The New York Yankees have one last spot available in the starting rotation and there are several players who will compete for the opportunity to bottom out what could be a very formidable staff. With Matt Garza and Bronson Arroyo off of the free-agent market, it seems that the Yankees will stay true to their promise of being frugal until spring arrives and will look for an in-house option to be number five. The most likely candidates to win the job are rumored to be David Phelps and Michael Pineda.
Phelps has been with the Yankees’ major league team since 2012. He has posted a 10-9 record with an ERA of 4.11 over the past two seasons while spending time as a starter and a reliever. Phelps struggled through 2013, posting a 4.98 ERA in 55 games and 23 starts. The 27-year-old has produced better out of the pen, but remains persistent on being a starter stating that he has been a starter his whole life until being called up to the major league team. Phelps suffered a right forearm strain which gave him limited action. Other than that, he has been pretty reliable and would be a viable fifth spot guy.
The other guy, who most Yankees fans are probably hoping will win the final spot with an impressive spring, is Pineda. The 25-year-old has yet to throw a pitch for the Yankees since being traded to the team from the Seattle Mariners after the 2011 season. After a labral tear in 2012, the Dominican native has been rehabbing and pitching in the minors in hopes to get back to his All-Star status when he had a 3.74 ERA as a rookie. However, Pineda has only pitched in six games at the Triple-A level and will probably need more than good spring numbers to earn the confidence of the organization.
At the end of Spring Training I believe Phelps will, and should, get the edge over Pineda. Phelps has proven he can be an end of the rotation guy and can be used in the bullpen, which is versatility Pineda cannot offer. Pineda hasn’t seen MLB batters since 2011, so some more time in the minors shouldn’t hurt.