After about three months of negotiations, Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees have finally reached an agreement that will bring Andy back to the “Beautiful Bronx” for at least the 2009 season.
Pettitte has stated all along that he wanted to pitch for the Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium, and as is the case most of the time in these days of baseball, “money” was the stumbling block in regards to Andy making a decision earlier in this whole process.
Yes, we all had to “follow the money” during the Yankees and Andy Pettitte discussions.
Pettitte made $16 Million last year, and was offered a one-year, $10 Million deal to pitch for the Bronx Bombers in 2009. Andy and his agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, felt this offer by the Yankees was too big of a cut from the amount of money Andy made last year. More than anything else, Andy’s pride was hurt, as he didn’t feel the Yankees Organization was taking into consideration his past success in pinstripes, as a major part of the starting pitching rotation on “four” World Championship teams with the Yanks.
So, Andy Pettitte said “no” to the $10 Million offer, and the Yankees response was to take the offer off the table, creating a “stalemate”, or, “check” situation, depending on your point of view.
I always believed, from the beginning of these negotiations, that the Yankees really do need Pettitte in their rotation this upcoming season, because both Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain, who are slated as two of the Yankees five starters, are returning his season from injuries in 2008.
Also, the Yankees two other top young starting pitchers, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, proved they are not ready for “prime time”, by recording “zero” wins between them in their brief time on the mound in 2008. And, both pitchers were injured a good part of last season, which limited their innings pitched, that will result in their innings being limited once again in 2009.
In my view, I still think Hughes has a future with the Yankees; but, would be very surprised if Kennedy ever pitches again for the Yankees on the Major League level. In Kennedy’s case, it goes beyond pitching. It has more to do with some statements he made after a losing performance in which he said, “he wasn’t disappointed by the loss”, and took a very causal attitude in his interview after the game, that didn’t sit very well with the Yankee players, manager, coaching staff, Yankees front office, and, most importantly, the fans.
Kennedy was sent down to the minors after that poor pitching effort and even poorer response to his loss. He didn’t pitch for the Yanks the rest of 2008, not even being called up at the end of the season. I can see Ian Kennedy being traded or released if he doesn’t get off to a solid start in 2009, most likely pitching for the Yankees AAA minor league team in Scranton-Wilkes/Barre.
As you can see, the Yankees bringing back Andy Pettitte, and Andy wanting to return, is a very wise move by both parties that will provide much value to the Yankees starting rotation in 2009.
In a conference call with the media on the day of his signing, Pettitte expressed much happiness regarding his decision to return to the Bronx.
Andy Pettite said, “… when you put all that aside [pride], I wanted to play for the New York Yankees, and, you know, that was the bottom line. I know I could have made a lot more money [somewhere else] than what I signed for. But, if you want to play for one team you’re going to have to make sacrifices. If it means me taking a pay cut, then it means me taking a pay cut.”
Well, in the end, Andy Pettitte did take a pay cut, and agreed to a one-year deal with the Yankees for a guaranteed $5.5 Million, with incentives based on innings pitched, that would add $4.5 Million to the deal, and, number of days on the active roster, that would add another $2 Million to Andy’s contract, in which, if Pettitte stays healthy throughout the season, would earn him a total of $12 Million.
Andy Pettitte’s extra special bonus would be his 5th World Series ring, if all the expectations from our winter signings of: Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett improve the team enough to lead the Yankees to their 27th World Championship in 2009.
The New York Yankees 2009 “Starting Pitching Rotation” has just added more class with the re-signing of Andy Pettitte.
CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, and Andy Pettitte, looks like a winning starting rotation to me, and I’m sure most, if not all, Yankee fans agree.
Andy, you made the right decison to return. Yankee fans enthusiastically welcome you home.
To view Andy Pettitte’s career stats, click on …
— Jimmy Curran, “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life”