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UPDATE: Pettitte still undecided about pitching in 2011

Jan 12, 2011, 9:34 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3 Getty Images

9:34 PM: Scratch that.  Chad Jennings of The Journal News spoke with Cashman just moments ago and the general manager said that he was misquoted.  Pettitte is still in decision mode for 2011 and the Yankees have heard nothing new.

9:02 PM: The Yankees are going to be just fine, let’s get that out of the way.  They still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball from top to bottom and will be battling for the American League East crown this season despite a winter of letdowns.

But here comes another bit of bad news…

According to the New York Daily News, veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte told Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Wednesday that he will not be playing baseball when the 2011 season opens in late March and that he can’t say for sure if he will return at all.

“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’ meetings in Arizona. “If that ever changes he’ll call us. We’re not going to hound him or bother him.”

The Yankees missed out on top free agent target Cliff Lee this offseason and didn’t get the chance to bid on a host of other free agent pitchers because they had so much money committed to that offer.  Carl Pavano is still unsigned, but the Yanks probably don’t want to dance that jig for a second time.  Justin Duchscherer is another option, but there’s no guarantee that he can stay healthy.

The Bombers might just have to stick to internal candidates like Ivan Nova and Andrew Brackman in order to fill out their rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.

  1. Ari Collins - Jan 12, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    He could always pull a Clemens.

    But for now, I’m picking the Rays for second place. Their offense might not be as good, but is younger and has more upside than the Yankees (especially Longoria and Upton), and I think they’ll grab another bat (preferably Thome or Manny). And Price-Shields-Hellickson-Niemann-Davis is way better than the Yankees’ rotation.

  2. smokehouse56 - Jan 12, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Like many people, I think the Yankees have a big problem. And no, they don’t have one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Not even close. Top to bottom the Phillies and Red Sox are far better. They are old, slow and can’t field a lick.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 12, 2011 at 9:41 PM

      Hey now. Only two thirds of their hitters will be over 30 next year. And only a third of them over 35!

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 12, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    The way I see it there’s a good chance that Pettitte is looking to pull the Clemens’ half-season fandango and earn his bucks that way. A slow start by the bombers means they’ll pay big-time bucks to land Andy come May.

    On the flip-side, I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if they went out and snagged a bunch of “bounce back” types in Chris Young, Justin Duchscherer and Jeff Francis. Why not right?! They’ve got the money to outbid everyone else and none of these guys is going to cost a mint to bring in on what is likely a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite.

    Toss ’em all at the wall and see what sticks.

    Then they can add another bat–I assume Andruw Jones is still the guy they prefer–and go from there.

    As Drew said, they’re the Yankees. They’re going to be fine. They’ve got the money and they’ve got at least a few prospects in that system that other teams are interested in, when the time comes they’ll be ready to bulk up and make a push for the AL East crown.

  4. phukyouk - Jan 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    “the rumors of my death….”

    • Ari Collins - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:58 AM

      Agreed. Yankees are clearly in the top 5 of teams in the majors. This isn’t like the Padres losing their only great player or the .500 Angels not getting any of the players that would have been perfect for them.

  5. Old Gator - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    Even so, I wonder if Pettite has been reading Hamlet.

    Well, the Classics Illustrated edition, anyway….

