The return of Andy Pettitte is pretty exciting if you're a Yankee fan. Since I started watching baseball Andy has won more postseason games than any other pitcher ever. Obviously that stat doesn't mean a lot in terms of comparing him to other players. Andy has been on a lot of good postseason teams in an era with an expanded postseason. However, to a 23 year old Yankee fan, what that record means is having watched him take the mound and get the W 19 times in the playoffs. Andy has an extremely special place in the hearts of Yankee fans. He is right up there with Jeter, Rivera and Posada.
It is simply impossible to be unhappy with Andy's return. It was only a year ago that we were watching the Yankee news expecting him to resign any day, and hoping that we wouldn't get stuck with fat Bartolo and geriatric Freddy in the rotation. Brian Cashman gave an interview on the YES network during the broadcast of the game right after he signed. His version of the story basically goes like this:
This past winter Pettitte heard Cashman doing an interview in which he was asked whether he had contacted Andy about a return. Cashman said no, he felt Andy could still pitch but didn't want to bother him. Pettitte then contacted Cashman to say that he was toying with the idea of a return and had started working out. Cashman supposedly offered him 10-12 million on the spot but Andy said he couldn't commit, and that he understood that Cashman might have to use that money to sign other players. So Andy worked out for a few weeks while Cash went about trading for Pineda and signing Kuroda. Cashman then told Pettite that the money was no longer available and he stopped working out. That is until Andy visited Spring Training as a guest instructor and realized that he wanted to play so bad that he would do so for a 2.5 million dollar minor league contract. So basically Pettite left 10 million dollars on the table because he couldn't commit 6 weeks earlier than he did, which sucks for him. I guess when you already have a ton of money and you live in bumble fuck Deer Park, Texas its probably not such a big deal though.
I don't buy the cliche that can never have too much pitching. I think that's stupid, because the Yankees clearly do at the moment. Obviously things can change quickly. If some guys get hurt or are ineffective the Yankees will be glad that they had too much pitching. However, its going to suck if come May the Yankees move an effective young starter to the bullpen in order to fit Andy into the rotation. I would far prefer to see them option one of Hughes, Nova or Pineda to AAA where they can continue to start every 5 days. I seem to remember Nova going to AAA last year and developing a knockout slider, that was his most effective pitch upon his return to the big leagues. Eventually injuries or ineffectiveness will open up a spot in the rotation, and whichever pitcher went to AAA can return. For Hughes or Pineda, a trip to AAA would allow them to work on their Changeup, which could wind up being constructive.
Moving Nova or Pineda to the bullpen would be really stupid. Those young pitchers need innings to develop into the legit big league rotation stalwarts that we hope they can be. If Hughes sucks and there is a need, it would make sense to move him to the bullpen. However, should the Yankees decide to move Hughes to the bullpen it would be for good. He is only 2 seasons away from free agency and the Yankees are likely to have several pitching prospects that are ready for the majors come 2013. It might appear on the surface that the best value that a player can provide to the big league club is as always as a member of the 25 man roster but that isn't always true. It is important that the Yankees view Nova and Pineda as assets to be developed in the best possible manner. They can then provide value to the team in a number of ways including as trade pieces. Good starters are much more valuable assets than good relievers.