Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just a few short days, and it's time for any rotation battles to be decided for all 30 major league clubs.
The New York Yankees have four of their five spots locked down. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes will take the top four spots (in an order that's yet to be determined).
Competing for the No. 5 spot will be sophomore David Phelps and third-year pitcher Ivan Nova.
Nova may have the upper hand because of his experience in the Yankees' rotation, but Phelps could steal the job if he has a strong spring.
In my opinion, there should be a third starter added into the mix for the final spot in the rotation—Adam Warren.
Warren, a 25-year-old right-hander from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been in the Yankees' minor league system since 2009.
He's pitched at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for two consecutive seasons, posting strong numbers both times. Actually, his two seasons there were eerily similar.
2011: 6-8, 3.60 ERA, 27 G (27 starts), 152.1 innings, 111 SO, 1.30 WHIP
2012: 7-8, 3.71 ERA, 26 G (26 starts), 152.2 innings, 107 SO, 1.395 WHIP
If nothing else, Warren can be tabbed as consistent.
He's 25 years old, so what you see is what you get from him at this point. He is by no means a dominant starting pitcher. He'll pitch to contact and allow his defense to make the plays behind him. He's not incapable of striking out hitters, but he's not exactly a power pitcher.
Some might say that he's like a right-handed version of Joe Saunders.
Warren had a cup of coffee with the Yankees in 2012 filling in for an injured Sabathia. He wasn't impressive in the least (2.1 innings, six runs allowed), but that shouldn't affect his standing with the organization going forward.
Now, by no means am I saying that the Yankees should give up on Nova after his letdown 2012 season. Nor am I saying that Phelps can't cut it as a starter.
I am saying, though, that trying to trade Nova or Phelps in a package for a right-handed outfielder or younger third baseman wouldn't be a bad decision.
If something like that happened, Warren would be set up because he has all the tools to pitch well in the back end of the rotation. At 25 years old, his shot will have to come soon.
Basically, I'm asking, why can't his shot come in 2013?