Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pettitte Will Not Start 2011 Playing Baseball

According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Andy Pettitte has informed the Yankees that he will not be playing baseball to start the 2011 season. 
"I don't think he's determined if he's officially finished or not, but he's chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011," Cashman said Wednesday at the baseball owners' quarterly meetings in Arizona. "If that ever changes he'll call us. We're not going to hound him or bother him."
"These are personal decisions and they're based on him wanting to be home and every year it's been something tugging at him, and it's been tugging at him even more, and that's understandable, and so right now he's not someone we can focus on," Cashman said.
I know what the article says, but I don't think it takes a genius to read between the lines on this one.  Pettitte has decided that it's time for him to step away from the game, and this is his way of doing so quietly.  By not officially retiring, he leaves the door open for a potential comeback.  Will he ever comeback?  Doubtful, but that's not the point.  Unlike certain athletes who shall remain nameless, Pettitte has never been enamored with the spotlight.  While he loved pitching under the bright lights of New York, he never allowed it to consume him.  Pettitte's a quiet, humble family man.  In taking this route, Pettitte can slowly fade away from consciousness without having to go through the pomp and circumstance of a teary-eyed retirement press conference.

As both Corrye and I have both discussed in detail, Pettitte's retirement leaves a gaping hole in the Yankees rotation.  In my article titled Potential Targets for the Yankees, I identified five obtainable productive starters for whom the Yankees could trade.  Four of those pitchers are still available.  While I believe Cashman when he says that he's actively "out there," and I agree that the pitching market is "thin", the cupboard is far from bare.  To get the pitcher they desire, they may have to give up some of their prized prospects.  The Yankees have plenty of quality young catching depth in Montero, Sanchez, and Romine, and there are plenty of teams looking for major league quality starting catchers.  The Yankees also have some good minor league starting pitching prospects in Betances, Brackman, Noesi, and Banuelos.  If Cashman is going to nab the middle of the rotation starter he desperately needs, he's going to need to be aggressive.  He will probably need to include at least one (maybe two) of the above players, along with one or two high risk/reward prospects, in any trade. 

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