Jack Curry wrote on the Bats blog at the New York Times that Andy Pettitte’s agents, the Hendricks Brothers are working on getting a contract that does not give Pettitte less than what he earned last year — $16 million.

Let’s consider the facts here:

  1. Pettitte first opted out of his team option last winter. That was for $16 million. The Yankees respected that.
  2. Pettitte was named in the Mitchell Report, and unlike his buddy, he admitted use. The Yankees stood by him. In fact, Mo and Jeter and Posada went to his press conference.
  3. Oh, he also did not tell the team he would be named in the Mitchell Report. Stupid.
  4. Pettitte was average during the first half of the season. Pretty decent enough to be the #3 starter on the team.
  5. Pettitte went into a prolonged slump that continued the entire season. With only one bright start on the final game in the Cathedral, Pettitte was simply awful.
  6. $16 million for a pitcher that did not perform  up to expectations last year is a bit ridiculous.

So, Curry has this to say, quoting Pettitte:

“I mean, to tell you the truth, like I’ve told you all a hundred times, I’ve made it loud and clear where I’d like to play at,” Pettitte, 36, said in a telephone interview. “I’m just basically sitting here letting my agents do their job really.”

What Randy and Alan Hendricks, Pettitte’s agents, are trying to do is to make sure their client avoids a pay cut. Pettitte made $16 million last season, one of the highest salaries in the major leagues for a pitcher, and his agents have stressed that he wants the same salary. The Yankees have offered Pettitte $10 million, and they seemingly have no immediate plans to improve their offer.

“We’d like to have him back,” General Manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday. “It’s come to the arena of trying to achieve common ground on money, which is easier said than done.”

When Mike Mussina’s contract was up in 2006, the Yankees did not pick up the 2007 option for $17 million, but signed him to a new, lower cost 2-year contract for $23 million.

Pettitte should follow that path and get a 2 year contract with a base salary of $12 million, loaded with incentives that could bump up his annual salary to $16 million or more. And Pettitte would be wise to accept it.