Today, the Yankees and Andy Pettitte agreed to a one year/$5.5 million dollar conntract that is riddled with incentives should Pettitte perform well this season.
Even though I thought the Yankees should have moved on from Pettitte, I like this move for both the Yankees and Pettitte because of the money. Andy Pettitte at only $5.5 mil guaranteed is a whole lot easier to swallow than Andy Pettitte at $10+ mil guaranteed. Pettitte should be a dynamite fifth starter for the Yankees, who now have one of the deepest starting rotations in baseball.
Even though Pettitte had a down year in 2008, he can still perform well if counted on to be only a fifth starter.
The deal confirms what most of us already know: the 2009 Yankees are absolutely loaded. Just look at this rotation:
1. CC Sabathia
2. AJ Burnett
3. Chien Ming Wang
4. Joba Chamberlain
5. Andy Pettitte
Should this rotation stay healthy, they have the potential to flourish. There is no weakness in this rotation. The Yankees don't just have starters who can win, but they have starters who have the stuff to dominate hitters. That has to be a scary thought for the AL East, especially the Rays and Red Sox. Health will obviously be a focal point for the Yankees, but they now have quality depth (Aceves, Kennedy, Hughes) to survive potential injuries.
I am disappointed that Phil Hughes will not get his opportunity off the bat to show the Yankees what he can do. I really believe that this guy has the stuff to be a front of the rotation starter and that 2009 was going to be his coming out party. Guess not. Instead, he will have to wait in the wings for one of the Yankees dynamic five starting pitchers to suffer an injury.
So what can we expect from Pettitte? I think he'll have a better season in 2009, but expecting anything more than 30 starts, 15 wins with a 4.00 ERA is expecting a bit much at this point. Needless to say, the Yankees would still be able to get by if Pettitte performed at his 2008 level. Even with a 4.54 ERA, Pettitte, should still be able to win at least 12-15 games because the Yankee offense will be so good...especially with Mark Teixeira now on board.
This team could be scary good. On paper, they should be the team to beat. I'm not sure how many more wins Pettitte will bring to the Yankees, but Yankee fans should feel some level of comfort knowing that their beloved Pettitte will be around in 2009 to pitch in the new Yankee Stadium.