The Yankees have some concerns about Michael Pineda in the early going, and Freddy Garcia is presently injured. Enter Andy Pettitte, who's signed a(n expensive) minor-league contract after working out all secret-like:
After Pettitte threw some bullpen sessions in secret earlier this spring, as he was kicking around the idea of coming back.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) March 16, 2012
The big question now is, at nearly 40 years old, could Andy Pettitte be any good for the Yankees, or is this a bigger deal in words than it'll be on the field?
Obviously, we can't say anything for sure. Pettitte is getting up there in years, and he hasn't pitched in a meaningful game since October 2, 2010. He retired for a full season, and he's going to take a while to work himself back into shape.
But once he's back into shape ... in Pettitte's most recent season, he started 21 games and posted a 3.28 ERA and a 3.85 FIP. He posted a lower FIP in 2010 than guys like Edwin Jackson and Ricky Nolasco. In Pettitte's most recent three seasons, he posted a 4.09 ERA and an FIP in the high 3s. His fastball didn't lose any bite. None of his pitches lost any bite. Andy Pettitte just kept on being Andy Pettitte.
So there's clearly reason for hope. It's been a long time since Andy Pettitte last pitched, but when he last pitched, he was effective in an American League starting rotation. When Pettitte's body and arm are where he wants them to be, the Yankees might be faced with the kind of problem that every team executive wants to face: they might have too many quality pitchers.
We'll worry about the over-staffing if and when the Yankees are over-staffed. For now, Pettitte's back, and he could be all right.