On the eve of Roger Clemens going to testify against his best buddy and steroids confidante Andy Pettite, I have to say that I have NEVER felt like Pettite was worth anything as a pitcher - especially with Hall of Fame consideration. I can remember knowing that he was coming into game 6 in the 2001 World Series, and I knew he was done for. Within 3 innings, the D-Backs were up 12-0 and were headed for that magical game 7.
I can remember hearing rumors of trading Pettite to the Cardinals a decade ago. I was so glad that he never came. First and foremost, he was a Yankee, but at best, he was a mirage propped up by the Bronx in much the same way the A's pitchers were propped up in Oakland and the Braves pitchers were propped up in their years in Atlanta.
He was never the reliable go to guy except in the years that the Yankees had nothing else to give. When he went to Houston, he was good, but he wasn't great. When it counted, they couldn't beat the White Sox, but I can't say as I remember much of that World Series since I refused to watch the battle of the Little Yankees (Clemens and Pettite vs. Contreras and El Dookie) with AJ Pierzynski thrown in for extra loathing. Sure, it was nice that the whole Black Sox thing was over and that Ozzie Guillen won one, but other than to make people understand how Shoeless Joe Jackson got screwed over, there wasn't anything to be said for that World Series other than I'm glad Pettite and Clemens steroid confusion duo didn't get rings.
Sure, he was good for a lot of innings most years, but because a person stays healthy and has an offensive juggernaut behind them and a solid bullpen after them doesn't mean that all wins are created equally. Need proof? Nolan Ryan in 1981 went 11-5 with a 1.69 ERA. How can that ERA not win every game? In his time with the Angels, he had losing seasons with an ERA just over 3.00. In 1973, 1974, and 1977, he was top 3 in Cy Young Award voting and had 16 losses in EACH season. With a winning team, he wins 30 times in each year.
But alas, we see Andy Pettite has 240 wins and we think this guy could be heading for the Hall of Fame. To that, I say, "Hooey!"
Since the Yankees are as desperate for pitching, they are positively desperate and scared stiff to bring Pettite back or find themselves going back to the late 80s and early 90s. To scare the YES Network all the more, he still can't make up his mind, and in some ways, we hope he does come back just so he can be there to get knocked around in his old age once again and come out of it without a ring.
Sure, there were those magic moments when Andy Pettite admitted his guilt in the whole Mitchell List thing, but there was something that just summed up all of his wins and that extra oomph that his average self gave. It wasn't aura and mystique.
But if a $12million from the Yankees waiting on a table believes it is, so be it. Let them believe. The division is no longer theirs. The Red Sox can say all of the right things, but the reality is that now more than ever, the ancient and aging Yankees don't have one more hurrah left in them. It's over. They're done like fried chicken.
Look at the Yankees... Chamberlain was all hype. Posada is geriatric. Burnett is over-priced and erratic. Phil Hughes is definitely not playoff ready. A-Rod is in decline. This leaves them with CC's enormous waistline... I mean price tag for an above average pitcher. The same can be said for Teixara's bat. Jeter is at the end of his run. Robinson Cano is positively dangerous. Mariano Rivera can't be counted out until he counts himself out, and well, the rest are average.
Can they compete against the Red Sox? Don't think so.
Can they compete against a young Rays team that has pride and direction and a lot of hope? We'll see on that end, but...
If the Yankees want to take their chances on the hope of Andy Pettite, just let them. It's time to see the Yankees in the cellar again, which will be BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL.