Andy Pettitte Close To Returning to the New York Yankees

Nate DeleonCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2009

Free agent left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte is close to returning to the New York Yankees after turning down a reported one-year, $10 million dollar deal earlier in the offseason.

The deal is reportedly worth $6 million, with incentives that can push the deal up to $12 million.

Negotiations between the two sides moved forward during the weekend. Pettitte, who started his career with the Yankees in 1996, made $16 million last season.

Pettitte spent the first nine years of his career with the Yankees, helping them reach the World Series six times and winning four titles.

He left the Yankees after the 2003 season to pitch for the Houston Astros for the next three seasons. Pettitte helped the Astros reach the World Series in 2005.

If the deal is completed, the new-look Yankees rotation will feature Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang, and Joba Chamberlain.

On paper, the rotation has the potential to be one of the best in baseball. It is just a matter of staying healthy and meeting expectations, especially for Sabathia and Burnett, two of the Yankees' expensive free agent acquisitions (along with first baseman Mark Teixeira).

Bringing back Pettitte was important for the Yankees to provide a veteran left-handed presence in the rotation. It also allows youngsters such as Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy more time to develop in the minors or, possibly, pitch out of the bullpen.

Hopefully, this deal is completed soon. A deep pitching staff is necessary to complete a 162-game season.