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Yanks Sign Pettitte; Youth Movement Dead At 1

Well, it was fun while it lasted, no?

A year ago, when the Yankees decided to pass on Johan Santana, they went to great lengths to trumpet their dedication to young players, particularly pitchers. They were ready to give rotation spots to Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. They were done throwing money at veteran pitchers.

"We're going to build from within," Brian Cashman told me in this story. " We're going to lower our payroll, get flexible. We haven't been big-game hunters on the free agent market..... People heard what I said, but I don't think they really believed it."

And then Hughes and Kennedy combined for zero wins in 2008. And the Yankees missed the playoffs. And the Steinbrenners got antsy. And the next thing you know, they've signed three veteran pitchers this winter, including Andy Pettitte today.

Must be nice, at a time when other teams say they don't even have a few mil lying around to fill one of their needs, to be able to spend up to $12 million (Pettitte's haul if he hits all his incentives) on a fifth starter. Because that's what Pettitte is slated to be in the Bronx. He will follow CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain (not necessarily in that order) in the rotation.

That open competition for the fifth starter's job between youngsters Hughes, Kennedy, Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves? Much like the Yankees' youth movement itself, it's over. They all lost.

By Dave Sheinin  |  January 26, 2009; 4:05 PM ET
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A dangerous thing might be if they really were to give up on Hughes, they could probably get Teagarden or Salty for him for him, and they have a need.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 26, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Pettitte's signed to a 1 year deal. Aceves is 26, Hughes is 23, Kennedy is 24. They'll get a chance to pitch. And Phil Coke is going to be a reliever. Not like Burnett is going to pitch a full season anyway, he'll probably need some fill in starts.

Posted by: CharlieF | January 26, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Did you seriously think that youth movement was ACTUALLY going to happen?

Posted by: adampschroeder | January 26, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

CharlieF - what do they have behind those four? You hear Brackman's name a bit, but what else? Who do you think they would think about giving up for a Texas catcher? Or are they convinced their guys in Low A (another Montero and Romine, right?) will be able to stay at catcher and develop quick enough to replace Posada?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 26, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

It shall be an absolute joy to watch that team implode and fail this season.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | January 26, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, they really haven't given up, but rather realized they may have rushed them thru the system.

Not all five of their starters will remain healthy, but until then, Hughes and Kennedy can get some more seasoning and confidence in the minors. Good deal for the Yanks.

Posted by: BergmannonMan | January 26, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Ahhhh. Real baseball stuff. Sheinin, I think I took you for granted in the past and I'm sorry. Now that I got a little taste of baseball starvation over on NJ I can really appreciate you and the others over here.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 26, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

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