Since the Yankees were bounced out of the playoffs by the Rangers last season, the question has been "Is Andy Pettitte going to retire?"
The question has bugged all Yankee fans, who just felt he should give it one more go, just one more. Then there were those who said: "He gave it a good run. It's sad to see him go, but every hero has to ride off into the sunset at some point."
That's what Pettitte has been to the Yankee organization since he made his debut in 1995. He's been a hero, a folk legend in the minds of Yankee fans.
What measures Pettitte's legend status is that, when forced to face his past steroid usage, he didn't run like other players. When faced with it, Pettitte stood up and took the consequences for his actions, facing each steroid accusation with nothing more than that Southern class he has and his family. That's what helps him. At a time when Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and others all faced these career marring accusations and ran away to hide from them, he faced them head on.
Now, he still has to face his friend and former teammate, Roger Clemens, in court, and retell his past.
Andy Pettitte has done numerous things for this great Yankee organization. I've watched Yankee baseball since I was born, so it's in my blood. Andy Pettitte is one of the greatest Yankees.
Now it's time to replace him. Close up his chapter, walk him out (best of luck to him in his future endeavors) and say goodbye.
This hole where Andy Pettitte, No. 46, stood has to be filled, but by which players? Here are some in-team and possible trade/free agent options.
Nova is the most likely candidate to take over the fourth spot in the rotation.
At the end of August last year, Nova was called up to replace Javier Vazquez.
He has some signs of promise after last season. He went 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA over the course of the 2010 season.
He seems like the most likely addition to a rotation that will include C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.
He has great control and could exceed expectations in the fourth slot.
Personally, I like Mitre a lot. I think he's a solid fit in the fifth slot for the Yankees or in the bullpen. The guy can pitch.
Unfortunately, over a 162 game season I don't see him being much of an everyday pitcher. He could be real effective at first, but after a month his performance could likely drift off.
Now with Pettitte out of the way, Mitre is the likely candidate to get the fifth slot in the rotation.
Last season he was 0-3 with a 3.33 ERA and recorded his first-ever major league save. In the playoffs, though, in his third game against Texas, he gave up three runs in Game 4.
He should be solid but we'll have to wait and see.
I really hate to say this, but Alex Rodriguez's punching bag, er—excuse me—Bartolo Colon, could be the fifth starter a few months in.
Colon hasn't pitched since 2009 and is trying to make a comeback and join the roster come spring training.
Colon was 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA in 2009 with the Chicago White Sox.
Bartolo makes sense because he use to be a good starter in Anaheim until injuries started. That's enough to derail anyone's career.
He's recovering from elbow surgery. Colon is 37 now, so we'll have to see if he is capable of overcoming his surgery.
Garcia could be a solid starter if he can get back to his old form from when he played with Seattle and Chicago (his first stint with the White Sox).
Garcia is 34 and attempting a minor league comeback. If he can make the roster come the end of spring training, he could be in the running for the fifth slot with Sergio Mitre.
He had three straight seasons that were marred by injuries. Then last season he had a solid bounce back year and is now on board with the New York Yankees.
He was 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA. Let's hope he has a repeat performance if the Bronx Bombers call on Garcia.
I might get a lot for this, but he hasn't retired.
See fellow Yankee fans, Pedro is our son. We should accept him into our family. After all, we are his daddies.
It would be one good family reunion if, mid-way through, Mitre, Colon or Garcia weren't cutting it and we signed Pedro.
He wasn't bad in his last season with Philadelphia. He pitched in nine games, went 5-1 and posted a 3.63 ERA in 2009.
That's better then most of the Yankee pitchers last season.
Hey, our bullpen can support him if he collapses late in the game. It's only become better this offseason.
The Phillies might end up unloading someone, and why not to the Yankees.
Yeah, they probably won't listen but, hey, we can try.
Blanton is a perfect fifth-slot starter for the Yankees. He was 9-6 last season and posted a 4.82 ERA. He can come in and be the mop-up guy who, come playoff time, will be used just in the bullpen if we need to.
Blanton hasn't been horrible for the Phillies and their massive pitching rotation could get smaller. They could add a couple of prospects if need be too.
The Yankees would need to be fast to nab Jeremy Bonderman.
Reports yesterday say Bonderman is close to a deal with the Cleveland Indians. If the Yankees can swoop in and nab Bonderman, he would be the answer in the rotation, at least temporarily.
He wouldn't fit in horribly with the Yankees and he could rebound from a horrible 2010 campaign. His 2010 season saw his ERA bloat to 5.53 and go 8-10 with the Tigers.
Cashman needs to hurry, though, to sign him, because he won't be around too much longer.
Come the trade deadline, Buehrle could be a name that pops up. The White Sox could listen to offers for Buehrle because he hits free agency after the 2011 season.
In Buehrle's last season, he went 13-13 with a 4.28 ERA and he could become available to the Yankees for the right price.
Whether it be next season or middle of this year, Buehrle could be the the Yankees' best hope.
It would be great to have a caliber player like Buehrle who is 31. He can go numerous innings and take the wear and tear off the bullpen.
Chris Carpenter, a former Cy Young award winner, would be another great addition to the Yankees arsenal.
It seems he could finally be back to his old form after the 2010 season in which he pitched great. He finished the season 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA.
He could become a great addition to the middle of the rotation and help bump Nova back to the fifth slot.
Carpenter, like Pujols, becomes a free agent after this season.
What happens with Pujols could affect what happens with the former Cy Young award winner. If the Cardinals overspend on Pujols, they could just see what happens with Jaime Garcia, a young pitcher in their rotation.
They could build off of Garcia and, come the deadline, ship Carpenter to New York.
The Cardinals could re-sign both, but if they do listen to offers, it would cost New York a pretty penny to get him.
Rodriguez is 32 and becomes a free agent after the 2011 season.
The Astros could become, yet again, another team that starts to ship away its parts at the deadline.
Rodriguez could definitely help fill the void and become a winner in New York, unlike he has been in Houston.
Houston will ask for prospects and Rodriguez could be obtained for very little, if the Yankees play their cards right.
But honestly, Houston could look at the dire situation that is the Yankees starting rotation and bump up the asking price.
Rodriguez last season went 11-11 with a 3.60 ERA. He would have tons of run support in New York (if the Yankee bats do what they're projected to do) and, again, could become a winner in the Concrete Jungle.