Why The Yankees Need Andy Pettitte

Tom SchecterCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2008

The New York media is going to be throwing around a lot of names this winter, prospective free agent signings to fill out a rotation that Brian Cashman himself said was the #1 priority for revamping. They're going to write the name "C.C. Sabathia." A lot. And it's my prediction that at the end of the day, the Yankees are probably going to sign him. That'll be a signing worth celebrating. But as good as Sabathia is, that's not the left-hander the Yankees need most.

And there's good news, on that front: as of this morning, sources close to the Yankees say Andy Pettitte (well, his agent, at least) has made it clear that he intends to pitch for them in 2009.

Now we're in business.

Andy Pettitte is 215-127 lifetime, with two 20-win seasons and three other 17-plus-win seasons to his name. He has been a lock for 33 starts and about 200 innings a season every year, save two, since 1995. He has won 12 postseason games in a Yankee uniform (13-9, 4.14 ERA between New York and Houston in 12 postseasons). He has four World Series rings. People moving to discount him after a bad second half to 2008 are out of their minds, or at the very least overlooking the effect that the loss of Jorge Posada had on the entire pitching staff. 

The guy wins games. Period. And in October, no less - something that Sabathia has yet to prove he can do (2-3, 7.92 ERA in October).

Chien-Ming Wang (1-3, 7.58 ERA) still has to answer that postseason question too, after the disaster of a series he had against Cleveland in 2007.

Let me put it this way: the only lefty I'd rather have in my rotation is in Queens for good now. We need the guy who can set the example in October, who can stand up when we lose a series opener and throw a gem in Game 2. We need Pettitte badly.

And here he comes.