TAMPA — While it is widely assumed lefty Jordan Montgomery will secure the No. 4 starter’s spot because he is healthy and had made 35 big league starts before undergoing Tommy John surgery, who grabs the fifth slot remains one of the few open competitions in Yankees camp.
Barring a trade, a distinct possibility because the Yankees have a bevy of young arms other teams have shown an interest in and have discussed Steven Matz with the Mets, the in-house candidates for the No. 5 spot include Jonathan Loaisiga, Michael King and Luis Cessa, as well as long shots Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia.
Talent evaluators are split on what the 25-year old Loaisiga is. Some see him as a starter because his workload can be managed more easily in the rotation. Others believe his stuff, which includes a high-90s fastball, would play in the bullpen.
The final 3 ½ weeks of spring training will reveal which way the Yankees go, and it is possible they would decide a reliever starting a game is the way to go during the first month of the season, when they have four days off and will likely get a rainout or two with only six of the first 32 games will be played in stadiums without a roof.