Marchand: Yankees will hold fifth starter competition in camp

It's official: Ellsbury's a Yankee
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Via Andrew Marchand: The Yankees are planning to hold a competition between David Phelps, Adam Warren, Michael Pineda, and Vidal Nuno in Spring Training for the fifth starter’s job. This isn’t much of a surprise — Brian Cashman said the team is looking to add two starters even though they lost three to free agency (Hiroki Kuroda has since returned, so they only need one more starter now). I was hoping they’d bring in some veteran competition, but alas.

The Yankees have a knack for holding rigged competitions in camp (Phil Hughes as fifth starter in 2010, the catcher situation in 2013) but I do think this one is wide open. Phelps might have a leg up because he has the most big league experience of the group, but if Pineda shows up to Tampa and blows everyone away, I bet he’d get the job. Same with Warren and Nuno. Either way, the odds are strongly in favor of all four of these guys being needed in the rotation at some point next summer. Getting through the year using only five starters isn’t something you can reasonably expect.

It's official: Ellsbury's a Yankee
Eric Hinske helped Yankees sign Brian McCann
  • CountryClub

    Pineda obviously has the highest ceiling so I hope he wins it. But I do want him to earn it. The other guys deserve a fair shot.

    • qwerty

      Pineda also pitched 40 innings last year and has had recurrent shoulder issues. He shouldn’t be anywhere near a major league rotation.

      • Tisha

        Pineda is damaged goods.

      • CountryClub

        He’s going to be pitching somewhere. If he’s the best option, then he’s the best option. Regardless if it’s only 100 innings or not.

  • AC

    CC , Kuroda and Nova. Who’s the 4th starter if they are having an open competition for the 5th spot. Must be lookin to add a 4th via free agency or trade then. Am I correct ?

    • Chris

      sitting here thinking the same thing as I opened these comments.

    • steve (different one)

      I think that is the implication. Cashman is saying he is looking for one more starter, not two.

      • TJF

        Bubba Crosby going to play center too……don’t believe anything right now. The Winter Meetings are starting and Cash will sign whomever, maybe two starters, three…..whatever they want. What they say and what they do are usually different.

    • nycsportzfan

      Should be interesting to see who yanks end up in that 4spot. It could be one of many pitchers, like Garza, Tanaka, or even Maholm. Either way, i think if they add one of those 3, they’ll have a good enough rotation to win the WS, and have some great upside potential in Pineda and Nova.


      Warren back to pen as longman.. Phelps and Nuno as next in, if injury occurse, or maybe Phelps and Gardy are dealt for a Chase Headly or Martin Prado?

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

    I predict a Nuno.

    • Fin

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ends up the eventual 5th starter sometime during the season. However, do to his unimpressive “stuf” I don’t think he will impress enough in ST to win the job to start the season.

      • Preston

        Yeah, it would be hard for Nuno to impress in Spring. If he gets the job something went wrong with the other three guys.

  • Tim

    Can we add ManBam to the discussion? If he has a great ST, is he also a viable candidate?

    • Barney G

      He’ll have to turn into Danny Almonte @ the LLWS for that to happen

    • Barney G

      But man,if him and Pineda somehow stepped up this year that would be huge.

    • forensic

      By the time ST rolls around, he won’t have pitched in a game in about 21 months. He’s pitched less than 60 innings in AAA and has had serious control issues for awhile now at both AA and AAA.

      There’s approximately 0 chance of him actually being able to make the rotation out of ST.

  • Jedile

    I wouldn’t mind having Pineda and Nuno/ManBan for 4th and 5th.

    • Theo

      Solid plan.

  • Loudog

    Trade Gardner Phelps and Sanchez to Angels for Trumbo and a prospect and remove Phelps from this competition.

    • steve (different one)


    • forensic

      Started drinking early tonight, huh?

    • Nuke Guy

      I’ll pass on Trumbo. Especially for that price. I’d be fine with giving them Nunez and Phelps, but they won’t take that. Trumbo has one ability- hitting home runs. Those guys are a dime-a-dozen.

