Most of us thought the Yankees were done improving their rotation after acquiring Michael Pineda and signing Hiroki Kuroda, but they added one more veteran piece on Friday. Andy Pettitte decided to come out of retirement and return his old team, signing a one-year, minor league deal worth $2.5MM with no incentives. He won't be ready for Opening Day, but will get back into shape early in the season before rejoining the team. Here's a bunch of news and reactions to the signing, with most links going to Twitter...
- "I am embarrassed to be coming back, but what can I do? My desire has changed," said Pettitte to reporters (including Mark Feinsand of The New York Daily News and Joel Sherman of The New York Post) in a conference call this afternoon. "It was the Yankees or nothing," he added.
- Dialogue between Pettitte and GM Brian Cashman started back in December according to Jack Curry of The YES Network. The team originally offered a one-year deal worth $10-12MM, but the left-hander wanted to work out for six weeks to see how he felt.
- The two sides spoke sporadically over the last year according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The Yankees checked in with Pettitte before signing Kuroda in mid-January, but at that point he wasn't sure if he would return.
- The Yankees had maxed out their budget by the time Pettitte said he wanted to pitch, so owner Hal Steinbrenner had to authorize the signing according to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
- The two sides explored a number of different financial packages, including a personal services contract that would not have counted against the luxury tax according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- ESPN's Buster Olney says the Yankees could have signed Mike Gonzalez two weeks ago, but turned it down because of that budget. Pettitte's history with the team worked in his favor.
- The Yankees are very open to trading their excess starting pitching, reports Olney. In addition to Pettitte, they have CC Sabathia, Pineda, Kuroda, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova penciled into the rotation.
- Sherman wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees shopped Garcia if they feel Pettitte could help this season. Garcia could be an affordable alternative for clubs looking at Joe Blanton or John Lannan.
- “I don’t think he’s coming back to where he was, call it a hunch," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to reporters (including Scott Lauber of The Boston Herald). "But he’s a good pitcher. Always respected Andy. Always thought he was a borderline Hall of Famer. Add someone like that to your staff, you’re doing good.”