Originally written on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 4/5/12

Money, money, and more money: the typical offseason that New York Yankee fans are accustomed to. The Yankees shop for high profile free agents like the Kardashian sisters shop for men. From CC Sabathia to Carl Pavano to Russell Martin, Yankee free agent signings are boom or bust. They produce World Series MVPs or major disappointments. If the Bronx Bombers can’t beat you in October, they will sure as hell outspend anyone in free agency if they smell a championship on the line. So why did the hopes for another Yankees World Series win become even more optimistic with the return of on an almost 40 year old pitcher whom no one expected to ever see pitch again? The answer… pitching depth.

The Achillies heel of the Yankee playoff teams in the recent history is the inconsistency of their pitching staff. The Yankees have grown accustomed to losing games in the late innings because their bullpen isn’t able to hold a lead long enough for The Sandman himself to close it out. You’re probably wondering why the return of Andy Pettite has anything to do with this problem. What does this washed up pitcher who’s been out of the league possibly have anything to offer to a pitching staff that seems to be loaded. Well if the 240 career wins and 19 postseason wins don’t scream out at you, the fact that he’s a lefty should! It is very unlikely that Joe Girardi will throw Pettite into a postseason starting rotation. Girardi has shown that he loves to go with a 4 man rotation in October, so I look for this year to be no different. CC Sabathia, Hideki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda sound like a pretty solid rotation when it comes playoff time, assuming they all stay healthy. A lot of preseason buzz has the Tigers looking to take the AL pennant, so let’s assume they are the Yankees biggest competition. Who better to face the left-handed power of Prince Fielder than Andy Pettite? Without even being out of retirement for a month Pettite took the mound in relief during a spring training game against the Mets; throwing a scoreless inning while only allowing 1 hit. Not bad for an old man who hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since the 2010 playoffs.

Starting his return in the minor leagues will give Pettite plenty of time to work out the kinks and the rust that have developed during his “retirement.” One thing is for sure though, when the postseason rolls around, the Yankee fans will love having Andy Pettite on their roster. Pettite will make a difference to the Yankees whether he is going to be used as a lefty-specialist, a long reliever, or whether he has what it takes to make the starting rotation. Plus, who doesn’t love seeing a legend come back because he has plenty of gas left in the tank?

With Brett Favre coming out of retirement, twice, and Jamie Moyer succeeding thus far in Colorado we are clearly seeing that age is just a number in professional sports. Drive and determination have kept these guys younger than their age would indicate and the same will be true for Andy Pettite. A postseason bullpen that would already include Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Dave Robertson, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia just added a World Series champion and possible Hall of Famer to the arsenal. And who knows, maybe Pettite will pull the ultimate surprise and make it into the Yankee starting rotation before the year is up. That’s just another beauty of baseball, so many possibilities and the X-factor players that always step up just at just the right time. Regardless of Pettite’s role, the Yankees are poised for a long postseason run and they just added another asset to help them along that road.

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