The competition in spring training brought out the best in our rotation. Hughes looked like a major leaguer, even against major league hitters. The notoriously 'doesn't show up for spring' Garcia was arguably the best starter on the staff. Hell, Rapada broke a guy's elbow just so he could make the 25-man.
Now, the only pitchers who have showed up are CC and Nova, and CC just barely. Kuroda has had one good start out of three. This may not be completely his fault, as he's adjusting to a new league and a very tough division, but he's largely been horrible. Hughes has been Hughes. He still can't put hitters away when he gets ahead, and he's generally reached his pitch count by the time his warm-ups are done. Garcia's just been, well, old I guess. He's not a power guy anymore by any means, but he's generally been able to pitch his way into being a solid major league starter. Maybe age has caught up to him. Maybe he's decided he needs to help Martin make-up all the jumping and diving he no longer gets to do now that Burnett is gone. But he's been bad.
Luckily, Pettitte is on the way, and it seems like he can still locate his pitches. Hughes, unless he turns it around, should probably be the first to get sent to the bullpen. He may be young, but he has no real track record as a major league starter (I'm sorry, I'm not going to hype the first half of 2010, the only time he was consistently effective). He's had success in the 'pen and should probably stay there. Garcia should have a slightly longer leash, since, unlike Hughes, he might actually figure it out on account of an actual pitching IQ. Hughes's go-to pitch when ahead in the count is a fastball up and down the middle. No thank you.
If Garcia doesn't turn it around, Pineda should be given his slot once he's healthy, just to show what he can do. If he can't hack it, we have a seven-man rotation of high end pitching prospects at AAA being tutored by the major league tested Francisco Cervelli. Someone will pitch with competence.