Thursday, January 8, 2009

Should Pettitte Just Take the Paycut?

Peter Abraham recently put up a post about Pettitte and why a deal has not been made. The basic premise is that Pettitte believes he's worth more than $10 million, and despite saying that money is not an issue and that he wants to stay a Yankee, money is a major issue and the only reason he is currently not a Yankee. I've been saying for a while that $10 million was what Mussina made last season, and that it should be adequate for someone who pitched as poorly and inconsistantly as Pettitte did. He finished the season with a 14-14 record and a 4.54 ERA. I was off slightly as Mussina made $11 million last season, with another $1 million as a signing bonus. If you work it out, his total contract was worth $11.5 million per year over the two year length of his contract. Some people may point out that Mussina made $11.5 million, but he had a terrible 2007 season, going 11-10 with a 5.15 ERA. However, the $11.5 million contract did not come after the 2007 season, it came after the 2006 season when he had a 15-7 record with a 3.51 ERA and 172 strikeouts. After that season he signed the 2 year $23 million contract. Later that off-season, the Yankees made a more than generous offer to Andy Pettitte. The deal was a 1 year $16 million contract with a player option for another $16 million. For those unfamiliar with contract language a player option basically means that the player can choose to play the extra year for a predetermined salary. So basically, he had a guaranteed 2 year contract worth $32 million, way above the market value. Now compare that to the 2 year $23 million Mussina agreed to. Pettitte had just finished a 14-13 season with a 4.20 ERA and 178 strikeouts pitching in the National League. Compare that to Mussina who had better numbers and pitched in the AL East. Mussina probably could have gotten more from the Yankees, but he wanted to be a Yankee and did not see money as a huge issue. Mussina re-signed with the Yankees in October because he knew he wanted to be a Yankee, and never shopped his services around to other teams. Keep in mind also that Mussina had made $17 million the season before, and was taking a $5.5 million pay cut, very close to the $6 million pay cut in the Pettitte deal, with the one major difference being that Mussina took the paycut after pitching WELL.

Now, I understand that its every players right to demand more money. Its free market capitolism at its best. However, Pettitte clearly does not want to be a Yankee or pitch in the new stadium as he had earlier stated. If that were really the case, he would have signed already. What he does want is money. This may seem harsh to say, but let's be honest. The Yankees aren't trying to cheat him. They've offered a fair contract in this market. I could see if Pettitte was just holding out, but he outright rejected the Yankees offer. Where he once said that money was not an issue and he wanted to be a Yankee, his actions are saying the opposite.

What is the fair market value? Well after Sabathia and Burnett, any good pitcher has been offered $13 million per season. Lowe and Dempster were offered this much. Those two pitchers had good seasons last year (Lowe went 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA and Dempster went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA) and both helped get their teams to the playoffs. Pitchers who pitched poorly last season either have no offers on the table, or signed really cheaply like Daniel Cabrera and his $2.9 million deal. Pettitte is somewhere in between. He's a good pitcher who had a bad season due to shoulder problems and general inconsistancy. What's the market on a player like that? $10 million sounds about right...to everyone except Pettitte.

17 comments:

Yankees Guy said...

I say let Pettite go. There are better stop gap pitchers out there who will require less money. NO I'm not talking about Jason Johnson. How about Randy Wolf isn't he still available?

Fernando Alejandro said...

To be honest, Pettitte's the best option available for a stop-gap. He knows New York, is a big game pitcher, can be relied upon to eat up quality innings. Wolf had similar numbers to Pettitte last season and pitched in the NL. He's a career NL pitcher with a history of injury. I think a better stop gap would be Lowe or a healthy Sheets, but we know the problems with the later, and the former will cost more than the Yankees would want to pay.

Yankee Magic said...

