Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pettitte approaching hypocrisy

This is a bit difficult. I am a big Andy Pettitte fan. I was sad to see him go in 2003 but I know (or I thought I knew) that he marches to a beat of a different drummer. That he wanted to go be near his family was a totally acceptable answer for my feeble brain. When he came back in 2007, I welcomed him. When he had a poor year in 2008, I was disappointed. I also figured that he'd finally make good on his oft-thought aloud retirement plans. Which would be cool with me; an athlete leaving when he wanted, with money on the table. That's conviction.

Fast forward to now. Andy wants to play another year in NY. The Yanks would like him back, only a rate that's more commesurate with his current performance levels and the current economic conditions. This is why the Yanks declined offering him arbitration. Andy made $16m in an exercised option year in 2008 and would be due for at least that if the Yanks offered arb and he accepted (which appears more than likely).

Today, I read that his agents (the highly regarded Hendricks Brothers) are trying to get Andy at worst a salary on par with 2008, if not more. This is out of touch with reality, in my opinion. The other day, over at Shysterball, there was some tearing to shreds of NY Post's Joel Sherman's claims that Pettitte would be a phony if he signed elsewhere. Myself included. I made this comment: "If he wants more than $16 million and can get it elsewhere, godbless. If he wants what his performance and market dictates, great." And I stick by it. Sorta. I wouldn't try to keep him out of the Old Timers Day and stuff like that, but he's toeing the line of hypocrisy.

Here's the thing, Andy has said the only team he wants to play for is the Yanks.

“I mean, to tell you the truth, like I’ve told you all a hundred times, I’ve made it loud and clear where I’d like to play at,” Pettitte, 36, said in a telephone interview. “I’m just basically sitting here letting my agents do their job really.”
The Yanks have offered him $10m to pitch this season in pinstripes. To me, that's a fair and reasonable salary. So if he's more than chasing the last dollar, he'll follow his heart and sign with NY. If he's only about the highest dollar, he'll sign elsewhere. I always viewed Andy as a bit different, but if he goes against his statement, than isn't he only about the money and actually no different from any other athlete? That's OK, but I'll need to recalibrate my views on him.

Again, I won't fault Andy if he can get $16m or more from some other team, but that only brings him down in my eyes to "just another athlete". Maybe he was knocked down a few pegs with the PED issue already. Perhaps I am just slow to acknowledge these things.

As a parallel, if Sabathia's heart truly is in California, he should sign there, even if it means leaving money on the table. Everyone --Yanks fans especially-- would respect someone putting money where their mouth is. If CC comes out and says "Guys, the offers were incredibly generous but at the end of the day, I want to be closer to my family and friends in California. I trust you understand", we'd all be disappointed and bummed but in a quieter moment, we'd all respect it.

The same holds with Pettitte. If he wants to be only in NY, forego the additional dollars (you've already earned $108 million over your career) and sign where you want to be. Will the additional $4-6m really mean anything anyways?

Lastly, Pettitte's actual market value is probably higher than $10m, likely $2-3m more than that. If everyone's reasonable (a stretch?), I could see Andy getting the Yanks to bump their offer into the $13m range and Pettitte signing. Hugs and kisses on the podium.


Rick said...

$16 Million for a 36 year old ex steriod user who went 14-14 last year - no way! $10 Million makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on that last point. $10M is "Pavano money", and I can see a Yankee thinking, "Well, I certainly did more than THAT guy" and expecting more (didn't I hear Moose did something like that?). I'd hope he'd listen to reason on $11-12M coming off what was close to a league-average year. And let's hope it's for one year, or one with a team option for two.