When last we heard from Andy Pettitte, he was licking his wounds after the Yankees refused to offer him anything more than $10 million to pitch for them in 2009. He set too high a price on his value to a team with other options, and acted like George Costanza when NBC offered him less than Ted Danson to make the pilot episode of "Jerry."
Now, like former assistant to the travelling secretary Costanza, Pettitte has come back for significantly less money. According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Pettitte are close to a deal that will pay him around $6 million in base salary. That's some spectacular negotiating. Someone get this man to the Gaza Strip, stat!
We kid, we kid. There are incentives that can add as much as $6 million to Pettitte's final payout. Depending on how hard those incentives are to reach, they're said to be based on innings pitched and time on the active roster, this deal could obviously turn out to be more lucrative for Pettitte than the inital $10 million offer. It's still a $10 million pay cut in guaranteed money from his 2008 salary, however, and a clear win for the Yankees.
If Pettitte flops the way he did in the second half of 2008, they've got coverage with Phil Hughes and it won't wind up costing them a hefty sum. If Pettitte rebounds with a strong season, they'll still have cut money from the payroll and showed that they can exercise a little bit of fiscal restraint when it's called for. And they'll plug Pettitte into the back of a rotation that's significantly better than the one that carried them to third place last season.
UPDATE: The deal is done. Pettitte and Yankee general manager Brian Cashman held a conference call on Monday afternoon to announce the particulars. It is a $5.5 million base salary with a ceiling of $12 million based on incentives.