That cannot be correct. Alas, it is true. According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees signed long-time starting pitcher and guy who hasn’t pitched since 2010 Andy Pettitte to a minor league deal, worth a reported $2.5 million.

Crazy. More to come.

Of course Andy Pettitte thought about returing, but what are the Yankees thinking? After shipping out A.J. Burnett, it seemed their rotation was pretty much set, with Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes and possibly the ghost of Freddy Garcia filling out the back end.

Now, with Pettitte in the mix, are the Yankees expressing doubt that one of their young hurler — Michael Pineda included — can last the year? Pettitte himself only pitched 129 innings in 2010, his last in the big leagues.

Pettitte turns 40 in June and has more than three thousand innings on his arm. It is also March 16th, meaning the season starts in less than three week. What can the Bombers expect from Pettitte in 2012?

Marcel bravely published a projection for the veteran lefty and it isn’t exactly the stuff of legends. The monkey’s system slots Pettitte in as 4.00 FIP pitcher with 6.78 K/9 and just over 3 walks per nine innings. PECOTA projects similar numbers, a 4.34 ERA and around 6.75 K/9.

Which, realistically, is not that bad at all. Consider the attention given to the John Lannan’s of the world (not going anywhere now) and other assorted innings eaters, bringing in a club legend who can work at his own pace to get into shape might not be the worst idea ever.

At 40 and nearly 18 months since his last game action, it seems doubtful he will be ready for Opening Day. As an insurance policy, that isn’t such a big deal. Pettitte can work his way back into shape and be ready in case Pineda (too fat), Nova (too crappy), or Hughes (too real) are unable to provide the Yankees with the rotation coverage they need. Slip a feel-good story in for a few starts until order is restored and, boom, 100 win season is back on course.

With a minor league deal in place, if Pettitte just doesn’t have it or the Yankees don’t need him, it can be “thanks for your effort, see you next spring as a consultant” and no harm done. Not a bad piece of business for the Yankees, considering their risk is zero. Pettitte risks damaging a reputa–hahah, sorry. He plays for the Yankees. He admitted taking HGH but is still a demigod. You couldn’t scratch the shiny veneer of his “legend” status with a lightsaber.