Andy Pettitte returns to Yankees for one year, $16 million
Three years ago, Pettitte left New York for his home state to play for the Astros, largely because the Yankees didn't show much interest in resigning him. They gave him a lowball offer, Pettitte balked, and signed with Houston for three years. He's back in pinstripes now, ironically because the Yankees were much more diligent in their pursuit of him than were the Astros. Pettitte was a better pitcher three years ago than he is now, but he should certainly bolster the Yanks' staff. His presence may also give the Yankees an advantage if Roger Clemens decides to come back for another season, and his return to the Bronx would only make Pettitte's deal even more valuable.
(read more at Pinstripe Alley).
Jason Marquis nears three-year, $21 million deal with Cubs.
The good news is that Marquis is only 28, is a good athlete and a good hitter. The bad news is that he was so bad in 2006 the Cardinals left him off of the postseason roster. The worst news is that he's moving to Wrigley Field. In 2004, his best season as a big leaguer, Marquis posted a 3.71 ERA and a 2.17 groundball-to-flyball ratio. In the last two seasons his ERA has ballooned and his groundball rate has fallen. If Marquis can return to his 2004 form, the Cubs might have a bargain here. If he doesn't, it's more Tribune Company money down the toilet.
(read more at Bleed Cubbie Blue).
Jose Mesa agrees to one-year, $2.5 million deal with Tigers.
Mesa had a solid 3.86 ERA pitching in Colorado last season, but that ERA belies awful peripherals (39-to-36 strikeout-to-walk ratio), and that Mesa turns 41 in May isn't a good indication that he'll return to his early-aughts form of pitching prosperity. Still, a one-year deal isn't going to kill the Tigers here.
Tigers lock up Brandon Inge for four years, $24 million
Nice move by Detroit to keep the 29-year-old Inge on payroll through his prime years. Inge isn't a terrific offensive player, but he has plenty of pop and he was probably the best defensive third-baseman in baseball last year (he led all third-basemen in plus/minus at +35 for 2006).
(read more at TigerBlog).
Around the Horn
By Eric Simon