Pettitte Is Back!
by Tony Aubry,
December 9, 2006

The guy with the glare is back in the Bronx 

As I write this article, let me just say Iím happy this isnít about Gil Meche or Ted Lilly. I am glad it is about Andy Pettitte. Everyone I know, with the exclusion of Steven Gentry, Keith, and Asher, is for the deal. Now the Yankees donít have to worry about Carl Pavano cracking 32 ribs, as heíll be in the bullpen. If you count Kei Igawa, they now have 3 left handed pitchers in their rotation, which is great since Yankee Stadium favors lefties so much.

Pettitte is now 34 years old, which is no spring chicken, but he still has some gas in the tank. Yesterday they gave him 16 million for '07, and a player option for í08. One reason why I like this deal so much is that itís not long term. Guys like Gil Meche, Jason Schmidt, and Ted Lilly all got at least 3 years, and all got at least 40 million, and Zito will probably get 6 years and 120 million. I'd rather have Pettitte than all of them, next year, and if you ask me, Schmidt versus Pettitte is a wash. ďWait, you'd rather have Pettitte than Zito next year?!?Ē Duh. Of course I would. Since Zito made a name for himself in í02, all he has done is decline, while Pettitte has been solid since '03. Over that span, Zito has had an ERA+ of 116 and K:BB ratio of  1.77. Pettitte has had an ERA+ of 122 and K:BB ratio of over 3.1. ďWait, but Pettitte had a down season last year.Ē Well, letís take a trip to Splitsville:









Pre All-Star
















The numbers speak for themselves. Last year Pettitte was one of the best pitchers down the stretch, and as they say, itís how you finish, not how you start. So Iím sticking to my belief that I'd rather have Pettitte than Zito next year.  They could have similar numbers, but the Yankees will be getting at least the same production for a 4 million dollar discount.

While weíre talking about numbers, letís talk about Fielding Independent Pitching. FIP is a pitcherís component ERA calculated by only their walks, strikeouts, and home runs.  I usually donít pay too much attention to this stat, since the pitcher is going to be pitching in front of a defense anyway. However, both pitchers are leaving their current ballparks, so I think it is useful since both pitchers will have a new defense behind them. Last year, Zito had a FIP of 4.94 and an xFIP (the same stat using flyball% in place of home runs) of 5.46. Pettitte had a FIP of 4.08 and an xFIP of 3.82. Maybe they wonít have similar numbers after all.

Now that Pettitte will be on the Yankees next season, they could have a solid rotation. Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, and Andy Pettitte could all win at least 15 games and have an ERA below 4.00 As for Randy Johnson, and Igawa/Pavano, well, it doesnít look so great. If Johnson can stay healthy, heíll probably put up league average numbers, which means 13-15 wins with the Yankees' offense. Igawa/Pavano is going to remain a question mark until proven otherwise.

Well Andy, all I can say is, "Welcome back!!"


Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony resides in Queens, New York and can be reached at