andy pettitte

Eulogy for Barry Zito…and Something About a Squirrel

BarryZitoCard AndyPettitteCard

Way back in 2001, I was managing some girl’s fantasy baseball team for her, and I traded away Andy Pettitte for Barry Zito and Derek Lowe. At this point in time, Pettitte was already a well established name, with four World Series titles under his belt already, while Zito was a relative unknown in his first full season. I was taking a bit of a risk, but my talent assessment was spot on, as Zito would win 17 games that year and the Cy Young the next year, while Pettitte was highly overrated because of his media exposure. I won that trade. But the greatest artists are never truly appreciated in their time, and that girl “fired” me from managing her team after trading away the only player on her team that she actually knew.

Now it’s 2013, and with the retirement of Pettitte and the expiration of Zito’s horrible 7 year/$126 million contract, it’s time to take a second look back at that trade. Now, my fantasy league was not a keeper league and I know that fantasy baseball is not real life (my girlfriend keeps reminding me that as well), but considering how good that Pettitte-for-Zito deal looked two years after the fact, one would have expected that the deal would only continue to look better and better as the years went by, since Zito was much younger. Well, that hasn’t been the case, as Pettitte has generally been a decent middle of the rotation pitcher (in both fantasy and real life) when he hasn’t been injured or retired, while Zito has been a humongous piece of shit, pretty much the worst player in baseball over the last seven years. I can’t fucking believe that the Giants have won two World Series with this guy on the roster; it just makes me want to vomit on a squirrel. So maybe that 2001 trade wasn’t such the triumph of “talent evaluation” that I thought it was…

This is all just a roundabout way of getting to the point, which is saying that I can’t believe that Zito’s 7-year monstrosity of a contract is finally over. SEVEN YEARS.  These seasons are just flying by, and yet another one has come to an end. But we made it. We outlasted this terrible contract, the worst of all time. And as much as I loved making fun of Barry Zito, that sorry sack of snake semen, it’s time for him to go away. So, in hopes of your departure, this is my eulogy for you, Barry Zito, the ricin of fantasy baseball. You were truly magnificent in your awfulness. Now go jump off a cliff.

Andy Pettitte: Overrated Postseason Performer

Quick question:  Which of the following pitchers would you rather have?

Pitcher 1:  14-9, 4.11 ERA, 206 IP in 33 starts, 130 K
Pitcher 2:  14-5, 3.44 ERA, 209 IP in 33 starts, 199 K

Obviously, neither of these pitchers is a superstar, but given the lower ERA and higher strikeout rate of Pitcher 2, I’d go with him any day.

Now…

Pitcher 2 is Angels pitcher John Lackey’s 2005 season.
Pitcher 1 is Andy Pettitte’s career postseason statistics.

My point?  Anyone who says that Pettitte is this fantastic clutch postseason performer has no idea what they’re talking about.  The only reason he has so many wins is because he has had so many chances to pitch in the postseason, and if he didn’t have the Yankees offense behind him, he never would have won 14 games.  While Pettitte did have a great season this year, he’s always really been nothing more than a poor #2 starter or a good #3 starter his whole career.  So when I hear comparisons of Oswalt-Clemens-Pettitte to Smoltz-Glavine-Maddux it kind of makes me sick.  It’s Oswalt-Clemens…and then Pettitte.  How people can even confused the caliber of these 3 pitchers is beyond me; Pettitte’s not even close to being in their class.  I mean, come on, in 33 career postseason starts he doesn’t even have a single complete game?  Ugh.  Yet another beneficiary of unjustified New York hype.  At best, Pettitte is a guy that might keep your team in the game…but he’ll never win the game for you by himself, like Oswalt did last night.  And on the nights Pettitte doesn’t keep you in the game, he lets you down…bad.  Game 1 of the NLCS is one example, but does anyone remember Game 6 of the 2001 World Series?  Yankees up 3-2 with a chance to close it out and Pettitte just gets blown out of the freaking water by Arizona, while getting to watch a real ace, Randy Johnson, dominate the Yanks.  Final score of that game was 15 – 2, and Pettitte only made it through two measly innings.  What a dud.  And then everyone knows what happened in Game 7 of that series…

I’m not knocking John Lackey, he’s an above average pitcher.  But if he were on the Astros, no one would be talking about Clemens-Oswalt-Lackey with any sort of reverence, nor should they.  Trust me, there aren’t any hitters on the White Sox who are going to be thinking, “Aw crap, I gotta face Pettitte?”  Puhleeeez…

Prediction:  Astros in 7.

EDIT:  Okay, okay, I know that Pettitte doesn’t suck, but I guess I’m just trying to make the point that while he’s a decent pitcher, he’s not quite what people have made him out to be.  Basically, Andy Pettitte is Jarrod Washburn, just better looking and with a lot more press.  And if he can keep the Astros in games, then I’ll be very happy…for Astros fans.  But I’d prefer to have the Astros win and to have Pettitte’s mediocrity exposed.