  6. uyf1950 - Jan 13, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    Gentlemen, believe what you want. If you want to believe the Yankees are old and their offensive is not one of the the most potent in baseball that is your right. The Yankees are getting older but they are not old. Excluding the DH the Yankees have only 2 players Jeter (37) & ARod (36) who will be over 31 during or at the end of the 2011 season. The other 6 full time position players 31 or younger are not old gentlemen not even in baseball years.
    As for the comment about the Phillies offensive being better. I don’t know what that poster has been smoking but look at the individual stats for the players. Currently on the team only 1 player hit more than 18 HR’s in 2010. Only one player had a higher BA than .276 and only one player drove in more than 83 runs. ARod an “aging” (and I use the team affectionately) soon to be 36 year old Yankee 3rd baseman had nearly identical BA & HR’s and more RBI’s as Phillies leading batter in those categories Ryan Howard. When you add Tex, Cano and Swisher into the Yankee equation no one on the Phillies roster comes close in offense. Not to mention the Phillies lagged behind the Yankees in virtually every offensive category on 2010 and that was with Werth in their line up.
    As for the Red Sox offense on paper they look very good. But they have week spots as well. Catcher is their weakest link, then there is the SS position and lastly JD Drew has been inconsistent at best. Then factor in, you never know how players will respond when coming back from injuries and Boston’s 2011 offense has yet to prove itself.
    One final comment about players upside. I like how posters in general always mention how a couple of players on “other” teams should rebound or have “upside” potential. But never give any Yankee players that same consideration. I would expect Gardner to improve over a last season as I would expect the same from Granderson who had a very impressive last six weeks to the season after a slow start as a new member of the Yankees. That’s not to mention the defensive improvement the Yankees made by signing Martin to replace Posada behind the plate.
    Just remember gentlemen there are 2 sides to every coin and for all those posters who every year count the Yankees out or “over the hill” they continue to prove you wrong.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:28 AM

      Oh, uyf. Your rose-colored glasses are so amusing. So only two players are old? If you ignore one player? And pick 31 as your cutoff as opposed to 30, when 30 would balloon it to 6 players?

      The fact is, the 9 starters will average 31.67 years as their seasonal age next year. Maybe you don’t think that’s old. But I would be surprised if that’s not in the top 3 oldest. (For comparison, Boston’s starters are a full two years younger.) So unless you think NO lineup is old, the Yankees are old.

      That said, while most people (who are objectively projecting, not failing “to give the Yankees credit”) project the Yankees to decline offensively, we’re talking about the team that scored the most runs in baseball last year. Most would still project them as the second best offense in baseball next year. Well above the Phillies’ offense, who, I agree, are old themselves (one of the few teams older than the Yankees on average).

      Of course, the offense isn’t really the Yankees’ problem. Most contenders have two or three starting pitchers better than the Yankees’ #2. (The Phillies have four.) And that’s not even touching their replacement level back of the rotation. So there’s that.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:31 AM

        My friend, your obvious bias towards the Red Sox and against the Yankees also appears to have colored your view point. I already mentioned on several occasions the Yankees pitching issues that is not a point of contention. This piece and my comment were strictly dedicated to offense. You talk about me picking 31 as a cutoff what about you and you constant referral to 30. Do you honestly believe there is any significant difference? And as I’ve mentioned in my post 31 is not “old”. You choose to make it old because it suits your purpose. Like I said there are ONLY 2 full time position players that will be over 31 at the end of the 2011 season and one of those ARod is and has been an offensive machine who even at 35+ averages over 30 HR’s and above 100 RBI’s per season. Even in the 2010 season a 34+ ARod was 8th in the AL in HR’s and only one RBI behind the AL leader in that category. Will he regress some in 2011 possibly, but others like Cano, Gardner and Granderson will in all likelihood improve and more then offset any potential regression by ARod. I did not include the DH position (Posada) because most if not all AL teams that have a DH have it manned by an “older” player even the Red Sox. Rather then use generalizations as you do to define a team productivity I use specifics player performances.
        My final comments. I’m not questioning that the Red Sox have a “younger” team than the Yankees. That’s a given. I do question those that say the Yankees are “old”. They are getting older that is true but they are not old. The facts and more importantly the individual Yankee players performance do NOT support the theory that they are “old”. As for averaging players ages. It can be misleading. Take the Red Sox 6 starting pitchers that they have used over the last 2 years. By your standard of “old” the Red Sox will have only 2 starting pitchers 30 years old or underduring the 2011 season. And if you add their ages and divide by 6 the average age comes out to be 32.2 years old. See how misleading averaging can be. But you already know that I’m sure. As for your comment about the Phillies pitching I agree with your comment although I am surprised to hear it coming from you. You being such a stickler for players ages. Considering 3 of the 4 (Lee, Oswalt & Halladay) are well past your magical 30 year cutoff for players not to be considered “old”.

