Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake talks about the battle for the fifth rotation spot

Andres Chavez
matt blake, New York Yankees

Contrary to the popular belief, the New York Yankees’ haven’t set the name of their fifth starter in stone just yet. Yes, Gerrit Cole will be the ace, and Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, and Jordan Montgomery will likely follow him in some order. But while Domingo German is viewed as the favorite to lock down that fifth and last spot, it isn’t official just yet.

Deivi Garcia, Nick Nelson, Mike King, and others are competing in camp to see if any one of them can complete the upset and occupy a spot in the regular turn for the Yankees.

Yet, according to the Yankees’ pitching coach Matt Blake, German could have an advantage given his 2019 experience. That year, he had a good first half and while he slipped some down the stretch prior to his suspension, he finished with a 4.03 ERA and 9.63 strikeouts per nine innings in 143 frames.

What will the Yankees do with the fifth spot in the rotation?

Blake was asked on the YES Network about the Yankees’ plans for that last spot in the rotation, and he said that Garcia, King, and Nelson might need a little more refinement that have everything to do with the normal development for pitchers, especially prospects.

“I think there are some things just from a development standpoint that we want to make sure that Deivi and Mike and Nelson and some of these guys kind of get to,” Blake said. “Obviously, German, having his 2019 performance, he’s established himself at the major-league level.

“I think it’s just trying to figure out, what’s the right thing for each guy in terms of the development they need and the team needs and try to balance that in terms of who has (minor-league) options, who doesn’t, all that type of stuff. We certainly have some competitive names in the mix, which is nice.”

The Yankees’ missed German for all the 2020 season because he was suspended in September 2019 for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

However, the decision about the last pitcher in the rotation isn’t final yet, and Blake confirmed that.

“We haven’t gotten far enough into camp yet,” he said. “But, obviously, you know Deivi and German have both looked really good. Mike King looked good the other day. So, I think we’re going to have a lot of horses in the race assuming we stay healthy. So, that’s a good problem.”