I know no one agrees with this, but I think Sheets is a good fit. he is probably very cheap right now (maybe a 2/18). This guy has a huge upside, and if he gets hurt you still have guys like Hughes and Kennedy that can fill in. I love the rotation with Sheets in it. I think Lowe is probably to much for what he is. He is good for an NL pitcher, but I think three years in the AL would kill him.

Fernando Alejandro said...

I actually like the idea of signing Sheets if the money is right. At the very worst, he becomes an amazing bullpen arm down the stretch. I think he could be worth the risk and with this market, his price tag could drop enough to make sense.

Rev said...

Excellent analysis gentlemen, as usual, you are spot on. It is very sad to see Andy go out like this, especially after it seemed we had patched up the ill feelings from the first messy divorce. I don't feel bitter about it, as he has every right to try for a larger contract, just a tremendous sadness that this is how he wants to end his carrer. Even on the slim chance there is a compromise and he inks a contract paying him up to $13 mil with incentives, he still looks like a shithead who went back on his word. I'm sure there is a large section of fans who aren't as forgiving as me and will still hold it against him at Old Timer's Day in 2029. It's just sad.

She-Fan said...

Memo to Andy: Take the money! I'm worried about Sheets' injuries. We've already got the injury-prone Burnett and we just unloaded the even-more-injury-prone Pavano. Why take on another risk? I hope Pettitte comes to his senses.

TribeGirl said...

Awwww She-Fan.....did ya have to bring up unloading Pavano??? :o( (Yes, I'm stuck with his @$$!!!) Anyway, I'm all for signing Sheets. Have been from day one. I'm telling you - he was great until he got hurt in September last year! That's almost a whole season of stellar pitching, and who's to say he'll get hurt this year - we have a better rotation and bullpen that he had last year so he won't be so overused....SIGN SHEETS!!!

Raven King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Raven King said...

Oh yes, let's sign Sheets and start praying that he and AJ won't land on the 60-day DL on the same day at the beginning of next season.
Wouldn't it be nice if Carl the Tribeboy joins them in some state of the art rehab clinic doen in the sunny state of Florida?
Memo to Andy: Don't let the madly insanely rich Steinbrenners scare you into signing a contract you know you're gonna hate.

Raven King said...

BTW, this is simply adorable:
CUTE THINGS FALLING ASLEEP.

Raven King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bigjf said...

I'm all for signing Sheets. Even though he and AJ are big injury risks, his contract won't command nearly as much and he has great upside when healthy. The Yankee system is deep enough to handle the blow of both these guys getting injured. That would be the chance for guys like Hughes and Kennedy to really shine. A 2 year deal for Sheets would be fine with me. Pettitte and his delusionary mind can go back to Texas for all I care. He's not getting my sympathies this time around.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Raven, thanks for the NY Post article, and the cute cat falling asleep video! It seems more and more unlikely that the Yankees sign Pettitte, but if that's the case, they might should consider signing Sheets.

RSiciliano said...

Uh, hello? Jon Garland?

Raven King said...

Jon Garland is Ok, but I really want to see Dandy Andy become the winner of this blood-boiling tug of war between employer and employee.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Garland is an interesting case. He's a perfect inning eater, whose pretty much a lock for 190 innings. His 14-8 record was pretty solid too. So why hasn't he been signed? Well the 4.90 ERA is a little concerning, as is the fact that batters hit .303 off him last season. Another concerning factor to consider is that the teams he saw more regularly figured him out fast. Thus, ERA's of 5.09, 7.48, and 11.74 against the Mariners, Athletics and Rangers respectively. He did pitch exceptionally well in the 2005 post season, but that was also a career year for him, and has since had trouble returning to those kind of numbers.

bigjf said...

Garland would be way overpaid, but if the price were lower on him I wouldn't mind adding him as an innings eater. There are better options though. The Yanks can plug in spot starters to eat innings and hope for better results than what Garland typically produces. It's an attractive option, but I think the organization is deep enough on pitchers to go with another injury risk, high reward guy. Sheets would be my choice.