Why Keeping Andy Pettitte Was the Right Move for the Yankees

Erik DianaCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2009

Well, the rigmarole is finally over. The Yankees today locked up Andy Pettitte. This was a necessary move for the Yankees to bolster their rotation and protect their young pitchers. This move was for Phil Hughes as much as it was for Andy Pettitte.

Let me first say that I really have no sentimental feelings about this move. I really don't care about Andy Pettitte the way I did at this time in 2007. Andy Pettitte definitely has taken more than a few blows to his image since he's returned. And he almost managed to ruin a lot of the goodwill his comeback started.

It was Andy Pettitte that exercised his option a day before the Mitchell Report was released. It was Andy Pettitte that didn't handle the stress well and was way behind because his mind was elsewhere after the Mitchell Report surfaced.

This move is mutualistic at best. Pettitte gets to cash in on another contract and gets to try to reach incentives that make him richer. He also gets to make more money than he would have with this contract than he did with the Yankees' preliminary offer.

If Brian Cashman were going to try and be thrifty with the rotation after signing CC (not C.C) Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira it would have been a terrible move. It would be like trying to save gas money on a Ferrari. It's not practical. Cashman and Joe Girardi need Pettitte just as much as he needs them.

The Yankees get to protect the youngsters in Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, and Joba Chamberlain. If Pettitte pitches his usual 200 innings and gets around 13-15 wins, the Yankees really should prosper from the move as Pettitte will prosper.

A rotation of Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, Chamberlain, and Pettitte should be pretty solid. Also, what makes this move even shrewder is the fact that Burnett may not stay healthy as his history indicates. If Pettitte is your No. 4 pitcher your rotation is stacked. He was the No. 2 starter in 2007.

Another thing that makes this move even more palatable for the Yankees is that they are betting on Andy Pettitte being fully functional at the start of Spring Training this go around. If that happens and he returns to 2007 form the Yankees are going to take off. Remember, Pettitte should have won 18 games in '07.

Who knows what was going on in Pettitte's psyche after his press conference where he came clean about steroid use. He was physically behind and mentally lagging at the start of the year last year. You could just see that he wasn't the same.

Unless he has to testify against Roger Clemens, he should be in a great state of mind for the whole year. He won't have any unnecessary press coverage hounding him because of a poor choice he made years ago.

And if Pettitte doesn't have a relapse of that "cranky shoulder" he dealt with at the end of last year, he should be able to reach all of his incentives. Remember, Pettitte is a great second-half pitcher and he has a great history with this organization. 

Hopefully this deal works out for both sides. The Yankees need it to work out for both sides. Even with Pettitte at his best they may not be able to beat out Tampa Bay and Boston.