      • phukyouk - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        Please name the Phils 4 Starters that are better than Huges or Andy

      • Ari Collins - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Wow. I didn’t expect to have to defend the Phillies’ amazing rotation. Just… wow, PY. Forgetting even the Phillies’ front two, you really think that either Andy Pettitte (who at this point is unlikely to surpass his two thirds of a season last year, assuming he pitches at all) or Phil Hughes (of the 4+ ERA and near-5 second-half ERA) is better than Roy Oswalt or Cole Hamels?

        “name the Phils 4 Starters that are better than Huges”? Do you not know their names yet? I guess it’s been underreported how good the Phillies rotation is?

        As to age, uyf: the point of picking 30 is to show how ridiculous picking 31 is, as you clearly picked the age JUST after the age of many of their hitters to make them look better. Arbitrary cutoffs aren’t a good measurement, average age is. (I guess median age would probably be even better, if you felt like calculating that.) And, again, unless you think there’s no such thing as old and no hitter is ever old, the Yankees are definitively old. They’re one of the oldest lineups in baseball. Unless somehow every team in baseball is really young, being the oldest probably means you’re old.

        As to the Phillies’ rotation age, it’s been proven that pitchers age entirely differently from hitters. There isn’t the 26-29 peak that you see with hitters. But even if you want to knock three aces and a future HOF coming off a Cy Young for being old, their front four’s average age next year will be a little less than the Yankees’ hitters. And it would go down if you included Kyle Kendrick, their likely fifth starter. But I wouldn’t include him, because with pitchers, again, recent performance trumps age. And Kendrick is not that good.

        And the average age of Boston’s rotation IS slightly higher than the Yankees, 29.2 to 28.6. But, again, age is less important for pitchers; the Yankees would be better with Pettitte in there than Mitre, even though their average age would go up to 30.4. (And using Wakefield’s age isn’t that good an idea, considering he’s at best the 6th starter this year. And pitching prospect Felix Doubront may well get the nod over him when a 6th starter is needed.)

        As to your final comment, you do realize that measuring a hitter by HRs and RBIs is not a good idea, right? A-Rod, Teixeira, Posada, and Jeter have gotten worse (by any good measurement) as they’ve gotten older. Jeter definitely declined last year, Teixeira’s declined each of the last two years, A-Rod each of the last three, and Posada each of the last two (not even counting his injured season).

        The only BoSox who have declined lately are Ortiz (and I would not be surprised to see him decline further) and Drew, who are (not coincidentally) the only Boston hitters in their mid-30s. You could say that Scutaro’s in decline, but I’d say that’s more a regression back to his career numbers from his career year, and, more importantly, he’s not likely to be the starting shortstop.

        I’m doing my best to stay objective by using accurate stats (seriously, RBIs are NOT a good measurement, my friend), talking about projections that don’t come from New Englanders, and not ignoring every point that paints my team in a negative light. (I’m telling you, age is not a stat I made up, your hitters are objectively OLD. That doesn’t mean they’re not also REALLY GOOD, and it doesn’t even mean some of them won’t get better next year, it just means they’re more likely to get worse than better.)

        I’m going to stop arguing with you, uyf. (Although I should note that it’s always nice to talk to a Yankee fan who isn’t trash talking!) You’ve got rose-colored glasses, but I should have stopped trying to get you to take them off a while ago. Not just because you’re clearly not going to, but why should you? As long as you’re not losing money making bets on your team, what’s so wrong with enjoying the offseason and dreaming on every player on your team having better seasons than last year?

