The New York Yankees have a pitching problem. It is not just CC Sabathia's loss of velocity, Phil Hughes' split personality, or Joba Chamberlain. The problem lies with the treatment of Andy Pettitte. Yes, Pettitte has endured himself to Yankee fans and brass by his performance in the regular and post season. This year, however, Pettitte has not been the consistent pitcher Yankee fans have come to expect. In fact, Pettitte has been the picture of inconsistency. In three of his last four starts, Pettitte has given up four or more runs. Yet it seems that Pettitte has solidified his spot as the Yankees number three starter despite his recent struggles, injuries, and age. All these factors dictate that a team would at least skip the pitcher's next start or bump him from the rotation. The Yankees have not taken any of these actions, despite Pettitte harming the team rather than helping. Several questions emerage regarding Pettitte: Why are the Yankees protecting a 41 year old, oft injured pitcher? Have they not learned from the mistakes they made in Jorge Posada's last year? Is nostalgia blinding the Yankees organization to the fact that clearly Pettitte has past his usefulness?
Are there better options than Andy Pettitte that the Yankees could pursue or could have pursued? Yes there are cheaper, younger options that would give the Yankees more production tha. Andy Pettitte this year. Two of the best measures of a pitchers success, WAR and ERA, prove this point:
The Yankees have been linked to trades to a acquire both Nolasco and Gallardo. While both pitchers records are not overly impressive they are both younger than Pettitte. Both, by these measurements, are just as, if not better than Pettitte this year. The biggest miss fire the Yankees had this past offseason was not grabbing Liriano. Yes, Liriano had failed a injury to his non pitching arm and failed a physical, but the Yankees have a history of picking up broken players. Liriano would have been more effective, cheaper, and younger than Pettitte. Can anyone argue that Pettitte is better than Liriano this year?
The Yankees seem to be looking into Pettitte's past success rather than realizing he can not help them anymore. This is the Pettitte Problem. The Yankees, as hard as it is to admit, should be in rebuild mode. Vidal Nuno had pitched solidly for the Yankees in his three starts with the Yankees, 1-1 with a ND. Instead of keeping him up, the Yankees sent him down once Pettitte returned from injury. Once again, nostalgia trumped youth. If the name on the boxscore said a different name than Pettitte would Yankee fans accept this mediocrity? The answer is simply no. But because it is Pettitte, the FO and fans don't want to admit that he has become a liability. That is the problem.