The Yankees missed out on Cliff Lee this offseason, but there's still another free agent left-hander out there that can help shore up their rotation. No, I'm not talking about Jeff Francis or Bruce Chen, it's long-time Yankee Andy Pettitte.
For the fourth time in as many offseasons, Pettitte is debating between retirement and pitching another year. The lefty showed that he can still be an effective starter in 2010, posting a 3.28 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 129 innings, but he also demonstrated the perils of a 38-year-old starter. Pettitte missed a total 71 days due to elbow and (mostly) groin issues, and he was also hampered by back and hamstring issues in the postseason. Despite that, he still gave the Yanks a 7 IP, 2 R start in both the ALDS and ALCS.
Last we heard is that Pettitte is still leaning towards retirement, and it's worth noting that in three of the last four offseasons, he's re-signed with New York no later than December 12th. The lone exception is the 2008-2009 offseason, when he was coming off a second half in which he pitched through a sore shoulder. The Yankees will surely welcome him back with open arms, but GM Brian Cashman has indicated that they're operating as if the franchise's third winningest pitcher all-time was not going to return for the 2011 season.