I think most people feel the way I do, that Freddy Garcia pitched better than A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes last year and the No. 5 spot should be his to lose. Burnett though feels like he will be in the rotation next season though and now Brian Cashman told Chad Jennings of the Journal News that he views Phil Hughes as a starter and that he has never considered him as a possible bullpen candidate.
“I think he’s a starter,” Cashman said. “I know he can pitch out of the pen, but I don’t look at him as a reliever. Never have. I know with any quality arm, whether it’s CC or A.J. or Nova or Hughes or now Pineda, you can run them out there into the pen and they’d look pretty special. But it’s not something you want to do.”
I’m not even going to get into the absurdity of where Joba Chamberlain falls within the context of that statement. With the logjam they face now he doesn’t even come close to the rotation conversation anymore.
But does Cashman’s statements really mean that he believes Phil Hughes will be in the rotation? Is this a sign that Ivan Nova‘s spot in the rotation might not be completely secure? Hard to say. More than anything it might be a statement he is making to signal possible trade partners to sort of say, ‘hey, we haven’t given up on him yet.’ It’s really hard to say.
We know that the Yankees are actively trying to dump Burnett and short of that they would be willing to deal Hughes. So perhaps they will be able to figure out a deal and all of this will figure it self out.
If they do go into spring training with all seven starters still on the roster it will certainly make for an interesting spring training competition.