What they’re saying about Andy’s return


  • HBT #2 (Calcaterra):

But will that erase all of the good stuff he’s done? Will that make his amazing body of work go away? Will it keep Pettitte from sitting in a rocking chair one day and thinking about how great a pitcher he was? Of course not. His legacy is already solidified, no matter what he does in 2012. Indeed, it can only really be enhanced if he does something amazing, because most people’s memories are pretty good at pushing out the negativity as the years go on.

“”I don’t think I’m going to fail,” Pettitte said, “but I’m not scared to come back.”Cashman’s Yankees have little to lose here, not with a no-frills, no-incentives contract that could yield them a reliable Game 3 starter in the division series. The pitcher is the vulnerable party in this deal, the one with some exposure.”

  • ESPN #2 (Sweetspot):

“So we can assume Pettitte should be capable of posting an ERA around 4.00. This would likely be a minor upgrade over the team’s current fifth starter, Hughes or Garcia. For all the hype around Hughes, he’s had one good season in the rotation and it wasn’t that dominant, with a 4.19 ERA in 2010. And even in that it was only two good months (April and May). His ERA over the final four months that year was 4.89. Certainly, Pineda could also be sent down to the minors if he continues to throw 90-92 mph instead of the 95-98 he fired with the Mariners a season ago.”

  • ESPN #3 (Marchand):

“Well, the Yankees already have six starters for five spots. If there are no injuries, it seems like there is a good chance Michael Pineda could be in the minors getting stretched out. The same could be the case for Phil Hughes and even Ivan Nova.”

  • ESPN #4 (Stats & Info):

“Pettitte had one of his finest seasons in pinstripes in 2010, posting a 3.28 ERA with a career-best 11-3 record over 21 starts. He held lefties to a .482 OPS, the second-best rate among major-league starters that season (min. 100 batters faced).

His off-speed pitches were key to his success in 2010. Opponents hit just .235 in at bats ending on off-speed pitches and missed on 32 percent of their swings, well above the league average rate of 29 percent.”

  • ESPN #5/BTF (Szymborksi):

“I asked the ZiPS projection system (which contains data of pitchers who have missed time throughout history) to project Pettitte for 2012 and it puts him at 8-7, 4.45, with an ERA+ of 98 and 1.5 wins above replacement in 125 1/3 innings. That wouldn’t get Pettitte to the All-Star Game, but it’s a solid, league-average performance. A 4.45 ERA is better than the 4.85 and 4.84 ERAs projected for Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes respectively. At $2.5 million, it’s also a better value than anybody else available in the free-agent market at this point — Roy Oswalt would be better, but several times more expensive, and I doubt either the Yankees or Javier Vazquez would want to see whether the third time was the charm.”

“And in reality, average is probably all the Yankees need to get from Pettitte. An average Pettitte would allow the Yankees to push Phil Hughes to the bullpen (where he has excelled, albeit in a small sample) and Freddy Garcia (already dealing with a hand injury) to a long relief role. The depth in the rotation would be fantastic and should protect against all but the most dire injury situations. Most importantly, Pettitte would make five probable above-average starters when grouped with CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova.”

“In an appearance on YES, Brian Cashman said the team offered Pettitte a substantial contract back in December, around $10-12MM. He decided to work out on his own to see how he felt before accepting, but basically told the team to plan on now having him. Following the Pineda and Kuroda moves, Cashman told Pettitte to stop working out because they didn’t have room for him. Andy kept going and here we are.”

“This obviously isn’t about the money, though, because Pettitte was used to making eight-figure salaries and certainly could have made one had he pitched last year. Cashman conceded that a healthy Pettitte is worth much more than $2.5 million.”

[Editor’s note: I couldn’t resist that quote. Sue me.]

“In late February, Pettitte joined the Yankees in spring training as a guest instructor. He met with Cashman at the end of his brief stint and said again that he wanted to return. He had shut it down for only seven to 10 days. He was throwing again and felt great. Could they work something out?

