,” he said. “I really don’t want [the Yankees] to worry about me. I just want them to go, just go on.”

    Pettitte told Yankees general manager Brian Cashman as much last month when he called him before the Winter Meetings to let him know that the Yankees should go about their business as if he won’t be part of the 2011 team.

    With spring training a little more than five weeks away, that leaves the Yankees with a rotation of CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and some question marks.

    Pettitte looked to be in good shape, though he laughed when told he looked ready to pitch.

    “I haven’t done much,” he said. “That’s for sure. I was over in Hawaii, so I’m tan. My daughter keeps telling me I’m getting more gray hairs every day, so I don’t know about that.”

    Pettitte would not say if he is currently leaning toward retirement, but that has been the feeling around the Yankees most of the winter.

    Pettitte chalked it up to things getting blown out of proportion in New York, a reason he is reluctant to discuss his decision with any depth.

    “Everybody’s so emotional up there,” he said. “I feel like if you say anything, everyone reacts. I know that’s what you’re trying to do, but it’s just like you see where I’m at down here.”

    With that, he pointed to his casual attire of black and white, checkered pajama pants and a long-sleeve, black T-shirt.

    After talking for five minutes on his front porch, Pettitte started to head inside. As he got to his front door, I said, “See you in a few weeks in Tampa?”

    “I don’t know about that,” Pettitte said with a big smile.

    I’m starting to think the Yankees have a better chance at getting Mike Mussina to pitch for them this season than they do getting Pettitte to come back for one more year…

    But, then again, Brian Cashman should have seen this coming, and a plan to address it, outside of throwing gobs of money at Cliff Lee…and then having to go with Sergio Mitre when that failed.

    Comments on Pettitte Still Unsure When He Will Reach A Decision

    1. ken
      January 7th, 2011 | 1:21 pm

      My predictions:
      1- Pettitte retires.
      2- Yanks pitching staff exceeds expectations. (That is, AJ gets over his head issues and Nova progresses. I’m down on Hughes as a top of rotation guy on a top level team but he adequately rounds out the staff.)

    2. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 1:30 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Brian Cashman should have seen this coming, and a plan to address it, outside of throwing gobs of money at Cliff Lee…and then having to go with Sergio Mitre when that failed.

      Which free agent starting pitcher should Brian Cashman have signed this offseason? Here’s the link (below) to all the free agents that were available this offseason.

      http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2001/05/potential-free-agents-for-2011.html

      If you’re going to take this line of argumentation, at least back up your point with some thoughts on where Cashman could’ve done better. Personally, in perusing this list, I don’t see anyone besides Cliff Lee that the Yankees would’ve realistically pursued as a hedge against Lee’s signing elsewhere.

      -Carl Pavano is the second-best free agent starter on this list. He’s obviously not coming back here;
      -Ted Lilly signed a 3Y/$33M deal to stay with the Dodgers on October 19th, while the Yankees were still in the playoffs so he clearly valued LA over the free agency experience;
      -Hiroki Kuroda signed a 1Y/$12M deal to stay with the Dodgers on November 15th. At his age — and in the middle of the Cliff Lee courtship — I’m not sure the Yankees were ever in play or particularly interested;
      -Jake Westbrook signed a 2Y/$16.5M deal to stay in St. Louis on November 16th. Again, a player that chose to stay with his incumbent team instead of explore free agency.

      I’m not seeing what starting pitchers were available via free agency that the Yankees could’ve signed. Now, if you want to talk trade, I’m all ears. Which pitchers should they have traded for? Greinke? You went on record saying he was a headcase unfit for New York. King Felix? Josh Johnson? Unavailable.

      We can say that the Yankees have a deficit in the quality starting pitching department heading into 2011. But we can’t just say that the deficit was caused by poor planning on Cashman’s part. It’s not as simple as that.

    3. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 1:50 pm

      That you don’t agree with a “plan” does not necessarily mean one wasn’t in place.

    4. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:01 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      I couldn’t have said it better MJ!

      And given Lee’s reasons for returning to Philadelphia, I can’t help but wonder if he would have “tried” New York with an opt-out clause like offered to Sabathia (maybe only one year.)

    5. ken
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:11 pm

      In all the talk about Lee, I heard one media person mention that his son is treated for cancer and the Lee family liked the care at the Childrens Hosp of Phila. If so, then no one else really had a chance. I also don’t think that we will hear too much about this matter. Even in this media age, such matters are best kept private.

    6. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:25 pm

      ken wrote:

      I heard one media person mention that his son is treated for cancer and the Lee family liked the care at the Childrens Hosp of Phila.

      I hadn’t heard that. If true, it’s both sad that his son is so sick and totally logical that he’d pick a city where he is familiar with (and trusts) the care being given to his son.

    7. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:29 pm

      Raf wrote:

      That you don’t agree with a “plan” does not necessarily mean one wasn’t in place.

      Bingo.

      @ RobertGKramer@AOL.Com:
      Thanks Robert. I’m glad we can agree on something!

    8. January 7th, 2011 | 2:35 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      .Which free agent starting pitcher should Brian Cashman have signed this offseason?

