Will 2010 Be Andy Pettitte's Final Hurrah With The Yankees?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IApril 2, 2010

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 25:  (EDITOR'S NOTE: IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees poses for a photo during Spring Training Media Photo Day at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 25, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Over the last 15 years, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte have made up the "Yankees Core" of the roster, mostly because they are popular players who were home-grown products out of the Yankees system.

In 2010, one of the core players may be playing in his final season.

In an interview with YES Network's Jack Curry, Pettitte dropped hints that this upcoming season may in fact be the final one for the left-hander.

If Pettitte were to retire, it would make sense. In fact, if Pettitte had retired at the end of the 2009 season, nobody would have been surprised.

Since coming back to the Yankees in December of 2006, Pettitte has signed all one-year deals, taking it one season at a time.

After an injured arm hampered Pettitte at the end of 2008, forcing him to a 14-14 record, some even wondered if Andy was washed up, or if the stress had finally caught up to him.

So in 2009, after signing a $5.5 million dollar deal in January, Pettitte came in extremely focused and better prepared for baseball.

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He stayed injury free all year long and finished 14-8, logging 194.2 innings, right behind CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the rotation.

As valuable as Pettitte was in the regular season, nobody was more valuable in the 2009 playoffs than Pettitte.

He won Game Three of the ALDS against the Twins, a clinching game.

He won Game Six of the ALCS against the Angels, a clinching game that sent them to the World Series.

Following a no-decision of Game Three, he won Game Six of the World Series against the Phillies that won the Yankees their 27th championship.

Go figure; the Yankees spent big time money on Sabathia and Burnett in the winter, and yet, it came down to Pettitte, the old reliable 37-year-old to win every clinching game of every series in 2009.

Hell, he even won the clinching game of the American League East division against the Red Sox back in September. So really, Andy did pitch every clincher in 2009.

After the Yankees won the title, Pettitte went home and quickly decided he wanted to come back and pitch in 2010, signing another one-year deal for $11.75 million.

This really is the third time Pettitte was putting off retirement to pitch another season in pinstripes. When he came back four years ago, Pettitte came back to New York to win another ring.

He got that ring last season, so why is he pitching in 2010? Well, aside from going for his sixth championship, mostly it is for the love of the game.

But now Andy is facing a similar situation Mike Mussina did at the end of his career, being away from home with a family and children far away.

Pettitte's wife Laura and their four children have been very supportive of his playing career, but as Andy gets older, so are his kids, (Joshua- 15, Jared- 11, Lexie- 9, Luke- 5) and like Mussina did with his children, Andy isn't going to want to miss watching them grow up, so his retirement is eventually coming.

If 2010 were to be Pettitte's final one in pinstripes, he will have gone down as one of the best pitchers for the Yankees in their history. Entering 2010, Andy will have a 229-135 record, which is over 60 percent winning wise. He also holds the MLB record for most postseason wins as a pitcher with 18, surpassing John Smoltz for that record.

Many of the Yankee fans would be sad to see Pettitte go, but they would understand if this were to be the end of a brilliant career. Pettitte deserves to go out on his own terms, which if it were up to him, would mean one more championship.

If this is truly Andy's last hurrah in pinstripes, then we all better soak up and enjoy the 2010 season and remember how valuable No. 46 really is with the Yankees.