Eiland Looking Forward to Pitching Competition

If you were to ask New York Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland who he thinks will win the 5th spot in the starting rotation this season, you won’t find he doesn’t have much to say. Eiland recently spoke with the Daily News about the upcoming battle for the Yankees final spot in the pitching rotation.

The front four of the Yankees rotation is pretty much set. C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and recently acquired Javier Vasquez will hold the front four spots in the rotation. As for what Eiland had to say about the 5th spot?

“For me to say who’s the clear favorite — right now, I can’t do that,” Eiland said, according to the Daily News. “Time will tell. We have interesting guys, and this is going to be fun to watch. Competition brings out the best in guys, and we’ll see who pulls ahead of the pack.”

While Joba Chamberlain appears to be the front runner for the position, the Yankees pitching coach made it clear that the training wheels are off. There are no more Joba rules. The man who wins the 5th spot will be expected to throw 200 innings.

Competing for the spot against Chamberlain will be Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre. When one really breaks down the competition, it’s clear there are two men competing for the job in the eyes of the fans: Hughes and Chamberlain. Hughes found success in the bullpen in 2009, but faltered in the playoffs. With neither Hughes or Chamberlain in the playoff rotation, it was Chamberlain who earned Girardi’s trust. He pitched in crucial innings for Girardi including the World Series clinching Game 6.

In the end, it’s Joe Girardi and company who will decide Hughes and Chamberlain’s fate. With no more Joba rules, can Joba take the reigns on his career and earn his spot in the rotation or will Phil Hughes, despite pitching significantly less innings in 2009, steal Chamberlain’s thunder. According to Eiland, competition should bring out the best in everyone…so may the best man win.

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14 Responses to Eiland Looking Forward to Pitching Competition

  1. Sean Serritella says:

    I'd like to see Aceves get the job.

  2. I'm thinking that realistically the only way someone other than Joba or Hughes don't get that 5th starter spot would be if there was an injury and probably two. I think the fan and media backlash would just be too much and people would attack the Yankees saying they gave up on the two of them too quickly.

  3. Chris Barrows says:

    I certainly agree with Rob on this one. It's highly unlikely we see someone not named Hughes or Chamberlain open 2010 in the 5th spot. Something bad would have to happen to see someone like Gaudin in that role on opening day.

  4. Eric @ THTGB says:

    I'd be surprised if it's anyone besides Joba. This is what the team has been preparing him for and it's time to let him go out there and do his thing every five days, no strings attached.

  5. Chris Barrows says:

    I don't think I'd argue your point on that one. Let's face it, Joba has stamina built up to be a starter at this point and they've been working the Joba rules in to make it so he can start.

  6. The Captain says:

    I would like to see Hughes in the 5-spot. He's got better starter's "stuff" and a better mentality for it. His successes out of the 'pen in the regular season and struggles in the postseason suggested his starter's makeup, in that he's a guy who needs to start an inning, know he has to get 3 outs, and figure out a way to do that, rather than be thrown in the fire in the middle of an inning a/o a pressure situation (bases loaded, nobody out), and be expected to get out of the jam.

    Joba doesn't seem to have the mental makeup to be able to pace himself and think through his approach the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th time against a lineup. He's a guy who's more comfortable and more successful being able to just go out, rock and fire, not hold back, and get 3 outs.

    That being said, the fact that he has no innings limit works in his favor. Right now it has to be 59% Joba for the 5-spot, 40% Hughes, 1% somebody else.

  7. Chris Barrows says:


    You bring up a great point in regard to Hughes being brought in during the middle of an inning, at least in 2009. I don't have any numbers on me at this point, but if I remember correctly, many of his bad numbers came when he was brought in during the middle of an inning.

    Great point though. In the end, I think we'll end up seeing Joba in the 5th spot based on many of the things you said. Does it mean Hughes has no shot, certainly not. He's just the man looking in as far as I'm concerned. It's Joba's job to lose IMO.

  8. Juan Camilo Alvarez says:

    Ehhh, I do like Hughes to be #5 starter but im sure Hughes rules would be in effect. We would have to go thru another season of papmering a young starter, but it would be worth the wait because Hughes has better stuff. Joba (and I agree wholeheartedly with Chris) would be an effective 7-8th inning setup man , and eventually carry the torch once Mo retires. I say bye now.

  9. smurfy says:

    I think they are setting up for Joba's big shot, and while I tend to agree with you, Juan, about Joba's starts to date, he may yet get the hang of it. They got four strong, pretty dependable guys, and they can afford to let the fifth hang out, and try.

    And if it was Eiland's statement that the competition is for the 200 inning job, Phil has to be out, for they wouldn't let him go more than 150, after pitching 105, disjointedly so.

    I take the point above about Phil's better starting an inning, but they may have him pitch long relief, after Aceves quenches a fire. That would serve as a nice substitute for said pampering approach.

  10. smurfy says:

    Heck, with those first four starters, they should pitch the Playmate of the Month as the fifth, and call it "Fan Appreciation Days."

  11. I'm inclined to agree about the top four starters, smurfy. If they're healthy, the Yankees have a very good chance to roll.

  12. Chris Barrows says:

    For the record, if the term "Hughes Rules" becomes a popular phrase this season, I'll be very annoyed. As I said before, it's Joba's job to lose. He's the one best fitted for the role at this time based on innings, as has been said in the last few comments.

    Also, I support the playmate of the month for fifth starter, at least for 1/3rd of an inning.

  13. smurfy says:

    Yea! They should rather call it "Fanny Appreciation Daze."

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