      None. Why does it have to be a FA, always, to solve the problems created by Cashman’s lack of foresight? Why not have a pitcher, in the system, ready to step in for the time that Pettitte was ready to retire? Or, why not trade for a pitcher – assuming you had the chips that someone wanted and can afford to give up? But, then again, that requires foresight.

    9. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:35 pm

      ken wrote:

      In all the talk about Lee, I heard one media person mention that his son is treated for cancer and the Lee family liked the care at the Childrens Hosp of Phila. If so, then no one else really had a chance.

      Maybe, maybe not. I would think that if that were the case, then the process wouldn’t have been as drawn out as it was.

    10. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:37 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      None. Why does it have to be a FA, always, to solve the problems created by Cashman’s lack of foresight? Why not have a pitcher, in the system, ready to step in for the time that Pettitte was ready to retire? Or, why not trade for a pitcher – assuming you had the chips that someone wanted and can afford to give up? But, then again, that requires foresight.

      Are you implying that there is no one on the farm to step in? Or that trade possibilities haven’t been researched?

    11. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:40 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Brian Costello cornered Andy Pettitte, on his front porch, in pajama pants.

      That’s a funny mental image :D

      Also, it probably doesn’t bode well that Costello was able to “corner” Pettitte if he is planning on hiding in Texas to avoid the Clemens trial fallout.

    12. January 7th, 2011 | 2:54 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Are you implying that there is no one on the farm to step in? Or that trade possibilities haven’t been researched?

      Since the answer at this moment is to replace Pettitte with Sergio Mitre, yes, the answer is no.

    13. jrk
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:54 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Also, it probably doesn’t bode well that Costello was able to “corner” Pettitte if he is planning on hiding in Texas to avoid the Clemens trial fallout.

      LOL.

    14. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:56 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      None. Why does it have to be a FA, always, to solve the problems created by Cashman’s lack of foresight? Why not have a pitcher, in the system, ready to step in for the time that Pettitte was ready to retire? Or, why not trade for a pitcher – assuming you had the chips that someone wanted and can afford to give up? But, then again, that requires foresight.

      As Raf said, you’re making a flawed assumption that the Yankees don’t have anyone on the farm ready to step in. Now, you may not like or trust any of the Yankees internal options (Hector Noesi, Andrew Brackman, David Phelps) but that doesn’t mean they’re not part of the plan and that certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed.

    15. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 2:59 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Since the answer at this moment is to replace Pettitte with Sergio Mitre, yes, the answer is no.

      If Sergio Mitre opens the season in the rotation but ends up being replaced by a young arm (Noesi/Brackman/Phelps) or someone acquired via trade, then what’s your point?

      This all goes back to the ridiculousness of worrying about the 2011 playoff roster in January. There are two months of spring training to get through and then four months of the season until the trade deadline to get through. If this is the rotation on September 1st, be worried. Until then you’re just being unreasonably negative.

    16. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:00 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Also, it probably doesn’t bode well that Costello was able to “corner” Pettitte if he is planning on hiding in Texas to avoid the Clemens trial fallout.

      Yep.

    17. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:02 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Since the answer at this moment is to replace Pettitte with Sergio Mitre, yes, the answer is no.

      Raf wrote:

      That you don’t agree with a “plan” does not necessarily mean one wasn’t in place.

    18. G.I. Joey
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:04 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      ken wrote:I heard one media person mention that his son is treated for cancer and the Lee family liked the care at the Childrens Hosp of Phila. I hadn’t heard that. If true, it’s both sad that his son is so sick and totally logical that he’d pick a city where he is familiar with (and trusts) the care being given to his son.

      I heard the exact same thing and, if it’s indeed true, I’m glad he did what was best for his son.

    19. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:09 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      If this is the rotation on September 1st, be worried.

      I dunno, if this is the same rotation on Sept 1st, I would think that it would mean that they exceeded expectations.

    20. January 7th, 2011 | 3:14 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      This all goes back to the ridiculousness of worrying about the 2011 playoff roster in January. There are two months of spring training to get through and then four months of the season until the trade deadline to get through. If this is the rotation on September 1st, be worried. Until then you’re just being unreasonably negative.

      Dude. With Nova and Mitre in the rotation for the first four months of the season, there won’t be any playoffs to worry about in 2011.

    21. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:17 pm

      Raf wrote:

      I dunno, if this is the same rotation on Sept 1st, I would think that it would mean that they exceeded expectations.

      You can look at it two ways, I suppose. Either the rotation is doing well enough to have lasted in tact on 9/1/11 without a need to replace Mitre or other parts of the rotation have faltered which is why he’s still getting starts.

      My point was simply that there’s no chance Mitre is still in the rotation on 9/1/11, let alone on 7/1/11. Mitre is a place-holder.

    22. Evan3457
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:23 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Dude. With Nova and Mitre in the rotation for the first four months of the season, there won’t be any playoffs to worry about in 2011.

      It ain’t necessarily so.

      If CC, Hughes and AJ pitch well, you usually need only 3 good starters to contend for the playoffs.

