This is probably the fastest Pettitte has come to a decision on returning in four or five years. Last year the Yankees offered him $10 million to come out of retirement, but he turned it down unsure if he was physically able to come back. He spent the offseason working out and eventually agreed to a $2.5 million deal after the Yankees had signed Hiroki Kuroda.
He was successful last year, pitching to a 2.87 ERA with a 8.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, and made up his mind before the Yankees spent their entire budget so he got himself a nice raise this year. Pettitte did spend almost three months on the disabled list last season because of a broken ankle, but that was seen as a freak accident is in now way a sign that his body is breaking down.
With Pettitte back in the mix, the Yankees now have their rotation locked down. CC Sabathia will be up front as usual, Kuroda, Pettitte, and Phil Hughes behind him with Ivan Nova and David Phelps left to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Yankees won’t continue to pursue low cost options for the back end of their rotation. One rumor suggested that they will try to “bottom feed” for depth by pursuing aging players and players coming off injuries. Adam Warren will also be in the mix to get starts in the major leagues although he may be next in line to serve the Phelps/Hector Noesi role as long man in the pen.
With the starting rotation set, the Yankees will likely try to re-sign Mariano Rivera next and then turn their attention toward Russell Martin or replacing him. After that they’ll probably try to fill the right field vacancy with Nick Swisher departing.