Pettitte hesitates, may be lost

December 26, 2008|By Newsday

The New York Yankees have no regrets about their December spending spree, a source said Wednesday, but their offseason pickups might be done, perhaps leaving no room for Andy Pettitte.

The Yankees are comfortable with their outlay of $423.5 million for Mark Teixeira (Mount St. Joseph), CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, the source said, for several reasons. They believe they got the best players on the market and ones that filled true needs. They had massive payroll coming off the books in the form of Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, former Oriole Mike Mussina, Pettitte and Carl Pavano, and even after the three big additions, their 2009 payroll should be slightly below that of 2008.

Still, even the Yankees have limits. As of Wednesday, a final decision had not been made on whether the one-year, $10 million contract offer to Pettitte still was on the table. A source said the Yankees at that point were inclined to stick with their team as is.

Pettitte has had that contract offer - $6 million less than the pitcher made in 2008 - from the Yankees since early November.

As for Teixeira, an official involved in negotiations gave a rundown of the back-and-forth between the Yankees and Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras. The Yankees made a substantially lower offer to Teixeira before the winter meetings, an offer that quickly was pulled once Boras informed the Yankees how much he was seeking. The Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Angels bid on Teixeira in the next few weeks, with the Yankees not making another contract offer until late Monday.

Even Tuesday, hours before Teixeira agreed to terms, the Yankees were pessimistic about getting the 28-year-old slugger, the source said. Boras told the Yankees they needed a 10-year deal, with the last two years as player options. That got an absolute no from the Yankees, who had offered eight years and $180 million ($22.5 million per year).

Around midday Tuesday, Boras said Teixeira would agree to an eight-year contract, but only if the average annual value was $24 million per year. The Yankees conferred, then told Boras no, that they had made a fair yet firm offer and would stand pat, the source said. Boras responded by saying that Teixeira likely would join the Red Sox.

The Yankees refused to budge from their offer, and 20 minutes later, Boras called back and said Teixeira would take their eight-year, $180 million offer.

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