11/5/2003: A Warning for Andy Pettitte

by Asher B. Chancey

 

Every year, there is at least one free agent who I think succeeds because of the system he is in, and leaving, while for better money, if going to hurt his career. This is more obvious in football, where players routinely leave the scene of their professional success and end up not as good, with the most obvious case ebing Dana Stubblefield who, after a great season in SF, went to Wash, sucked, and then returned to SF and was solid again.

 

This is also true in baseball, however. For example, if Tom Glavine had asked me for my opinion before signing with the Mets, I would have never EVER recommended that he leave Leo Mazzone's side. Mike Hampton effectly ruined his career by signing with the Rockies. Speaking of the Rockies, any fool who would leave the Rockies deserves what he gets. This means you, Vinny Castilla.

 

Anyway, My first pick for "it might be better to stay where you are, even for less money" of this baseball off-season is Andy Pettitte. Let's have a look at Mr. Pettitte's career thus far.

 

1995

NYY

31

26

3

0

175.0

183

86

81

15

63

114

12

9

0

0

4.17

1996

NYY

35

34

2

0

221.0

229

105

95

23

72

162

21

8

0

0

3.87

1997

NYY

35

35

4

1

240.1

233

86

77

7

65

166

18

7

0

0

2.88

1998

NYY

33

32

5

0

216.1

226

110

102

20

87

146

16

11

0

0

4.24

1999

NYY

31

31

0

0

191.2

216

105

100

20

89

121

14

11

0

0

4.70

2000

NYY

32

32

3

1

204.2

219

111

99

17

80

125

19

9

0

0

4.35

2001

NYY

31

31

2

0

200.2

224

103

89

14

41

164

15

10

0

0

3.99

2002

NYY

22

22

3

1

134.2

144

58

49

6

32

97

13

5

0

0

3.28

2003

NYY

33

33

1

0

208.1

227

109

93

21

50

180

21

8

0

0

4.02

Total

--

283

276

23

3

1792.2

1901

873

785

143

579

1275

149

78

0

0

3.94

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's see, where to start. How about, 2003: 21-8 with a 4.02 ERA. Guess what, he ain't gonna gonna win 20 games with an ERA over 4 on too many teams. How about 2000, when he went 19-9 with a 4.35 ERA? And 1999, when his ERA was closer to 5 than to 4, and he still had a winning record? His best seasons, 1997 and 2002, were five years apart. That is not the mark of a great pitcher, that is the mark of a solid pitcher who has benefitted from a lot of run support. Don't get me wrong, Andy was Dandy in 2003, despite his ERA, as his walks were down and his K's were up, but if you're not playing for the Yankees next year, and you don't have one of the league's finest lineups supporting you, and you don't have the most well paid bullpen in the league finishing your games, you don't win 21 games with a 4+ ERA. We've already discussed the exploits of the Yankee's system in terms of cradling Roger Clemens to a 20-3 record in 2001 despite his 3.51 ERA. Pedro Martinez had a 2.26 ERA the year after that, and managed to lose one more game than Clemens at 20-4. I wonder how Pettitte will fair when he is not in the Yankees system anymore and his new team can only score three runs a game to support him. Not well I think.

 

So go ahead, Andy Pettitte, and sign with another team. Just remember that you've been warned.