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Tuesday, November 5
Updated: November 6, 7:49 PM ET
 
Club would like Pettitte back, but for less money

ESPN.com news services

The Yankees have a slew of personnel decisions to make this offseason, including whether to pick up left-hander Andy Pettitte's option for next season.

Andy Pettitte
Starting Pitcher
New York Yankees
Profile
2002 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
22 13 5 0 97 3.27

But New York has begun talking to other teams about the possibility of trading Pettitte, the Newark Star-Ledger reported Tuesday, in case it can't negotiate a three-year deal whose average annual value is less than his $11.5 million option.

The Yankees have until Nov. 15 to decide whether to pick up the option, but according to the Star-Ledger, their preference is to negotiate a new deal with Pettitte. If they can't do that, the Yankees probably would try to trade him. For that reason, they have begun trying to gauge other teams' interest.

According to the Star-Ledger, the Philadelphia Phillies, who were on the verge of acquiring Pettitte before the Yankees backed out of a trade-deadline deal in 1999, are a strong possibility if the Yankees decide to deal him.

An unnamed Phillies official confirmed to the newspaper on Monday that the Phillies have an interest in the left-hander, but the Phillies also are looking at free agent Tom Glavine and fellow veteran left-handers Chuck Finley and Jamie Moyer.

"We definitely have interest in Pettitte," the official told the Star-Ledger. "We're trying to improve our rotation with a veteran."

The Yankees' desire to discuss trading Pettitte, a consistent winner in their rotation since 1995, is fueled by several factors.

  • There has been talk that the team is more concerned than ever about the health of Pettitte's elbow. He had a strong second half last season after returning from an elbow injury, but the injury did cost Pettitte two months of the season.

  • According to the Star-Ledger, the Yankees could be shopping Pettitte around to create doubt in his and his agents' minds about his value as they begin to negotiate a new deal with him.

  • New York wants to know what Pettitte's value would be in a trade in case they decide they should deal him to reduce their payroll. There have been indications that team owner George Steinbrenner wants Roger Clemens back in the rotation next season -- and it would be very difficult to bring both Clemens and Pettitte back if their goal is to cut payroll.

    The Yankees also would like to move Jeff Weaver into the rotation next year, and if Orlando Hernandez and David Wells return, they won't have room in the rotation for both Clemens and Pettitte.

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Monday he has not begun negotiating with any of the team's potential free agents and probably wouldn't until after baseball's free-agency period opens and he can assess his outside options. By that time, though, all 29 other teams will be free to negotiate with any player they choose to -- including Clemens.

    "We're just going to be very cautious," Cashman told the Star-Ledger. "I've definitely reached out to clubs to see what they're looking to do, and to let them know what we're looking to do. We're assessing the market, and we'll see."




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