      • lightSABR

        A pity the Yankees last year were apparently out of dimes.

        • Nuke Guy

          That’s what happens when you lose Granderson, Teixeira, and A-Rod for full seasons.

          • Loudog

            34 homers and 100 RBI is not a dime a dozen. I bet there were not 10 guys who did that last year. He would play RF DH and 1b

            • Nuke Guy

              Beltran is in RF, Soriano is at DH, and Tex is at first. All three of those players are better than Trumbo. Trubmo doesn’t get on base, doesn’t steal bases, doesn’t play good defense, doesn’t hit for average, strikes out a ton.

              He is good at one thing only.

            • forensic

              Based on his .294 OBP, those 34 homers were the only times he reached base, right?

              • Barney g

                Yeah I love sori but he should only be in the lineup against lefties

    • Get Phelps Up (looking for a new name)

      And what position would he play under this great plan of yours?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      I like this idea of playing about eight guys in the outfield in lieu of a second baseman.

      • Deep Thoughts

        Shouldda kept Hughes in that case.

    • nycsportzfan

      A trade like that could probably land us Chase Headly, who i’d much rather have then Marc Trumbo, personally.

      I’d offer Brett Gardner, David Phelps, and Mark Montgomery to San Diego for Chase Headley at the winter meetings. I’d also put in a call to Arizona, and offer Phelps and Gardy for martin prado.

  • MD

    We’ll probably see them all make starts to fill the 5th spot across the season. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of those names go (as part of a package) in a trade to get a 4th.

  • Dalek Jeter

    I’ll give anybody decent odds it’s Phelps unless Pineda has like a perfect spring. I guess Warren has a nonzero chance. The only way Nuno wins is if the other 3 die/get traded.

  • forensic

    For the last two spots, Tanaka would of course be my top choice (by far), if he gets posted (please!). Beyond him, though, I’d almost prefer to use two of these guys (likely Pineda and Phelps barring Pineda looking like crap) rather than give too much money and too many years to Santana/Garza/etc.

    • Barney G

      I’m slightly intrigued by Ubaldo but……the price

      • Chris H

        I like Ubaldo much more than Garza but anything past 3 years would scare me a little.

        • Barney G

          I’d probably be willing to go 4

      • qwerty

        There is nothing intriguing about Ubaldo.

        • Barney g

          There’s plenty to like about him. He has as much upside as anybody and hasn’t been inconsistent as u might think

    • Tom K

      Santana has home run tendencies – not always a bad thing, but for a right-handed pitcher in Yankee Stadium, it is definitely a bad thing.

      They are simply going to wait and see if Tanaka gets posted – we should know fairly shortly on that. Then they will try to blow him out of the water with a contract offer.

      Failing that, the pitching on the market is very iffy. There are probably a few gems mixed in there – but good luck finding them!

  • Loudog

    How many players hit 32 homers last year?

    • CashmanNinja

      Your way of thinking is flawed. Let me prove my point.

      Home runs are the most important? Alright. Here are 2 players.

      Player A.) 22 HR, 55 RBI, 77 BB, .179 AVG, .309 OBP, no defense, 0.5 WAR.

      Player B.) 17 HR, 84 RBI, 76 BB, .284 AVG, .366 OBP, so-so defense, 4.5 WAR.

      Player A is due 2 years, $26 million. Player B isn’t even arbitration eligible yet.

      There you go. Home runs are overrated when they literally do NOTHING else for your team and don’t even have a real position. Trumbo is overrated beyond belief. This isn’t fantasy baseball.

      • CashmanNinja

        Oh and I forgot to mention, obviously…

        Player A = Dan Uggla

        Player B = Jason Kipnis. I didn’t even mention his 30 stolen bases either.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          So you’re saying they should trade for Uggla, right?

          • BFDeal

            That’s probably what Loudog inferred.

          • Jedile

            Can he pitch?

