Thursday, June 4, 2009

On Andy Pettitte's aching back and Chien-Ming Wang being back in the rotation

Last night's game was a frustrating slog right from the beginning. Andy Pettitte looked terrible - he gave up six walks, seven hits, and four runs in five innings. This is the second start in a row where he seemed to be affected by a bad back. What's going on there?

After last night's game,'s Peter Abraham made a reference to Andy Pettitte's incentive-laden contract. According to the Cot's Baseball Contracts site, Pettite's 2009 contract, which gives him a base salary of $5.5 million, has an additional $6.5 million in incentives, broken out this way:
  • $4.5M in performance bonuses: $0.5M each for 150, 160, 170 IP; $0.75M each for 180, 190, 200, 210 IP
  • $2M in roster bonuses: $0.1M for 120 days on active 25-man roster; $0.2M for 130 days; $0.25M each for 140, 150 days; $0.4M each for 160, 170, 180 days
Incentive-based contracts can be good - look at how Carl Pavano miraculously became as healthy as a horse once he had to sign one this year - but they might also encourage players to play through the pain a little too much. I hope that's not what's happening here with Pettitte.

In addition to Pettitte's pitching, the rest of the game also had frustrating moments, particularly the lack of timely hitting. While Alex Rodriguez did get an RBI single earlier in the game, he also had some big failures with runners in scoring position last night. And boy, did the Yankee Stadium crowd let him hear it. Not good - I wish fans would stop booing their own players. It's a fact of life, though, for A-Rod.

Speaking of which, I hope the Yankee Stadium crowd is supportive, not derisive, when Chien-Ming Wang pitches again this afternoon. I think the Yanks are making the right move in having him start again, and moving Phil Hughes to the bullpen.

And no, I'm not going to pull a Mike Francesa and say that Joba Chamberlain should go to the pen. I heard Brian Cashman on Michael Kay's show talk about how that Joba is still doing that simulated first inning in the bullpen before each start. Given that, it makes even less sense to put him in the pen.

* * *

In other news, I was excited about the tantalizing possibility of Tom Glavine becoming a Met again, now that he's been released from the Braves. Omar, do the right thing and sign Glavine!

Here's why I'm so hot to get Glavine as a Met. Squawker Jon is a lot more mild-mannered than I am - shocking, I know! - but Tom Glavine seems to really get under skin. The angriest Squawker post Jon has ever done was after Glavine's horrendous first inning in the last game of 2007. Squawker Jon didn't exactly care for Tom saying how he wasn't devastated after that loss, or how he tried to justify that statement the following spring.

So yeah, I'd love to see Glavine as a Met again. Would be thrilled to see Jon and all the other denizens of Mets Nation having to cheer for him. What fun!

Is something wrong with Andy Pettitte? What do you think of Chien-Ming Wang going back into the Yankee rotation? Tell us what you think!

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