How did Yanks let it come to this?

The Astros couldn't outbid the Yankees so they played up the local angle with Pettitte, who grew up in Houston.

Updated: December 11, 2003, 8:28 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Andy Pettitte will be an Astro by the time your lunch is finished. Jose de Jesus Ortiz quotes Houston owner Drayton McLane as saying that an official announcement on Pettitte will come at mid-morning. The Astros have never divulged the dollar figure involved in the deal, but it is known that the contract calls for a three-year duration. Ortiz speculates on a $31 million total figure.

This is not to suggest that the deal is done and the parties are merely waiting to announce it. No, the feeling is that the final details will be hammered out in the course of the next several hours. Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker and Pettitte's agents, the Hendricks Brothers, are all optimistic that their hard work on this deal will pay off very soon. "I'd be disappointed if we weren't able to get anything done as far as we've gone," Hunsicker told Ortiz.

Andy Pettitte
Free-agent Andy Pettitte may have pitched his last game for Joe Torre and the Yankees.
All of this is barring a deus ex machina by George Steinbrenner, coming down from the wings dumping basketloads of money on Pettitte's head. Will the reaction in New York be that extreme? It had better be if the Yankees want to keep Pettitte as they have been maintaining all along. But will money be enough to save the day for the Yankees? The Astros have known from the start that New York would be able to outbid them at every turn, so they have played up the local angle with Pettitte, who grew up in Astros country.
Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at