The Yankees won't have to wait around until March to find out if Andy Pettitte will be back for a 15th season in pinstripes.
The team and the pitcher agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract on Wednesday.
Pettitte's 2012 season started a little late and got interrupted when he broke a bone in his leg thanks to a batted ball, but he posted a 5-4 record and a 2.87 ERA in his return to baseball after spending 2011 away from the game. Pettitte will be 41 in June, so there's obviously some concern about how well he'll hold up over a full season although it's fairly minor given how well he pitched last year.
With Pettitte following Hiroki Kuroda back into the fold, the Yankees will return the same rotation that they rode to the division title last season. It looks like that won't be the last bit of carryover between the seasons.
Mariano Rivera is reportedly close to reaching his deal to return, Ichiro Suzuki doesn't sound too far behind and the team may then move on to talking about a deal for Russell Martin. Rivera's return was expected, Suzuki's could've been anticipated and the Martin move makes sense at the right price for a team that's not looking to make a big splash for someone who will be on the roster beyond this season.
That's the lurking motive behind all of these deals, of course. The Yankees want to drop their payroll below the luxury tax line in 2014 and that means sticking with one-year deals anywhere they can.
There's nothing in particular to complain about when the deals are for players like Pettitte and Rivera who are vital to the team's chances, but it doesn't do much to avoid the old, tired look the team wore to their demise against the Tigers. It also doesn't do much of anything to correct the need for the team to replace the production they lost when Nick Swisher moved on down the road.
Filling that need might not be quite as easy as calling back some old friends for another spin, although its nice to know that those old friends will be around while you're looking for some new ones.