Pettitte, Yanks no closer to agreement though

Updated: December 8, 2003, 2:47 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte and David Wells were offered salary arbitration Sunday night by the New York Yankees, who re-signed outfielder Ruben Sierra to a $1 million, one-year deal.

The Yankees are far apart in their negotiations with Pettitte, who also is being courted by the Houston Astros. But they seem on track to re-sign Wells.

His agent, Gregg Clifton, negotiated with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Sunday night.

"We made a lot of progress in the last 24 hours and we're optimistic David will have an opportunity to remain a Yankee," Clifton said. "If we're not able to finalize a deal, David will have an opportunity to utilize free agency with the other 29 teams."

The 40-year-old left-hander left Game 5 of the World Series after one inning because of the back injury, and had surgery Tuesday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. He has angered the Yankees at times during his four seasons with New York. But he also is a favorite of owner George Steinbrenner.

Wells went 15-7 with a 4.14 ERA last season, increasing his career record to 200-128, then defeated Minnesota and Boston in his first two postseason starts.

He lost 3-2 in the World Series opener against Arizona, then came out of Game 5 because of the back injury.

New York declined a $6 million option on Wells, who earned $14 million during his two-year contract with the Yankees. He went 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA in 2002.

Wells was fined $100,000 by the team in March because of his autobiography, which Cashman concluded "did tarnish the Yankee image." He angered manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre when he stopped throwing between starts during the second half of the season.

Wells was winless in seven starts from July 19 until Sept. 7, when he beat Boston 3-1 and prevented the Red Sox from closing within a half-game of New York in the AL East.

New York also offered arbitration to left-hander Gabe White and backup catcher John Flaherty. The Yankees have agreed to a $775,000, one-year contract with Flaherty but not announced it. They are close to an agreement with White.

Relievers Jeff Nelson and Antonio Osuna were not offered arbitration and can't re-sign until May 1. New York also didn't offer arbitration to Roger Clemens, who is retiring.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press