    23. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:26 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      With Nova and Mitre in the rotation for the first four months of the season, there won’t be any playoffs to worry about in 2011.

      You’re taking my words too literally. My point is simply that who starts in the #4 spot of the rotation is irrelevant on April 4th or whatever.

    24. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 3:32 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Dude. With Nova and Mitre in the rotation for the first four months of the season, there won’t be any playoffs to worry about in 2011.

      In all the years of watching baseball, I’m sure you’ve seen playoff teams with worse rotations. And even that doesn’t mean anything as a team can have a rotation on paper in January blow up on them during the season. I don’t think Cardinals fans expected Jeff Weaver to be on a world championship team. Not many people remember that Wally Whitehurst started a couple of games for the 1996 Yankees.

      The 2004 Yankees won 101 games despite throwing Contreras, Halsey, Loaiza, Sturtze and others out there for more than a handful of starts.

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      My point was simply that there’s no chance Mitre is still in the rotation on 9/1/11, let alone on 7/1/11. Mitre is a place-holder.

      I understood your point, I’m just saying it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Mitre pulls a career year out of his ass. I’m not expecting it, but stranger things have happened.

    25. MJ Recanati
      January 7th, 2011 | 4:08 pm

      Raf wrote:

      I’m just saying it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Mitre pulls a career year out of his ass. I’m not expecting it, but stranger things have happened.

      Sure, I guess.

    26. LMJ229
      January 7th, 2011 | 5:37 pm

      As far as Cashman’s plan goes, Cashman surely had this plan going into the Yankees off-season (listed in chronological order, not necessarily priority order):
      1) re-sign Girardi
      2) re-sign Jeter and Mariano
      3) go HARD after Cliff Lee
      4) sign a lefty specialist for the pen
      5) sign a fourth outfielder/bench player with power but better defensive skills than Marcus Thames
      6) do not compromise the farm system

      I don’t think any of us would have disagreed with his off-season plan at the end of October. Assuming he accomplishes the last item, he would have accomplished all but one of his off-season goals. Unfortunately, that one goal is the biggest one.

      So, the real question is, as Steve has asked, what was his plan if he failed at his biggest, most glaring goal? Well I think that Cashman has actually told us all what his plan is: PATIENCE. So, what exactly does that mean?

      I would guess that it means that he will either: a) give some of the “young guns” a shot, or b) trade some of his prospects for a more established major league pitcher, should one become available. Obviously, both options require patience.

      The problem is that most fans (myself included) don’t have the patience and get a little panicked going into the season with so many question marks in the rotation and age creeping up at some of our most vital positions.

      The thing that most frustrated me was that Cashman put all of his eggs in the Cliff Lee basket. There were a few players available that he could have signed to hedge his bet. I would have signed Jon Garland. He signed with the Dodgers at the end of November while the Yanks were consumed with the Cliff Lee negotiations. The Dodgers signed him for 1 year at $3M guarenteed with another $5M in incentives. And they got an option for 2012 at $8M. The Yanks could easily afford that and he would have come in handy in the event that Petitte decides to retire.

    27. RobertGKramer@AOL.Com
      January 7th, 2011 | 6:59 pm

      Those unspent golden eggs means we can take on any contract come July. If we’re still within sight of the division lead. Having survived the CBS years I have plenty of patience and to me Garland could only do well in the NL West!

    28. Raf
      January 7th, 2011 | 8:00 pm

      LMJ229 wrote:

      The problem is that most fans (myself included) don’t have the patience and get a little panicked going into the season with so many question marks in the rotation and age creeping up at some of our most vital positions.

      And this is the reason we as fans don’t run baseball teams. The people in charge have access to far more information than we ever will, so I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt regarding certain matters.

      The thing that most frustrated me was that Cashman put all of his eggs in the Cliff Lee basket. There were a few players available that he could have signed to hedge his bet.

      Signing a player, courting a player really doesn’t take all that much to do. I find it hard to believe that Cashman had 100% of his focus on signing Lee, spending 8,9,10 hours a day trying to figure out how to get Lee in pinstripes. It doesn’t work that way, it can’t work that way.

    29. Evan3457
      January 7th, 2011 | 11:50 pm

      Garland’s a nice #4 starter who looks better in the pitcher’s parks of the NL West than he really is. He’s a low K/high GB pitcher who’s very dependent on his defensive support; not the best idea with Jeter and A-Rod (diminishing range) on the left side.

      ERA+ the last 3 years: 109, 104, 106
      FIP the last 3 years: 4.76, 4.48, 4.41
      WAR the last 3 years: 1.0, 1.6, 1.8

      (By way of comparison, Phil Hughes was 2.7 WAR last year. Heck, even Ivan Nova was 0.6 WAR in his roughly 1/4 of a season.)

      It’s not that I think Garland’s bad, or that he couldn’t help the Yanks at this moment. It’s that I think he’s not really a suitable replacement for Lee, and it’s dubious that they could’ve lured him to NY for anything less than a ridiculous price for his current level, considering how quickly he signed with the Dodgers.

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