ANDY’S BACK HOME
It was a long and tortureous process for the fans, but finally, the ink is dry on the one year deal between Andy Pettitte and the Yankees. Of course, there is a small part of me that wondered what it might have been like to have Ben Sheets in the rotation. But now, we’ll never know except to see what he does on another staff (most likely the Texas Rangers). But all things considered, Andy needs to be at Yankee Stadium, just as it would be inappropriate for Jason Varitek to be anywhere but Boston.
Andy took less guaranteed money to return than what had previously been offered, however, if he, as his agent put it, pitches the way he’s always done, he’ll reach the incentives for a total payout of $12 million. I had figured all along that it would take $12 million to close the deal, and this contract makes sense for both parties since it lessens the team’s exposure if Andy fails to reach certain levels.
At this stage of his career, I think Andy is very sensitive to his Yankee legacy, and wants to go out the right way unlike former Yankees David Cone or David Wells who chose to make the detour north to Massachusetts.
At any rate, welcome back Andy! Everyone will be excited to see you…well, except for maybe #65…
I realize that the early press regarding Joe Torre’s new book, The Yankee Years, has not been good. But I do think it was a positive that Joe reached out to one of the book’s targets with a phone call to Brian Cashman. Cashman subsequently has stated that he was glad to get the call, and he’d reserve judgement until he read the book. I do believe in his approach, and I think the book needs to be viewed in its full context…not through selected excerpts pulled out to extract interest.
It didn’t take long for the A-Rod camp to fire arrows back at Torre, which leads me to believe that there is some truth in the accusations. I’ll buy Andy Pettitte’s assertion that he never heard the phrase “A-Fraud” until Torre’s book started to leak out. But it’s no secret that A-Rod doesn’t exactly do the things to endear himself to his teammates.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I thought Johnny Damon’s immediate support for A-Rod was huge. Johnny showed that he’s a team-first guy, and he sets the standard that the rest of the team needs to achieve.
Despite my opinion that the book needs to be read before judgement is passed, I still believe that Joe has tarnished his legacy in New York. Can it be repaired? Sure. But for the short term, he has stirred bitterness in areas where it did not previously exist. And, of course, it has made me start to wonder if some of those outrageous past allegations by Gary Sheffield were, in fact, true.
Hopefully, Donnie Baseball stays on the sidelines for this one…
NO MORE SIGNIFICANT MOVES
Brian Cashman today indicated that we should not expect any further significant moves. While I can accept that, I still think there’s a major hole at catcher. Cashman thinks that Jorge Posada is progressing well, but the fact remains that Posada is an aging, past his prime, veteran who will be more susceptible to injury than prior years. Jose Molina is a nice back up player, but he’s not the answer for full-time duty. Going into the season, I’d assume worst case scenario (that Posada has a setback) and ensure that I had a solid third string catcher who could perform in a catching platoon if necessary. Someone like the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chris Coste. With Carlos Ruiz the starter, and a potential defensive back up in Ronny Paulino, Coste is probably expendable at this stage of his career and could be picked up fairly cheaply. Coste is not a solid stand-alone catcher, but I think in tandem with Molina could provide a good short-term answer until help can arrive in a few years from Austin Romine and Jesus Montero.