Not surprisingly, as we kick off the work week, Andy Pettitte headlines New York baseball talk.
You can see in the story that Pettitte told the Yankees, before he left for a Hawaiian vacation, that he would give the club a final answer shortly after the new year. Since it's shortly after the new year...the Yankees await.
Although Brian Cashman told Brian Costello of The New York Post that he doesn't expect to hear this week from Pettitte, so this could continue to drag.
Regardless of Pettitte's timeline, I don't think that Pettitte is handcuffing the Yankees in any significant way. The only other eight-figured player who would even make sense for the Yankees is Rafael Soriano, and right now, he still seems like a longshot for the Yankees. Even if the Yankees relented, however, they could probably find a way to make both Pettitte and Soriano fit on their payroll.
Will Pettitte come back? I'm saying yes until he personally announces his retirement. To go over what we've discussed here before:
1) His family has signed off on another year.
2) He told one friend that he would come back if the Yankees signed Cliff Lee, and would retire if Lee went elsewhere.
Number one is very important. Is number two? If he was feeling enough energy to come back with a Lee signing, would he be content simply retiring now?
We might find out very shortly.
UPDATE, 7:27 p.m.: I spoke with Cashman, and he indeed said that he isn't expecting a call from Pettitte this week. The Yankees continue to operate as though Pettitte will retire.
--Ed Price of AOL FanHouse wrote an interesting column on why he won't disclose his Hall of Fame vote this year. It's because of the illegal PED stuff.
Price, with whom I'm friendly enough that we're currently working together on BBWAA matters, writes, "This isn't a court of law. Innocent until proven guilty does not apply."
I used to feel exactly the same way. In fact, I referenced that here. But the more I thought about the haphazard way in which we learned about players from the pre-testing era, the less I could identify with such logic.
I say, why not apply the "court of law" standards to Hall of Fame morality issues? Otherwise, there doesn't appear to be an equal application of justice across the spectrum.
No, we're not deciding on people's freedoms. But the Hall of Fame is taken extremely seriously by people both inside and outside the baseball industry. That's why I've grown most comfortable with a consistent line of thinking.
--Another friend, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, writes about Jack Morris, and argues for his inclusion in the Hall. He also wonders why there is such a negative reaction to Morris' candidacy.
I think it's largely tied into Morris' being alongside Bert Blyleven on the ballot, and the fact that some folks vote for Morris but not Blyleven. However, I do think you can make the case that, even if you heavily weigh Morris' legendary 1991 World Series Game 7, Morris simply is nowhere close to Cooperstown consideration.
His ERA+, which measures him against his contemporaries, is a pedestrian 105, meaning that, for the entirety of his career, he was five percent better than the average American League pitcher.
In accordance with that, his WAR is 39.9, putting him in the company of pitchers like Al Leiter and Harry Brecheen (and, to be fair, Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean. But two wrongs don't make a right).
In any case, as both Price and Kepner point out, disagreement and debate make the world go 'round. I always enjoy a good discussion.
--Some bookkeeping issues:
1) The BBWAA New York chapter's annual dinner is Saturday, January 22 at the New York Hilton in midtown. Among those scheduled to attend are Bud Black, Robinson Cano, Bobby Cox, R.A. Dickey, Neftali Feliz, Ron Gardenhire, Roy Halladay, Josh Hamilton, Felix Hernandez, Phil Hughes, Lou Piniella, Joe Torre and Joey Votto. We're also honoring two people who died in the past year, George Steinbrenner and Bill Shannon.
Those interested in attending should contact Phil Pepe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-871-5924.
2) SABR is having a "summit" at Foley's in midtown Manhattan on Saturday, January 29, and I'll be among those speaking. All of the relevant information is here.
In a book-giving-away issue, meanwhile, we'll have a contest here tomorrow.
--Have a great night.