            • forensic

              Probably better than he can hit.

    • Dalek Jeter


      14 hit 30

      27 hit at least 25

      65 had a higher fWAR than Mark Trumbo. Some of those players include such sluggers has Elvis Andrus, Denard Span, Greggor Blanco, and Yunel Escobar.

  • Reverse apache master

    4th starter- Homer Bailey.

  • kevinD

    I really hope Pineida comes into spring training, in shape and feeling good. I would love to see him succeed. It has to be devastating to get to this level, then traded to the biggest team in the game only to shoulder issues. Hopefully he settles into the rotation and becomes a mainstay for years to come.

  • Loudog

    34 homers and 100 RBI is a dime a dozen?

    • Get Phelps Up (looking for a new name)

      .294 OBPs are.

  • Reverse apache master

    Trumbo is a career .299 OBP guy. Hell Nunez has a .313 OBP

  • Chris H

    I’m not sure if I should root for Pineda to break camp in the rotation or spend the first month in AAA managing his innings. I certainly don’t want to read “Pineda rules” unless it’s related to how good he is.

    • qwerty

      All they have to do is let him come out of the pen for the first half and then stretch him out during the second half so he can start. Joba is living proof this method works.

  • Dick M

    Don’t sleep on Vidal.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

      He’d be pretty pissed off when he woke up.

      • CashmanNinja


  • Geno

    (Not So) Bold Prediction: If Pineda is healthy and ready for ST, this isn’t going to be much of a competition.

    • Preston

      Girardi loves him some Phelpsie.

  • jack c

    HAHA that was awesome Chris H! Totally agree too!

  • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)


    You misspelled “Masahiro Tanaka” about four of five times.

    Just letting you know.

    • Dalek Jeter

      The rotation by June is going to be:

      • Betty Lizard

        That is an AAA . . . AA rotation.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

          That might also be a pretty best-case scenario.

          Y’all don’t know how many times I’ve almost written in the old screen name out of habit. This is difficult.

          • SDB


  • Dicka24

    Health and performance are paramount, but I’ll echo the view that Pineda may be better served by starting with the big club a little later, cuz he is most certainly going to have an innings cap, if he’s healthy.

  • Kluang Yankee

    I really dont like any of the free agent pitchers this year, except for Tanaka. He should be our number one target which we should overpay for, after all, its Hal’s money. There will be a large number of top quality pitchers available in 2015. They are much better than this year’ crop save Tanaka. Included are Kershaw, Bailey, Cueto, Scherzer, Shields, Masterson, Lewis and Lester to name a few.

    • Bronx Bombers23

      Couldn’t agree with you more.

      Tanaka is the only one of the upper tier (if that’s what you want to call Garza, Jiminez, etc upper tier) that I old be interested in. He’s the only one that I believe has true ace potential. If we can’t land him, then plug the #4 hole with a Colon-type FA, and let Pineda and Co. battle it out for the #5 spot. Heck if Pineda, Warren and Nuno all have good springs, we’ll have rotation depth.

      Don’t overpay for one of these fringe pitchers this year, when the FA class of starters next year could be very deep and talented.

      • Chris H

        I don’t see any chance that Lester, Scherzer, or Kershaw hit the open market, which would mean next years best free agent pitcher without a club option either Homer Bailey, Justin Masterson, Brandon McCarthy, or Peavy. That’s pretty fringey as well, I think I’d rather go four years for Ubaldo this offseason than wait to go 4+ with any of them.

    • Chris H

      I don’t get the Tanaka love, granted I haven’t watched a ton of him but his fastball is extremely average (averaged under 91 MPH las year on the fouur seamer), his split seems nasty , but the slider is also fringey. I think the Ks go down and the walks go up and he ends up a middle rotation type of arm, valuable but not worth the 18-20 AAV he could get.

  • Nathan

    Phelps is nothing more than a spot starter/long relief.

