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The starting rotation will continue to have familiar faces, but it will also undergo changes that could inflict serious emotional harm on Giants fans.
Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner have long-term contracts, so they will remain fixtures in San Francisco's rotation. Ryan Vogelsong is under contract for two more years, so he should be sticking around as well.
It's the final two spots where there will be change, including the departures of fan favorite Tim Lincecum and the overpaid Barry Zito.
Now, Lincecum could well bounce back next year from his awful 2012 season. In which case, he will probably be too expensive for the Giants to retain. If he doesn't return to his Cy Young form, he is likely destined for the bullpen. Either way, Lincecum won't be starting for the Giants in 2014.
So who will be? Eric Surkamp has been impressive throughout most of his minor league career, so he should eventually be in line for a rotation spot. However, he is recovering from Tommy John surgery, which makes his future effectiveness uncertain. But if his recovery goes as well as it does for many pitchers these days, he should be back in form by the time Lincecum and Zito have departed.
Chris Stratton, San Francisco's first-round pick this past June, could also be ready for the rotation by then. The 22-year-old put up decent numbers in his minor league debut, though 16 innings isn't much of a sample. The way the Giants scout and develop pitching talent, however, is reason enough to believe Stratton will be an effective major league pitcher in a couple years. Fellow Giants farmhand Kyle Crick is considered a slightly better prospect, but he is only 19 years old.
Alternative: Maybe Lincecum returns to form and the Giants manage to pay him. Or they could troll the free agent market, which won't be all that strong in 2014. Josh Johnson will be the best of the bunch and will likely demand a large sum of money. The next best are Lincecum, Jon Lester and Matt Garza. Or maybe they find the next Ryan Vogelsong under a rock somewhere.