January 6, 2011

Andy Pettitte decision might be delaying the Yankees from signing Rafael Soriano

THIS IS JUST A HUNCH, but I believe Andy Pettitte’s decision is holding up the Yankees from signing Rafael Soriano.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Andrew Marchand wrote a “Memo to Cashman: Go Get Soriano.”

Almost two weeks ago Newsday’s Ken Davidoff wrote (regarding Soriano), “If Andy Pettitte retires, they'll have big money to spend, and they'll be looking at a roster that will need an ultra-deep bullpen to support a thin rotation.” I have two takeaways from this.

1. My hunch is correct.
2. Can an ultra-deep bullpen really support a thin rotation?

Assuming the Yankees’ payroll is currently around $170 million and if Brian Cashman wants to make a big splash at the trade deadline, that leaves them maybe $15 million to spend. Pettitte earned $11.75 million last year and Soriano made $7.25 million. There isn’t room for both, and Pettitte should have priority.

Why? Because a strong rotation is more important than a strong bullpen. TYU’s Matt Imbrogno said, “the worse a rotation is, the less the bullpen matters.” Two big reasons why:

  • You can’t save a game you aren’t leading.
  • Starters pitch three times the number of innings relievers do.

Every day the Yankees wait for Pettitte it hurts them, but if he returns it’ll be well worth the wait.

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