UPDATE: Pettitte has now made it official, issuing a statement saying: “I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now while I’m still wearing this uniform how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.”
Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that he’s “getting a lot of buzz” that Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement later today.
Pettitte previously retired after the 2010 season, sitting out 2011 before re-signing with the Yankees last year. He pitched very well in 2012 and has been a solid mid-rotation starter this season, throwing 169 innings with a 3.93 ERA and 117/45 K/BB ratio. He’s been particularly good of late with a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings since mid-August, so performance-wise Pettitte is certainly still very capable of being an asset at age 41.
If this is it for Pettitte he’s lined up to make his final two starts in New York this weekend and in Houston next weekend. Those are the only two teams he’s ever played for and Pettitte lives in Texas, so that’s a helluva way to go out.
UPDATE: Sherman has confirmation that Pettitte is indeed calling it quits and says the left-hander “has told friends this season has been very hard on his body physically, much tougher than he had anticipated.” And in a nice bit of timing, his final Yankee Stadium start Sunday is on “Mariano Rivera Day.”
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.