Andy Pettitte has made it known to anyone who stumbles within earshot that he'd like to be back with the Yankees in 2009. He's said that it's okay if they only give him a one-year deal, although he'd like a two-year pact, and, basically, that he'll do everything short of wash Hank Steinbrenner's car if the Bombers ignore his putrid second-half and give him another chanc.
The Yankees haven't said no to a Pettitte return, but haven't said yes either. The lefty would certainly have to take a pay cut from the $16 million he made in 2008, and given the other free agent options on the market, he's certainly a fallback and not a priority in the Bronx. That may explain why Pettitte went ahead and filed for free agency over the weekend. On Friday, assuming the Yankees don't sign him earlier this week, he can start negotiations with any team.
He should go ahead and do so. If and when he does, under no circumstances should the Yankees get into a bidding war for Pettitte. If Mike Mussina does decide to retire, the Yankees would probably have a spot for Pettitte. Brian Cashman should have a number in mind for Pettitte's services, something around $10 million seems more than reasonable, and not offer one dollar more. If Pettitte's so gung-ho to be a Yankee, he'll take it and if he isn't, well, it won't be the first time the pitcher left the Bronx for other environs.
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Assuming the Yankees sign two free agent starters, as expected, they could slot Phil Hughes into the fifth spot and get what they got from Pettitte down the stretch last season. Heck, they could use Kei Igawa and get that kind of production. Pettitte is only getting this consideration because he's a "true" Yankee. That has some value, but not enough to make him a better pitcher than he actually is at this point in his career.