Andy Pettitte will not be ready by Opening Day, but will he be ready by mid-season?
Months of rest, vacation, and time seem to not be enough for Andy Pettitte. He continues to leave fans and the Yankees anticipating his decision to return for the 2011 season.
After Brian Cashman told reporters that Pettitte is “choosing at this stage to not start 2011,” Pettitte’s decision seems to be made up. But why hasn’t he announced his retirement yet?
Or at least stated to his team and fans his decision?
His uncertainty is something the Yankees and fans can be optimistic of. Although there has been no talk about Andy Pettitte starting mid-season, this is something that can benefit both the Yankees and Pettitte.
The door is open for a mid-season comeback, and if awaiting a final decision by Pettitte means he needs more time to decide whether he will return mid-season, then I am prepared to wait. His Clemens-like comeback is a decision that will be beneficial to everyone.
Here are 10 ways Andy Pettitte and the Yankees are better off if he decides to sign mid-season.
Although the Yankees do not have a problem when it comes to selling tickets, Pettitte's return can leave fans fighting over seats.
There is no doubt about it, returning mid-season will bring in a larger fan base. This return is most definitely his last. With a limited amount of games left before the ace hangs up his uniform, this will cause a greater demand on ticket sales.
As a dedicated Yankee and Pettitte fan, I can assure you that if Pettitte decides to return to the mound, I will be attending games to get my last dose of the pitcher that has brought my team to five World Series wins.
This is the way many fans are thinking and if ticket sales increase, food sales increase, merchandise increase, and so on.
His return is helpful to everyone. He will receive a supportive fan base and the club will gain more of their favorite thing, money.
The fans have proved how supportive they are of Pettitte over the years. With one more season, Pettitte can see how far his fans are willing to go to support and thank him for all he has done for the Yankees.
If Pettitte decides to continue his journey with the Yankees and start mid-season, his reputation as a pitcher will be boosted.
Right now, Pettitte is taking his sweet time trying to decide his future in baseball. As these months have felt like years, he is starting to lose the respect of his fans, being compared by many to Brett Favre. Starting mid-season will not only restore his reputation with the fans, but as a prestigious pitcher, as well.
At the end of the 2010 season, Pettitte proved that he is immune to injuries that plagued him throughout the season and at his veteran age.
Going 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA last season, Pettitte pitched better last season than his prior four. Imagine the outcome if Pettitte receives more time to rest and train?
The bottom line is Andy Pettitte has produced great things throughout his career. He continues to come back strong, and if Pettitte chooses to pitch mid-season, he can leave on an even better note than if he were to retire now.
If leaving baseball with an outstanding record and World Series win is not leaving on a good note, then what is?
The ball is in his hands and only he can decide which pitch to throw.
It is rumored that if Andy Pettitte returns to the Yankees he will receive close to $13 million dollars, a raise from the $11.75 million he received last season. If the deal remains the same for a mid-season return, then $13 million for half a season sounds like a good deal. If all goes well this deal will benefit both sides, but will Pettitte agree to it?
After all the money the Yankees were willing to give away to attain Cliff Lee and the $4.7 million per month Clemens received from the Yankees in his mid-season return, it is understandable for Pettitte to want a little extra cash in his pocket. After all, he is a main factor in securing a playoff position and a possible World Series win.
Everyone knows it.
So, if Pettitte decides to stick with the $13 million then he is getting a raise while saving the Yankees millions. If he decides to take advantage of the Yankees desperation and receive a Clemens-like salary, then he will most likely receive as much as he wants.
My bet in this bittersweet deal is the second option.
What better way to end off a momentous career than to follow in the footsteps of his mentor and highly regarded friend, Roger Clemens.
(Disregarding Clemens’s trial drama and accusation that the two, “were never as close as they were made out to be.” Although that statement is most likely false.)
The two have shared a bond over the years. Leaving for Houston together and returning to New York one after the other. It only makes sense for Pettitte to start mid-season, just as Clemens did.
But how is a Clemens-like start beneficial to the Yankees and to Pettitte? Well just look at how the rocket rescued the Yankees.
With a struggling starting rotation for the Yankees (another similarity) Clemens returned and posted a 4.18 ERA going 6-6. Although Clemens’s performance was not his best, his contributions helped the Yankees reach the playoffs.
Clemens received his 350Th win and was one out of two pitchers, Spahn and Maddux, to do so.
Andy Pettitte holds the record for series clinching wins and is a candidate for the Hall of Fame. Going forth with a mid-season start can strengthen his record and contribute to his chances of entering the Hall of Fame.
Andy Pettitte has been plagued with his share of injuries over the years. Starting mid-season can decrease his chances of an injury that can keep him out of the line-up for weeks, months, or even for most of the season.
Throughout the years, Pettitte has been struggling with elbow and groin injuries, which have kept the starter on the disabled list for weeks.
In 2001, Pettitte missed 15 days due to a groin strain and his problem returned, causing him to miss about a month in the 2010 season. Aside from this problem, his elbow has caused ailments for Pettitte in 2002.
Bad judgement and pressure to return to his team; unfortunately, led Pettitte to use HGH in an attempt to heal faster.
In 2004, he was forced to undergo elbow surgery.
These injuries, along with others, prove how easy it is for a pitcher, especially a veteran pitcher, to become disabled. Pettitte has had injuries that have haunted him throughout his career and a return of them after pitching an entire season is not out of the question.