    I hope Pineda wins it. Not like Jesus is tearing it up in Seattle but still, I’d want to see SOMETHING from that trade.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Montero has been worth negative .8fWAR since the trade, whereas Pineda has been worth 0. We’re already winning the trade.

      Cashman…didn’t fail?

    • CashmanNinja

      I think Phelps could become a solid starter, but definitely a back end type. I prefer him in the pen as a long reliever/swingman.

      I would also like to see Pineda win it. The guy was crazy talented before he messed up his arm. It’d be nice to see him rebuild his value and show just how good he can be. I actually didn’t hate the trade at the time because Pineda’s potential was so high and I didn’t view Montero as a catcher. It would be nice to see him do something none-the-less though.

  • Farewell Mo

    The Yanks are reportedly not interested in Garza, Jimenez or Santana and are now pessimistic Tanaka will be posted.

    Considering that CC very well may be shot, You don’t really know what to expect from Nova, Kuroda has collapsed down the stretch 2 years running and is now 38 and Phelps, Warren and Nuno have never been thought of as more than 5/6th starter/long reliever types, they really, really need a top of the rotation starter and don’t seem to have much recourse to bring one in.

    About the only guy with that type of upside is Pineda and he’s the biggest question mark of them all.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Considering that CC very well may rebound from his horrible 2013, you would expect that Nova will continue to improve, Kuroda has always been an innings eater and Phelps, Warren and Nuno have, in small sample sizes, shown that they can be competent 5/6th starter/long relievers, they really just need a #4 starter and can either sign a free agent or trade for one.


      • Farewell Mo


        Yep. You made a case for going into the season with a starting rotation that is a house of cards. Cashman did that last season with the roster in general and watched it all fall apart.

        This team needs a #2 starter at least unless they’re willing to play with a less than playoff caliber rotation

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          You made a case for going into the season with a starting rotation that is a house of cards.

          Not at all.

          You showed the worst possible outcome and I showed the best possible out come.

          Neither is a likely scenario. Reality will probably fall somewhere in between.

  • Chris H

    The name we haven’t been linked too but I’d want above all the rest is Jeff Smardzija. He’s still young, is near the very top of the league in average fastball velocity (over 94 MPH), his peripheral numbers in his two year starting is great, and he doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear on his arm. Not sure what we’d have to give up but I think he’s the best combination of age and ability.

    • Barney G

      I’m guessing it probably involves pieces we don’t have

      • Chris H

        I think we match up decent with the Cubs since our best minor league talent are in the same time frame as their expected window to win. I think we have pieces to make the deal imo I just don’t know what they’d give up, it also seems like the Cubs don’t value him enough.

  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Warren looked impressive near end of year. Phelps ran out of gas. For some reason, wouldn’t mind a little one year cleansing from Colon.

  • fred robbins

    I wonder if most Yankee fans are still high from Thanksgiving parties. Kuroda? he should be brought in to pitch from the all star break on… we all saw what he did the last two months- NOTHING- Yankees have suspect pitching in all areas yet they watched other clubs sign Doug Fister- yankee killer- and Kazmir-two really good options to help the Yankees. The Yankees are delusional about Jeter and Tex at 1st base.. this team is going to be bad but will hit more than last year. They have no bullpen anymore. Robertson is very hittable by all teams that have seen him and his value has gone down even as trade bait. They watched the Tigers get Nathan— he would have been a good Yankee. Phelps? are you kidding me? did not anyone watch him pitch last year? He is a AAA+ pitcher-too good for minor leagues but not good enough for major league show. Same for Warren.
    You Yankee fans are just not honest about the team you love to watch and root for.

  • Michael Cutler

    Gardner, Bencentes,phelps and romine for Chase Headley and a reliever!
    MIKE AXISA how ya feel about it?

    • Craig Tyle

      Steamer projections for 2014:

      Headley — .254/.344/.400
      Gardner — .260/.342/.381

      This, of course, does not reflect speed or defense.

      So, why on earth would this trade make sense for us?