Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Yankees Re-Sign Andy Pettitte

(One more year of the stare)

After an acceleration to the re-signing process earlier this week, and multiple reports that a new deal was imminent yesterday, the Yankees officially re-signed Andy Pettitte this afternoon, completing part 2 of their offseason checklist.

According to multiple reporters, the deal is of the 1-year variety and will be for $12 million next season, with another $2.5 mil available in awards bonuses.  It's a hefty raise from the non-guaranteed $2.5 million Andy signed for when he came back this past season, but after the way he pitched a big hike in salary was to be expected.

With this move, the Yankees now have a rotation set for 2013- CC, Kuroda, Andy, Hughes, Nova- with a couple other arms outside that top 5 as insurance and the always-lingering possibility of them signing a cheap veteran arm here or there.  Andy coming back does give Cash the flexibility to include Hughes or Nova in a trade package if he pursues that route to fill the right field void, but even if nothing else happens with the rotation this offseason, the Yankees can go into Opening Day confident that their rotation is set.

**UPDATE- 3:29PM- Eli Whiteside has been DFA'd to clear a 40-man roster spot for Andy.  So that's why they signed Whitesite to a split-contract.  Smart move. **

Who Wants To Get Non-Tenderized?

See what I did there?  That's wordplay.  It's not all fun and games and re-signing 40-something pitchers and finding a right fielder this offseason.  The Yankees do have some other things on their plate that they'll have to address, one of them coming up very soon.  The non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players is this Friday at midnight, and the Yankees have a group of 6 eligible players left waiting to learn their fate (David Herndon and Eli Whiteside both signed small deals already).

None of these guys have really gotten much ink in the hot stove press so far this offseason, at least not on this blog, and there's a pretty simple reason for that.  Nobody expects that the collection of Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, or Boone Logan are going to be non-tendered.  They'll all get new contracts for 2013 through arbitration and return as part of the 25-man roster next season, although there has been some talk of trading Logan coming off a heavy workload around the blogopshere and that's an idea I would entertain.

The one guy who's up in the air is Jayson Nix, do-all utility infielder and part-time emergency outfielder who notched a hair over 200 PA in pinstripes this season as an injury fill-in.  Nix proved valuable as a defensive upgrade at shortstop over Eduardo Nunez, and he's not a complete waste of space with the bat, but a .304 wOBA and 88 wRC+ with a low BB rate doesn't exactly scream to have an offer made to it.  That being said, the Yankees are light on useful infield pieces right now and are going to need extra help to cover for the advancing age and injury comebacks on the left side.

Nix is projected to make less than $1 million, chump change for the Yankees, but that would still be more money than they're paying Nunez right now.  And with the team doing everything in its power to pinch pennies in preparation for the 2014 payroll cap, they could decide that a little bit extra saved is more beneficial than having Nix around.  There's no guarantee the Yankees can find a suitable replacement, either internally that's as solid defensively as Nix or externally that's cheaper, so it will be worth paying attention to what happens with him come Friday at midnight.

2012 Statistical Trends: Robinson Cano's Hitting Against LHP

(Looks like a GB out reaction to me.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

In hopes that this will become a running series for the rest of the offseason, I want to take a look at some of the big statistical surprises from the season that was.  There was a large handful of significant statistical shifts this season, some good and some bad, and I want to try to figure out what caused them, what they mean, and what to expect moving forward.  For the first installment, I want to investigate Robinson Cano's awful year against left-handed pitching.  It's almost crazy to think of a hitter of Cano's caliber as a platoon bat, but that's just what he was this year.

Cano finished the 2012 season with a career .290/.338/.453 line against LHP (.344 wOBA), and that's after the down year he had this season.  Entering 2012, Cano was coming off a season in which he hit .314/.354/.525 against lefties, a result we've become accustomed to seeing from Robbie and the type of L-on-L production that makes him one of the best all-around hitters in the game.  In 2012 something changed, and Robbie struggled mightily against lefties to the tune of .239/.309/.337 (.290 wOBA) in 269 plate appearances.  He still drew a fair amount of walks, for him at least, against southpaws.  But the drop in batting average and power was significant, and something that could potentially raise a red flag given Robbie's pending free agency.