Since the Cliff Lee fiasco, the Yankees have been quietly putting feelers out for quality pitchers. According to Yankees President Randy Levine, there's one man they keep coming back to time and again: Andy Pettitte. "Andy's a great Yankee and a great person and I know he'll give it thought and follow his heart and we'll respect his decision. But we're out there, all of us, hoping every day that he comes back. I think he knows we need him. I think he knows how much we respect him and what a great leader he is." Who could turn down an enthusiastically desperate plea like that? According to teammates, probably Pettitte.

Yankees first basemen Mark Teixeira, one of Pettitte’s closest friends on the team, believes Pettitte is most likely going to retire. "I think, like everyone else [thinks], if he's leaning one way, he's probably leaning towards retiring. I think that's what he's publicly said. It's no secret right now...None of us want to pressure him,” Teixeira told reporters yesterday. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman also previously said Pettitte “told me personally he was leaning toward retirement.” Last year, Pettitte, 38, had one of his best seasons in his 16-year career, finishing with an 11-3 record and a 3.28 ERA despite missing much of the second half with a groin injury.

So what might be the Yankees backup-backup plan if Pettitte retires? KC pitcher Joakim Soria has been discussed, and is open to a trade; they've also been looking at Jeff Francis. The scariest part? The Yankees might find themselves competing with the Mets for the pick of the scrap heap injury reclamation projects, which includes Francis, Freddy Garcia and Chris Young.