Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Pros and Cons of Letting Andy Walk

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Andy Pettitte is considering following Joe Torre and Don Mattingly to Los Angeles to pitch for the Dodgers if a deal with the Yankees cannot be worked out.

So, what are the pros and cons of letting Andy walk to Los Angeles?


The first pro would be a first round draft pick:

Update (7:15pm): Before anyone asks, Pettitte is a Type-A free agent, so if he did head to SoCal the Yanks would get the Dodgers first round pick (#17 overall, the second best pick they could possibly get) and a sandwich rounder.

That comes from River Ave. Blues. While a draft pick would likely not have an impact on the team for a few years, a draft pick that high is a luxury the Yankees usually don't have. Take into consideration that the Yankees will most likely get picks from Bobby Abreu and Ivan Rodriguez, not to mention compensation picks for not signing Gerritt Cole and Scott Bittle. Of course, the Yankees could also give away draft picks if they sign CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Ben Sheets, or Derek Lowe, but getting a first rounder and a sandwich pick for Pettitte would not be bad at all.

The next pro is the fact that the Yankees just may not need Andy. As harsh as that may sound, if the Yankees sign CC Sabathia and one of Ben Sheets (yes please), AJ Burnett (I wouldn't mind it one bit), or Derek Lowe (no thanks), Andy Pettitte is probably not necessary. Let's say that happens, the rotation would probably shake out as:

CC Sabathia
Chien-Ming Wang
Ben Sheets/AJ Burnett/Derek Lowe
Phil Hughes
Joba Chamberlain/other guys to keep his innings down (Aceves, Coke? Kennedy, etc)

Pettitte would not be necessary in that rotation. It would be more than fine without him.

The last pro is the fact that Pettitte is probably in decline. His second half last year was, well, bad. Very bad. Is that a sign of things to come? It could be, and all emotion tied to Andy Pettitte (he signed a business card at my mom's old store for me once and he and I share the same birthday), I really think Andy's best days--and even average days at that--are over.

Andy Pettitte could very well hurt the Yankees next year.


Of course, there's a tails for every heads....The cons of letting Andy Pettitte go are:

1. You know what you're getting out of Andy. It may not be great anymore, but you know he'll probably give you 180-200 of just about league average (or slightly better or worse) pitching. There have only been four seasons in which Andy has pitched less than 200 innings. The way the Yankees rotation could shape up--with youngsters Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain and their "restrictions"--they'll need someone who can eat innings. Pettitte is perfect for that.

2. A "worst-case-scenario" could occur in which all the free-agent dominoes fall away from the Yankees. In that case, the Yankees would need Pettitte. But of course, Andy could shock everyone and jump the gun and sign with the Dodgers. If that happens, fine, the Yankees could look elsewhere. But, what if the other guys choose other options than the Bronx, too? The Yankees rotation could look like this:
Chien-Ming Wang
Phil Hughes
Joba Chamberlain

Those question marks could be anyone. Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, Ian Kennedy, Kei Igawa....That is not good, no matter what the offense may do. Impossible as it may seem, the offense would probably have to score at least 900 runs to keep that pitching staff afloat.

So, what do to with Mr. Pettitte? I don't really have an answer, and I don't think Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office will until the first few free agent signings occur. What CC Sabathia decides will determine where the Yankees go in terms of pitchers and hitters, and I think Andy Pettitte is not in top priority for the Yankees, which I see as something like this:
1. Sabathia
2. Tex
3. Burnett/Sheets/Lowe
4. Centerfield
5. Andy Pettitte

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