New York papers are abuzz with Andy Pettitte talk, so I thought I’d get in on the act. Pettitte opened up to reporters yesterday, saying that retirement after the 2006 season is an option if his elbow can’t handle any more.
Pettitte turns 34 this June and will make $17.5MM this season in the last year of his backloaded three-year contract. One article mentioned that before the 2004 season, Pettitte asked his agent to limit the contract to three years. Given that obvious uncertainty and Pettitte’s desire to be with his family, retirement is entirely feasible even with the lefty on top of his game.
Yankees fans, of course, would love Pettitte to return to his old stomping grounds. The team could use another mercenary ace starter, whether it be midseason or for 2007. If it was a one-year contract for 2007, Pettitte could probably find a team to come close to the record $18MM Roger Clemens received last year with Houston.
Here’s the issue with any major Yankees trade: if they want to acquire a star player, they have a very limited set of players to deal. Off the top of my head, Philip Hughes, Robinson Cano, and maybe Matt DeSalvo (though he’s 25 now). Why would the Astros surrender Pettitte for anything less? (And don’t try to sell me on Eric Duncan’s performance in the AFL or something). Same goes for Barry Zito, Doug Davis, or whatever other reinforcements the Yankees might pursue if Johnson/Mussina/Chacon/Wang/Pavano doesn’t hold up (and it’d be a miracle if those five held up). Jaret Wright is a joke, Aaron Small a fluke. I think the Yanks will be in the market for a starter this summer and Hughes will have to go.