Andy Pettitte’s Decision Will Shape Yankees Offseason Plans

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November 6, 2009

The Yankees are already looking forward to defending their World Series title in 2010.

“The quest for No. 28 begins,” Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement following the Bronx Bombers’ 27th world championship.

That means it’s back to work for general manager Brian Cashman, with three key decisions looming for the Yankees as the offseason gets under way. One of them involves the pitcher who brought glory back to the Bronx.

Andy Pettitte didn’t have much in the tank when he took the mound in Game 6 of the World Series on three days’ rest, but he gutted his way through 5 2/3 innings to earn a record 18th career victory in the postseason. The 37-year-old southpaw went 4-0 in this year’s playoffs, and was the pitcher of record in all of the Yankees’ series-clinching wins. 

But Pettitte has been pondering retirement for several years now, and hanging up his cleats on the heels of his fifth world championship is certainly an attractive way to go out. There is no doubt that Andy can still contribute — he notched 14 wins and logged a solid 4.16 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 32 regular-season starts. The question is whether he wants to don pinstripes for at least another year.

“I need to get home and talk to my family,” Pettitte told the New York Post. “I’ll need to talk to the Yankees and find out where they’re at, and then I’ll try to figure out what I’d like to do.”

If Pettitte decides to call it a career, the Yankees have no shortage of internal options to supplant him in the rotation. Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are the top possibilities, but New York could also turn to Ian Kennedy or Chad Gaudin, and perhaps Chien-Ming Wang, if the Taiwanese righty recovers from his foot woes. 

Cashman may also have an eye on several free-agent starters, most notably right-handers John Lackey and Rich Harden

Despite winning 103 games during the regular season, there are areas in which the Yankees can improve. With Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui likely coming off the books, Cashman should have the financial flexibility to assemble an even more imposing roster as the Bombers look to go back-to-back for the first time in the 21st century.

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