In retrospect, I buried the lead in my story about the Safe At Home Gala.
Joe Torre thinks Andy Pettitte will retire and he said it with some conviction. “He was so good last year. But, again, it took a long tome for him to decide on playing. Just knowing Andy, money isnâ€™t an issue for him,” Torre said. “Heâ€™s not closing any doors, but heâ€™s leaning toward staying home. Heâ€™s a devoted family man.â€
Understand this: Torre knows Pettitte better than anybody in the Yankees organization now. Pettitte has described Torre as a second father and given how tight Pettitte is with his actual dad, that says a lot.
Pettitte needed to be convinced to play last season. It took a bunch of calls and $16 million. Now Torre won’t be making those calls, Joe Girardi will be.
Pettitte likes Girardi. They were teammates and are friends. But enough to leave home for another nine months?
The Yankees won’t have his old buddy Roger Clemens next season. That’s another factor. If Jorge Posada jumps to the Mets, that would almost seal it. Pettitte won’t be coming back to flip fastballs to somebody he doesn’t know.
The one thing the Yankees have going for them (well, beyond $16 million) is that Pettitte was very healthy last season. His troublesome elbow gave him no trouble. It’s hard for athletes to walk away when they can still play at a high level.
The Yankees will have to be creative here. Pettitte won’t want the official Roger Clemens K-Boys Family Plan and all the ruckus that stirs. But he will want the ability to come and go when he wants within reason.
Pettitte is a good guy. But nobody in that clubhouse gets more upset when the team loses. He was furious at one point in the spring when he felt the effort wasn’t there. He isn’t going to come back to play for a contender. He wants to play for a champion.
Are the Yankees championship-caliber today? Probably not. They could be a few weeks, but they aren’t today.
Pettitte won’t make the Yankees wait and leave them hanging. He will make a decision by the end of December. That’s good for the Yankees. As Brian Cashman said a few days ago and Torre confirmed last night, if Pettitte had to decide now, he would be done.