(The early favorite? Courtesy of Getty Images)
And this time it's going to be a doozy! Buried in his post earlier this week about the Yankees making their new contract offer to Hiroki Kuroda, Andrew Marchand reported what we kind of already expected to happen with the 5th spot in next year's rotation. With CC, Hirok, Nova, and hopefully Masahiro Tanaka manning the top 4 spots, the final spot will be determined by a Spring Training competition between Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and Vidal Nuno.
So not only do we have 2 guys competing head-to-head for a spot like we used to with the now departed Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, we're going to have us a good old fashioned fatal four-way battle for 1 spot. What a slobberknocker! In a perfect world, the Yankees would have enough confidence in Pineda to give him the job, since he was traded for with a top-of-the-rotation spot in mind. But he was handled with extremely delicate kid gloves in his first year back on the field this season and Phelps has proven himself to be a capable 5th starter in limited work.
We've still got a few months before this battle starts, but if I had to say now I'd say the real competition will come down to Pineda and Phelps. Nuno could be the dark horse as a lefty who showed some promise in limited innings. I don't think Warren has a chance.