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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Andy Pettitte returning

By Andrew Marchand

WHAT IT MEANS: ESPN colleague Buster Olney reports that Andy Pettitte is close to formally announcing he is coming back and a new deal is nearly completed.

Barring any trades, the Yankees now know what their rotation will look like in 2013. Pettitte will fit in nicely right in the middle of CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda on the front end and Phil Hughes and whomever wins the fifth spot on the back end. Ivan Nova and David Phelps are expected to battle in the spring for that spot.

RAMIFICATIONS: What was expected is nearly official. Pettitte will return on a one-year deal. Just like with Kuroda, this is tremendous news for the Yankees on the field in 2013 and for Hal Steinbrenner's 2014 budget meetings. With dual goals of still trying to win a championship in '13 and fall under the $189 million mandate, having Kuroda and Pettitte willing to take one-year deals is huge. Despite their age, they both can still pitch. Pettitte missed a lot of the season with a fractured fibula, but went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA. At 40, he knows what he is doing on the mound.

HUGHES RELIEF: This sets up an interesting decision. Hughes is now clearly the team's fourth starter in his walk year. If he has a tremendous season, he will earn himself big bucks in free agency. The Yankees would love for him to do well. But if he does, they could have trouble keeping him and falling below $189 million. They could play the wait-and-see game, though, and it wouldn't be surprising if they investigate what he might fetch in a trade. Most likely, he stays and the Yankees play it out.

YOUNG GUNS: In 2011, Nova was the rookie sensation. In 2012, it was Phelps. Now, they will settle who is the fifth starter in the spring, again barring any trades.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: With Pettitte on the brink of returning, what do you think of the Yankees' offseason?