Andy Pettitte Retires: Core Four Becomes Final Three For New York Yankees
Added by Gregg Snyder on February 4, 2011.
The “Core Four” of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada are no longer teammates. This veteran group of proven championship players is beginning to split up.
After a 16 year career, Andy Pettitte has decided to retire. The decision, was made official during a press conference today in New York. The left handed starter thought about retiring after last season but felt obligated to return after the Yankees missed out on signing free agent starter Cliff Lee.
After starting workouts, Pettitte realized his heart was just “not where it needs to be” in order to return to the game. The veteran will instead stay home and spend time with his family, something he has always made a priority.
Pettitte is just the first of the Core Four to call it quits. While Jeter and Rivera have new contracts that go beyond 2011, Posada is entering the final year of his current deal. Early indications are that this will be the backstops final year in pinstripes, regardless of whether he retires or not following the season.
The Yankees were holding out hope that Pettitte would return. New York has a big hole in their starting rotation as Spring Training nears. CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and A.J. Burnett will have the three top rotation spots. After that, the window is foggy.
Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Andrew Brackman will likely battle for the final two spots along with newly signed Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. Mark Prior also signed a deal with the Yankees but it’s more likely he would be used out of the bullpen.
There are reports that have linked the Yankees to free agent Kevin Millwood. Will the retirement of Pettitte enhance the Yankees pursuit of Millwood? We will have to wait and see.
For now, the Yankees starting rotation is a big question mark.
Pettitte spent 13 of his 16 years in the Majors with the Yankees. The other three were with his hometown Houston Astros. The lefty may have never been considered the ace of the Yankees pitching staff but he was always one of the most reliable pitchers.
In a big game, Yankees fans always felt comfortable with the ball in Pettitte’s hand. Pettitte has a career record of 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA. He is one of just 26 pitchers to finish their careers 100 games or more over .500.
In 42 career playoff starts, Pettitte compiled a 3.83 ERA. He appeared in eight World Series, winning five rings.
The fan favorite starter ranks second on the Yankees all-time list in strikeouts (1,823) and starts (396). He sits behind Whitey Ford on both lists.
The question for the Yankees is where do they go from here without Pettitte and two rotation spots open? The question for Pettitte is, does he deserve a spot in baseball’s Hall of Fame?