Cashman wasn’t sure — he had no payroll flexibility, no opening in his rotation. Yankees ownership, in fact, had vetoed a potential deal with free agent Mike Gonzalez, a left-handed reliever, around that time. But for Pettitte, a member of five World Series champions with the Yankees, they were willing to make an exception. And talks resumed.”

“Is he going to be a starter or just pick people off?” [Bobby] Valentine said, referring to Pettitte’s tricky pickoff move. “I don’t think he’s coming back to where he was, call it a hunch. But he’s a good pitcher. Always respected Andy. Always thought he was a borderline Hall of Famer. Add someone like that to your staff, you’re doing good.”

“I think I told you all that, when people asked me if I would ever come back, I said I’d probably be too embarrassed to come back because I’m retired,” Pettitte said. “That’s really where I’ve been over the last three or four days, I am embarrassed I’m coming back. But then I’m like, what can I do? Things have changed. I sure don’t want to look back 10 years from now and say man, I wish I would have done that.”

  • TYA (Schultz):

“At this point, Phil Hughes would be the most likely person to get replaced, which would throw a huge wrench into the plan to gauge his value as a starter this season. Replacing Hughes with Pettitte would likely eliminate the possibility of Hughes being a long-term rotation option for the Yankees, and cheap starters like Phil could be valuable if the Yankees are serious about the austerity budget. Nova could also wind up being replaced if Hughes starts off strong and Nova struggles out of the gate.” 


The deal creates a quandary — one that the Yankees are happy to have. C. C. Sabathia and Kuroda are fixed at the top of the rotation. The other three slots were to go to whoever emerges from Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. But now, instead of one odd man out, there will probably be two.

I worry about things I can control,” Hughes said. “What’s going to happen is going to happen. You could tell when he was here that he wanted to come back. It is what it is.”

Other teammates expressed more enthusiasm, with Pettitte saying outfielder Nick Swisher called “screaming” to him on the phone.”

  • BBD (Abbruzze):

“The second scenario actually seems the most likely. Garcia would probably be the most likely to get traded. They might consider dealing Nova or Hughes if they could get somebody who is good enough to replace Nick Swisher in right field for next season. That is unlikely. It is much more likely that teams would be interested in Garcia although the Yankees probably wouldn’t get much in return other than salary relief to offset the signing of Pettitte (Garcia makes $4 million). In this scenario the Yankees would have the option of sending whomever to the bullpen permanently or as the long-man ready to make spot starts.”

“Last we saw him in 2010, the lefty was limited to 129 innings due to a groin strain but was still highly effective when on the bump. He struck out seven hitters per nine, walked 2.9 and boasted a 46% ground ball rate, good for a 132 ERA+ that trailed only C.C. Sabathia among Yankees starters.

The key for Pettitte was the cutter. That darting low-80s offering, thrown about one-fifth of the time, limited hitters to a .132 average, a .187 on-base percentage and a .271 slugging percentage. By contrast, batters hit .263/.322/.410 overall against cutters in 2010.”

Kudos to NoMaas for yet another wonderful picture.

If I missed any great analyses, please drop a link in the comments and I will get it up here asap.

About @Jason_IIATMS

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6 thoughts on “What they’re saying about Andy’s return

  1. Gotta love the signing. Seeing my favorite pitcher back in pinstripes is a dream come true, and I cannot wait to see his first start in ST. Any clue on a timeline?


    Other teammates expressed more enthusiasm, with Pettitte saying outfielder Nick Swisher called “screaming” to him on the phone.”

    One of the many reasons I love Swish.

  2. Pettitte wanted to take last year off because of the whole clemens thing….

    if ur good at reading between the lines… it was pretty obvious

    happy to have him back

  3. Hes going to take some time to get back into starting pitching shape, so most likely Pettitte will be the one in the minors to start the season unless the Yankees trade one of their starters. Pettitte also has experience pitching out of the bullpen so he could also be a big help there as well.