Obviously the Yankees are hoping to make a big addition to their pitching staff this winter by signing Cliff Lee – a pursuit it appears they’re beginning in earnest today, with a MLB Trade Rumors report that they’ve sent a contingent to meet with Lee in Arkansas – but Andy Pettitte’s status is a pretty considerable issue, too. Of course, this is a pretty familiar situation – Pettitte has been deciding whether to pitch for them each of the past four offseasons. Is there a pattern that might indicate when the Yankees will know something on their Texas lefty? Let’s take a look:
After the 2006 season: Pettitte signs a one-year, $16 million deal with a player option for a second year on Dec. 9, spurning the Astros who had hoped to bring him back.
After the 2007 season: After declining his option on Nov. 5, Pettitte accepts arbitration from the Yankees on Dec. 7 and officially signs on Dec. 12.
After the 2008 season: Some backs-and-forths over money push the ultimate decision later this time around, with Pettitte not signing his incentive-laden deal until Jan. 26.
After the 2009 season: Back to the usual, Pettitte followed up his fantastic postseason by filing for free agency and then signing a one-year deal with the Yankees on Dec. 9.
What does it all mean? Pettitte said after the Yankees were eliminated that “I don’t want it to drag out. I want to make a decision” and with the few tweaks to the MLB offseason calendar, things might move more quickly but judging by Pettitte’s history, that decision doesn’t figure to come for at least a few more weeks.
My personal opinion? I think Pettitte gives it one more year. Yes, he had injury problems this past year but a) they weren’t with his elbow or shoulder; and b) they saved him several months of wear and tear. I’d expect him to sign another one-year deal the first week of December.
* Thanks to the AP for this consummate shot of Pettitte – one that TV directors have been loving for more than a decade.