Why the New York Yankees Should Focus On Re-Signing Andy Pettitte First

October 24, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

Most Yankees fans and media for that matter have focused on one name for the Yankees to target during their annual free-agent bonanza. 

The name should be familiar to every baseball fan by now. His name is Cliff Lee and over the past two seasons he has proven himself to be not only a difference-maker, but a clutch postseason performer. 

Last season after the Phillies acquired Lee in a trade from the Cleveland Indians, there was no looking back. No one would catch the Phillies as it seemed Lee would pitch a complete game almost every time he took the hill. Pitching to an ERA just a shade over one over the course of half a season is impressive, but none more than his history in the postseason.

Lee almost single-handedly took the Phillies to the World Series because of Cole Hamels not performing up to par throughout the season. In game one of the World Series against the Yankees, Lee pitched a complete game while striking out 10 batters. It was complete domination on the part of Lee and it has continued into this postseason.

Lee has become the first pitcher in history to have three, 10 strikeout games in a postseason career. For someone who had to be demoted in order to correct a flaw in his delivery this is impressive stuff.

No wonder the fans are clamoring for Lee, but I for one do not want the Yankees to go after Lee. He is a 32-year-old pitcher and the Yankees are already tied to CC Sabathia for another five seasons and AJ Burnett for three. 

Do you think it would be a good idea to be tied down to three pitchers going into their mid 30s? What is the likelihood of them breaking down over the course of their contract. It is a situation the Yankees should not want to enter.

The Yankees should instead resign someone who would only be looking for a one-year deal, but has proven himself to be Mr. Reliable. His name is Andy Pettitte and he is the most successful pitcher in postseason history. 

This season Pettitte was off to the best season in his career with a record of 11-2 and an ERA a shade below three before injuring his groin. There were many questions concerning how Pettitte would react in the postseason after not pitching for most of the second half. 

Yankees fans should have known better then to doubt Pettitte. In the playoffs he showed why he is the best in history. Against the Twins Pettitte allowed only two runs through seven innings of work and earning the victory.

For the American League Championship series, Pettitte was lined up to be opposed by Cliff Lee. Heading into the matchup, every media member gushed about Lee and thrust Pettitte into the background. 

Did they forget that Pettitte was the Yankees most consistent pitcher this season? Did they forget that Sabathia struggled early and that it was Pettitte holding together the staff with his 38-year-old left arm?

No matter, because once the game began people noticed Pettitte is one of the best performers to step on the mound in the postseason.

Yes, Pettitte gave up the early two-run home run, but surrendered nothing after it. Pettitte learned from his mistake and the Rangers hitters could do nothing against him as the Yankees hitters could do nothing against Lee. 

Pettitte stood toe to toe with the “God-like” Lee, and if not for one pitch the two may still be dueling it out. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they do not have another pitcher like Pettitte and it is the reason they were eliminated in the ALCS.

Pettitte proved himself to be the ace of the Yankees staff this postseason even at an advanced age. Not convincing Pettitte to come back for one last run would be the biggest mistake the Yankees could make this offseason.

Read more New York Yankees news on BleacherReport.com

readers comments

Yankee Tickets

Yankee Tickets

Shop Yankee

Shop Yankee