So, aside from a two-run shot against him in the second inning, Phil Hughes looked pretty impressive today. He had the breaking ball working, the velocity was pretty good and he put in five quality innings of work today against Tampa Bay.
As things stand today, you have to imagine Hughes has the fourth or fifth spot in the rotation. After that, Freddy Garcia has probably ‘earned’ a spot as well, but it’s more likely Michael Pineda will get it. The reason I say this is because of what Pineda did last year with the Seattle Mariners, and the Yankees don’t want to run into another situation like they did with Joba Chamberlain, where he is bounced back and forth, and ultimately hurting his development. The same reason we will see Ivan Nova in the rotation.
Also, Pineda has been making progress throughout spring training, much like Ivan Nova, and these young guns are major parts of this Yankee team. Not to cut Garcia short, but it seems like he is the better fit for the bullpen, as of now.
As of today, this is what I imagine the rotation will look like when the season starts.
1. C.C. Sabathia
2. Hiroki Kuroda
3. Ivan Nova
4. Michael Pineda
5. Phil Hughes
Really, the three, four, and five starters are interchangeable, but I think once it is all said and done, that’s the way it shapes out.
Things will get pretty complicated, however, when Andy Pettitte makes his return. It's very likely he will find a spot in the rotation, assuming he is anything close to what he was before he retired. The Yankees could definitely use a second lefty in their rotation, and Andy is one of the Yankee greats.
It's hard to say who will get the short straw once this happens, factoring in production and development are major factors. As I stated before, you don't want to hinder young players by moving them back and forth, but someone will clearly have to make way for Andy.