The more time off and rest Pettitte receives during the pre-season, the better.
Andy Pettitte is 38 years old and he is not getting any younger.
The more time off Pettitte receives before he is obligated to pitch, the more time he has to rest and slowly train. The months Pettitte will receive off can only benefit him by pitching an outstanding season or should I say half a season. This will only increase the Yankees chances of securing a spot in the playoffs and a hopeful World Series championship.
Andy Pettitte's stats have decreased in recent years.
Despite injuries that might have affected his performance, he went from a 2.39 ERA in 2005 to a 4.20 in 2006, 4.05 in 2007, 4.54 in 2008, and a 4.16 in 2009. By coming back last season with a 3.28 ERA, Pettitte has proved that he still has it in him to pitch and deliver.
Whether age is a factor for Pettitte or not, he is lucky to be pitching this well at 38. The time given to train and rest is hurting nobody but his opponents.
When Cashman told reporters, “You can’t compel someone to do something their heart is not in. It’s got to be something that comes from within. To me, he is not in play”, he was right.
What is the point of hounding and bothering Pettitte to come back in the beginning of the 2011 season, if his heart simply is not in it?
If Andy Pettitte were to pitch in the beginning of the 2011 season, how much of a success would he be if he were constantly thinking about being at home with his family? Andy has gone down this road on deciding to return or to retire before, but it has never taken this long. Sure, if Andy were to start he would think about his team and fans as well, but who is to say what the outcome of his pitching would be?
At the looks of things, it seems Pettitte does not want to be there like he used to be. Half a season off where he can spend time with his family seems like his and the Yankees best bet.
There is no question about it. If Pettitte returns mid-season, he will come back fresh. He will be fresh athletically, mentally, and emotionally.
Having their dependable pitcher come back fresh will ensure the Yankees with season and post-season success.
Shifting gears for a moment, lets discuss what the Yankees starting rotation is going to look like for the upcoming season.
CC Sabathia: There is no issue with Sabathia. His performance throughout his career and especially on the Yankees, has been nothing but noteworthy. If there is anyone who can bring the Yankees to a win it is CC. His contributions to the team brought them to their 2009 World Series title and he has continued to help the Yankees excel as a team. With a 3.18 ERA for the 2010 season, Sabathia proves to be a prominent starting pitcher. When the ball is in his hands, there is no need to worry.
Phil Hughes: Coming off of a 4.19 ERA for the 2010 season and a 11.42 ERA in the 2010 postseason, his reliability can come into question at times. Although he did not perform well in the postseason, (along with many of his teammates) he did come off the regular season strong. I have faith that Hughes will deliver and be there for the Yankees in their time of need like he has in the past.
A.J Burnett: Unfortunately, Burnett did not help the Yankees much in the 2010 season, as all had hoped. With a 5.26 ERA during the regular season and a 7.50 postseason ERA, the worst ERA in his career, Burnett would not be the best go to guy. Yes, he struggled mightily last season and there is definitely room for improvement. With Pettitte most likely gone, there is no time for Burnett to perform like he is.
So here is the Yankees' starting rotation with two empty spots. It has been rumored that Joba Chamberlain or Sergio Mitre can be added to the rotation. Two pitchers many are not thrilled about.
Whoever is chosen to fill the spots, CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes are two pitchers that are dependable and who can pitch the Yankees to victory.
The Yankees have a great team. As long as A-Rod continues to hit home runs and Swisher continues to make outstanding outfield plays, the Yankees should be in good shape until Pettitte arrives to help them out. His addition to the team will ensure a playoff spot, if not guarantee one. He will help them win their 28th World Series title.
Lets just hope Burnett and whoever is chosen for the starting rotation can perform well and contribute to their team.
If there is anything I have learned about Andy Pettitte over the years it is how dedicated he is to his family, both of them.
For four years now, after every end to the season, Andy Pettitte has struggled with the decision to either return full time to his family or to his teammates.
Many people are looking down on Pettitte because of how long he is taking to decide. However, his awaited decision can show how he is someone who cares for both the Yankees and his family so much that a decision like this is impossible to make.
If he chooses to return to the Yankees he will be spending less time with his family. If he chooses to retire, he will let his fans down and will put the Yankees in an awful position. This would be hard on anyone.
If Pettitte decides to start mid-season, he is doing what is best for everyone. He gets to spend more time with his wife and children, while at the same time, being there for his fans and teammates.
Starting mid-season is a win-win situation for everyone. It is truly off better this way and hopefully he realizes that.
Andy Pettitte has proved throughout his career that he is reliable, caring, and that he still has fight left in him.
With months off to rest, to train, and to spend time with his family, Andy Pettitte will return to the Yankees leaving his fans and team confident that they can reach and win the World Series.
Imagine the emotional lift New York would have if Andy Pettitte returned better than ever and helped the Yankees win?
It would be a great moment in baseball history. If Andy Pettitte chooses to return mid-season, this can happen.
He will be able to spend time with both families, restore and enhance his reputation, and leave everyone feeling even prouder to be not only New Yorkers, but to be Yankee fans.
No one knows what Pettitte is thinking, but I hope he does not let his team and fans down.
Andy Pettitte is and always will be one of the New York Yankees best pitchers. If he decides to return to his second home, the Yankees, and the fans will together welcome him back with open arms.
His return truly can cause an emotional lift among New Yorkers.