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October 27, 2006

NY Post: Pettitte might be an option
by SG

From Joel Sherman:

Boras represents Barry Zito, and the strong early indications are that neither New York club is planning to pursue the southpaw star, largely because of financial demands that almost certainly will climb well beyond even five years at $70 million. But that does not mean a playoff-proven and - just as vital - New York-proven pitcher might not be available at significantly less money by the name of Andy Pettitte.

Agent Alan Hendricks told The Post's George King yesterday that no firm plans had been made by either Pettitte or Roger Clemens whether to play in 2007 or whether they want to stay home in Houston if they do return. ...

This segues nicely into what I wanted to write about next, which are the starting pitcher options that are available on the market this offseason. Similar to what I did when trying to project Daisuke Matsuzaka, I did a weighted average for 2003-2005 for the candidates that I think the Yankees may have interest in. I then adjusted their statistics based on whether they'd be pitching in the NL or AL based on the weighted differences between the leagues over that same time frame, which are this:

The site has a comprehensive list of all the potential free agents. I picked out the ones who I thought might make at least a little sense for the Yankees to consider, and here they are. Again, the numbers below are a 3 year weighted average of 2003-2005, then adjusted for AL vs. NL.

Not a very inspiring list. I'd imagine Roger Clemens's projection is way too optimistic, but even if you add another run to his ERA he's probably the best option. The problem is, he's also the least likely option. He's also going to be 44, and while he works out like a madman, there's no way to know how long he can keep going.

Getting back to Sherman's point though, it's interesting to see that there's not much difference projected between Pettitte and Zito, although there's a pretty significant age difference, and a bigger risk of injury with Pettitte. This may be balanced somewhat by the fact that you can sign Pettitte for a shorter deal and less per year.

I liked Jason Schmidt more than Zito for similar reasons (shorter committment) as well as better stuff, although he has lost a few MPH of his fastball the last two years. I'd probably put him behind the Zito/Pettitte duo right now though.

Ted Lilly was interesting to me at one point because I thought he could be had relatively cheaply (say 2 years, $10 million) but that doesn't look like the case now. He's probably about a league average starter, but he has a delivery that seems to prevent him from staying healthy.

Kerry Wood wouldn't be anything more than a flier at this point. I don't even know when he can pitch again, or how good he will be if he does. Tony Armas and Gil Meche both project to be below average rotation filler, although they have the talent to be somewhat better than that.

That list stinks. As you can see, Matsuzaka probably projects better than anyone on the list except Clemens. If I were the Yankees, I would try to avoid committing to any pitchers on the market long-term, especially with the contracts they already have locked up.

Oh yeah, one more option.

Update: Mark Mulder by request from George.