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Old 11 Dec 2003, 10:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pettitte heading home

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte will pitch at home, agreeing Thursday to a three-year contract with the Houston Astros after playing his entire major league career for the New York Yankees.

New York immediately went to its backup plan, closing in on a trade with Los Angeles that would send Kevin Brown to the Yankees for Jeff Weaver, a baseball official said on the condition of anonymity.


Pettitte made his decision after weighing a new offer from the Yankees on Wednesday night, another baseball source said, also on the condition of anonymity.


The Yankees offered the left-handed starter $39 million for three years, about $3 million more annually than Houston. But the Astros play near Pettitte's hometown of Deer Park, Texas, apparently an important factor.


Houston planned to announce the deal at a news conference Thursday. Pettitte's decision to sign with Houston was first reported by Newsday on its Web site.


Pettitte, 31, went 149-78 with the Yankees in nine full seasons. If he had stayed in New York, he would have had the chance to surpass Whitey Ford's 236 victories and become the winningest left-hander in team history.


He went 21-8 with a 4.02 ERA last season.


With the Astros, he joins a team trying to rebuild and win at the same time. Houston dealt closer Billy Wagner to Philadelphia last month in a cost-cutting move. Pettitte will combine with Wade Miller and Roy Oswalt to form a powerful front three in the rotation.


While Houston has had many strong teams since joining the National League for the 1962 season, the Astros have never made it to the World Series.


Pettitte owns four World Series rings from his time with the Yankees.


Without Pettitte, the Yankees are left with a rotation that includes Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez, acquired from Montreal last week. Candidates for the back end of the rotation include Jon Leiber -- who missed all of last season -- and David Wells, who has had back problems and is close to agreement on a minor league contract.


Brown, who turns 39 in March, signed baseball's first $100 million contract with the Dodgers, a deal that has two seasons remaining at $15 million annually.


He was 14-9 with a 2.39 ERA last year for Los Angeles, but has pushed for a trade to a team closer to his home in Macon, Ga.


Injuries limited him to 19 starts in 2001 and 10 in 2002, but he rebounded to make 32 starts last season, when he had the second-lowest ERA in the NL behind Jason Schmidt.


Weaver, 27, has struggled since the Yankees acquired him from Detroit in July 2002, failing to keep his spot in the rotation. He was 7-9 with a 5.99 ERA last season, and allowed the 12th-inning homer to Florida's Alex Gonzalez that won the pivotal fourth game of the World Series.

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New York has to scramble now. They really need this Brown trade to go through. But if I were the Dodgers, I would want something else besides Weaver. Even if Brown is old, he can get it done unlike Weaver. I'm really suprised though that New York didn't offer Pettitte a bigger contract. Well now were just going have to sit back and see what they do to rebuild their bullben.
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Old 11 Dec 2003, 10:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This was all about respect. Pettite never really felt appreciated by Steinbrenner. Pettite remembered all the times George wanted to trade him when he got off to a bad start or hit a slump and Torre would step in and talk Steinbrenner into keeping Andy in pinstripes. It's mindblowing how the Yanks let it even happen and let alone let it get this far to the point that he is now an Astro. They should have made Pettite their top priority this off season instead of worrying about the Schillings, Sheffields, Colons, and Browns.
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Old 11 Dec 2003, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well this sure as hell put a damper on my morning. I was hoping that atlanta took him since they were in the running, though i'm glad he's in the n.l. at least as he's one of my favorite pitchers to watch.
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Old 11 Dec 2003, 09:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well it wasn't that big a deal after all as the Yanks signed Kevin Brown and Miguel Cairo.
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Old 12 Dec 2003, 12:46 AM   #5 (permalink)
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so let me get the Yanks thinking straight now. Let's totally ignore our best pitcher over the last 6 years and let him walk away. Than let's go and trade for an oft injured pitcher who is gonna turn 39 before the season starts. Makes sense to me. Let a lefty in his prime leave and replace him with an aging oft-injured righty.
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Old 12 Dec 2003, 12:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah but they can still option out for kevin millwood, greg maddux and others. Granted their losing one pitcher, but then again Andy wanted him and his family to return home so you can't blame him for that, though he won't win another world series ring.
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Old 12 Dec 2003, 12:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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you know it wouldn't shock me if King George did go and get Millwood also. Although I don't know if Millwood could handle pitching in NYC. As for Maddux someone is gonna overpay for him but it won't be the Yanks. They don't really like working a deal with Boras and also Maddux shunned them years ago. Maddux I could see in either San Diego or San Francisco. Millwood could go back to Philly or return to Atlanta.
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Old 12 Dec 2003, 01:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah it's almost a lock that Maddux will end up in San Diego or San Fran. but either way the Yankees are going to and will find a replacement for Andy, I mean that's just a given. Take in the fact that Karsay will be back and healthy as will the rest of the rotation and from top to bottem and sheff. if they still get him, the Yankees are losing one player to gain a lot more.
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