The offer of $10 million for Andy Pettitte is still 'on the table', but a Yankee official says there's only about a 50% chance that he takes it. Otherwise, it will be Phil Hughes in the five spot. I'm anxious to see Hughes over the course of a whole season (knock on wood), but we still need Andy for several reasons -
1. Injuries will happen
A.J. Burnett doesn't exactly have a healthy track record, and Chien Ming-Wang, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are coming off a season in which they all missed time with injuries.
2. Innings limits
Joba and Hughes still have limits on how many innings they can go. Neither can pitch 200 innings next year, so we can only count on Wang, Burnett and Sabathia to pitch full seasons (if they remain healthy). Pettitte has gone at least 200 innings each of the last four years.
3. Pettitte wasn't that bad
2008 was his worst season in terms of ERA+ and W-L record, but going deeper into his stats shows a different story. His K/BB was its best since 2005, as was his FIP ERA. His BABIP was also at its highest since 2001, so luck clearly had a part in his disappointing year. Therefore, we can reasonably expect him to bounce back in 2009, just like Mussina this year.