        I’ll wait until the season starts and we can begin blowing April games way out of proportion.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        Ari – you continue to justify your comments by trying to disprove claims you believe I made. In fact claims that I have not made.
        1st – My only point in using age 31 was to show that your age 30 is arbitrary. As I mentioned in my earlier post and I quote “do you honestly believe there is any significant difference in a players performance using 31 as the cut off versus 30?”
        2nd – I never compared the averages of the Boston and Yankee rotations. My only point is that using averages or an arbitrary age 30 that you continue to use meaningless.
        3rd – You are accusing me of “knocking” 3 future HOF’ers. I did no such thing. Again I merely pointed out that the 3 in question defied your arbitrary 30 year old cut off for “old”. Am I to assume that merely because they are pitchers and approaching their mid 30’s that they are not getting “older”?
        4th – …and here is an exact quote from your most recent post “unless you think there’s no such thing as old and no hitter is ever old, the Yankees are definitively old. They’re one of the oldest lineups in baseball. Unless somehow every team in baseball is really young, being the oldest probably means you’re old.” If I understand you comment correctly and you are welcome to correct me. You assessment of the Yankees being old, is based on the fact that they are “older” than many other teams. The fact that they are “older” than other teams doesn’t make them “old” it makes them “older”. Which is what I’ve said from the beginning. I’ll ignore your comment about my age if you don’t mind.
        I’ll say it one more time. For a team that’s getting “older” NOT “old” they have one of the most potent offenses if not the most potent offense in MLB. Which was the whole concept of my original post at 7:10 am this morning. I guess we will just have to wait until early fall to see just how well the “old” Yankees as you call them and the “young whipper snapper” Red Sox represent themselves. I’m going to guess they will both be there at the end of the regular season regardless of the relative age of their players as there are many things besides chronological age that can effect the outcome of a teams performance. So enjoy, I’ll keep my rose colored glasses and Yankee bias for now.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jan 13, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        Just to throw something into this debate- we have to play the games (cliche #1). The eighteen game Universe-Nation series may or may not prove anything historically- it will depend upon building our record on opponents WE CAN BEAT.We may all be tired of Mr. Fiddley-Fart, but we may well need him.
        I, like uyf, always look to the offense, which did not serve us well at season’s end. Beep-beep will have to come through, or we’ll add additional queries about the wisdom of retaining him. The rest of the group is not ready for Social Security yet, particularly Tex and (leave him alone!) ARod. We wait for their 40 HRS>We wait for their 7th through 9th inning heroics, which were legendary in ’09 and pedestrian in ’10. (Except, of course, game 1 of the ALCS)
        We can’t trat the O’s as “gimme’s) anymore.
        What do I worry about? Girardi’s strategy.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 13, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      To yankeesfanlen – I wouldn’t be to quick to judge beep-beep this coming year regardless of how he performs. After all he’s only played in about 300 games less then 2 full ML seasons. Also the way the Yankees keep moving him around in the batting order (1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th) can’t be a good thing. The Yankees need his type of player. Aggressive, speed on the bases and someone who can and is willing to play small ball. The Yankees have enough swing for the fences players, they need to keep players who can get on base and score runs when someone behind them hits a HR. All to many Yankee home runs this past season were solo home runs much of that because players like Gardner and Granderson batted at the back of the line up. Gardner is never going to be a home run hitter. The Yankees need him to get on base, be aggressive and cause havoc for opposing teams pitchers (at the top or near the top of the line up).

  7. yankeesfanlen - Jan 13, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    To Mr. Fiddley-Fart:

    You say it’s yes,
    And then it’s no
    You say you’ll stay
    And then you go
    You’re undecided now
    So what’re gonna do?

    So, I’m reading “Yogi:Eternal Yankee” and during the 1949-1953 seasons the Yankees, at season start, were never picked by a compendium of sports beat and national writers to take the AL crown.New manager Casey Stengel was derided as a clown and his platoon system deemed ridiculous. Injuries, retirements, and players changed.
    Guess what happened during that season that never was duplicated?

    • uyf1950 - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      At this point I have to admit Andy’s routine is wearing thin. Even as a life long ‘die hard” Yankee fan I’m almost to the point where I say cut him loose. If he can’t make up his mind 2 months after the season ended he really doesn’t have his heart in it and it’s time for him and the Yankees to move on and stop playing games.

      • pisano - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:00 AM

        I’ll go a little farther than you, I’m totally over him. This dog and pony show he’s been putting on has pissed me off to the point that I don’t even want to hear about him anymore. It’s time for the Yankees to make a move and forget Pettitte. Like uyf1950 said if he’s not sure by now he really doesn’t want to pitch anymore. Ciao Andy .

  8. Panda Claus - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Pettitte’s [lack of] decision to play or not to play is feeling a little Favrian to me. With slight remnant tunes of Roger and Pedro playing in the background.

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