When the Yankees entered the off-season they made pitching their top priority. Now, with the Winter Meetings officially opening Monday in Nashville, the defending AL East champions are very close to accomplishing what they wanted: bring back three productive veteran arms on one-year deals.

Yesterday, the Yankees signed Andy Pettitte, 40, to a one-year contract worth $12 million. By sometime this weekend they are expected to agree to a one-year deal with Mariano Rivera, who is 43 today. Hiroki Kurado, 38 in February, signed for one year and $15 million last week.

Having known baseball's all-time closer with 608 saves wanted to return for the 2013 season for more than a month, GM Brian Cashman and Fernando Cuza, Rivera's agent, have been negotiating what could be Rivera's final contract of a Hall of Fame career.

Rivera made $15 million last season in which he was limited to nine games due to a torn ACL in the right knee suffered on May 5. There were whispers earlier in the off-season that Rivera would be asked to take a pay cut but that was before the Yankees gave Kuroda, who won a career-high 16 games, $15 million. Yet, the Yankees' best offer to Pettitte was $3 million shy of $15 million.

As for Pettitte, the desire to compete and help the Yankees win a World Series pulled him back into a position he firmly believed he had left following the 2010 season when he announced his retirement.

"I'm at the point, if I didn't feel like we had a chance to win deep down I wouldn't do this. I feel like we've got a certain group of guys that are still there and that know how to win and know how to get it done and that we can still do that.,'' Pettitte said. "I'm very disappointed in the way that last year ended and I know everyone is and what I'm hoping is that we can learn from that. That we can learn from the failures we had last year in the playoffs and disappointment and be better and hopefully get back to where we were last year r and have the opportunity to go to another World Series. That's all you can ask. We know the division is going to be nasty tough again. It is going to be an absolute grind the way the teams have built themselves up in that division but we're looking forward to the competition and I know that I think we've got a team that has a chance to win.''

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