The will he stay or will he go saga with New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte keeps getting more mysterious. While the free-agent lefthander keeps Yankee management waiting in the wings, he has now left Yankee fans standing in the cold.
Pettitte postponed a private, New York area autograph signing tomorrow until February 15--one day after pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training voluntarily.
According to the memorabilia dealer, Steiner Sports, Pettitte opted out of the appearance--leading to speculation on a number of fronts.
The 38 year-old Pettitte has already told the Yankees he will not pitch in 2011, according to the Yankees GM Brian Cashman. It has been reported that Pettitte is in his home state of Texas and has not worked out this off-season.
Cashman said he has been in contact with Pettitte and are hoping the veteran hurler will change his mind and play another season.
Could Pettitte be planning a New York to Tampa trip. He isn't saying.
Meanwhile, Cashman continues to load up on aging, low-priced former All-Stars for the Yankees pitching rotation.
Yesterday, the team signed 35 year-old Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract. Garcia pitched in 28 games for the Chicago White Sox last season. He was 12-9 with an ERA of 4.64.
Garcia joins the other over-30 Club the Yankees have signed--including Bartolo Colon, 37 who hasn't pitched since 2009, and rehabbed thirty-something Mark Prior. It looks like Cashman is loading up on a surplus of rusty arms to battle it out with youngsters Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the rotation.
Sadly, it's looking like "Sex and the City 2" for this year's Yankees signees. A bunch of once sexy arms reduced to desperately finding a little love in a Big Apple rotation and only after the Yankees' own heart was broken by their Mr. Big--Cliff Lee.
Cashman has been frantically trying to fix the Yankees sagging rotation after the Lee fiasco and now the Yankee rotation's Botox is beginning to show.
Pettitte could be the logical cure. He now has the upper hand. A couple of months ago, when Cliff Lee and his $150 million contract with the Yankees was all but a slam dunk, Pettitte was the odd man out. The team saw CC Sabathia and Lee as their lefthanded 1-2 punch and the reliable Pettitte was wanted, but not a priority. Pettitte now looks like a prize bull at a slaughter house.
And the Yankees are looking at an old and wobbly starting rotation. They can only hope one of their youngsters has a breakout year or one of the old timers just doesn't break down. Pettitte could be the glue that holds the rotation together and the money ball is in his mitt. Not so long ago, Lee's $150 million was all over the headlines. It must look pretty good to Pettitte's agent right now.
Even if the current crop of possible Yankee starters can muster enough six inning games, hand the ball to the improved bullpen with newly-signed, and over-paid, set-up man Rafael Soriano and closer Mariano Rivera, Cashman would be still be in a better off place with the crafty Pettitte.
Pettitte still hasn't said if he plans to return. He really hasn't made any kind of public statement about his plans for next year. If Pettitte returns to pinstripes, he will get a lot of money and deservedly so.
Pettitte was 11-3 last year with an ERA of 3.28. He was injured for a few weeks but he didn't break down. When healthy, Pettitte is still one of the best.
If Pettitte doesn't come back, it will be fun to see who wins the battle for the No. 4 and 5 spots--one of the New Kids on the Block or Carrie or Samantha.
In the meantime, Pettitte's price is going up.