Andy Pettitte is your new all-time leader in strikeouts for the Yankees.
Pettitte fanned Twins first baseman Justin Morneau in the bottom of the third inning tonight for his 1,958th strikeout with the club, passing Whitey Ford for first in team history. You can watch the strikeout here.
Pettitte entered tonight’s action needing just two strikeouts to pass Ford. The 41-year-old southpaw struck out Clete Thomas swinging in the second inning before fanning Morneau in the third. They were his only two strikeouts for the night, as he allowed four runs on four runs on six hits and four walks over five innings before exiting.
Ford sat atop the strikeout leaderboard with the Yankees for nearly 50 years, as he passed Red Ruffing for the franchise lead on September 9, 1963. The Hall of Famer is still first in franchise history with 236 wins. Pettitte has 213 wins with the Bombers. That record appears pretty safe for the foreseeable future.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.