Where R.A. Dickey/Josh Johnson/Brandon Morrow Rank in MLB's Best Rotation Trios

Mark MillerCorrespondent IDecember 16, 2012

Where R.A. Dickey/Josh Johnson/Brandon Morrow Rank in MLB's Best Rotation Trios

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    Many teams in baseball were left shaking their heads when the MLB winter meetings concluded.

    Much of that changed in the past week, as the likes of Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Kevin Youkilis and Ryan Dempster all signed deals with new teams.

    The action didn't end there, as the R.A. Dickey saga finally appears to be coming to an end with a pending trade to the Toronto Blue Jays. 

    In a matter of weeks, Toronto has vastly improved its starting rotation with the addition of Dickey on Sunday, as well as Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle in a trade with the Marlins earlier in the offseason.

    With a group of top-end starters, Toronto will surely be a force in 2013. Until then, let's take a look at where the Blue Jays' trio ranks among the best in the game.

T5. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Projected Top Three: Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels

    When they've been at their best, there hasn't been a starting rotation in the game better than the Philadelphia Phillies.

    2012, however, was a different story as Roy Halladay battled injuries all season and Cliff Lee struggled to get run support.

    However, if everyone returns healthy, there's no reason to think the Phillies won't see a vast improvement over last season.

T5. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Projected Top Three: R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle

    Just a year ago, the Toronto Blue Jays were struggling to stay afloat in the AL East, due mostly to a starting rotation that simply didn't stack up.

    With enough offensive weapons to get the job done, the front office embarked on a huge rotation makeover this offseason, adding Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Marlins, and trading for reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

    We're seeing the balance of power shift in the AL East. While there may be an adjustment period while this new-look rotation gets acclimated, this trio will definitely be a force in 2013.

4. Detroit Tigers

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    Projected Top Three: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez

    With Justin Verlander leading the top end of the Detroit Tigers' rotation, the team should find itself in good position to win another AL Central crown in 2013.

    Max Scherzer notched a career-high 16 wins in 2012 and led the league with an impressive 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

    The Tigers got some much-needed help when they traded for Anibal Sanchez during the summer, and while the price may have been high, re-signing him should pay off in the short-term. 

3. Washington Nationals

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    Projected Top Three: Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Dan Haren

    The innings limit placed on Stephen Strasburg may have ultimately cost the Washington Nationals a shot at advancing in the postseason this year, but he should be back to full use in 2013 and will no doubt be a favorite to win the NL Cy Young.

    The Nats' offseason acquisition of Gio Gonzalez proved to be huge, as he led the league with 21 wins and finished third in Cy Young voting thanks in part to his sub-3.00 ERA and 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

    It's looking like Edwin Jackson won't be back in a Nationals uniform in 2013, but the team did sign Dan Haren to a one-year deal—a move that will surely help the rotation compete in the NL East once again.

2. San Francisco Giants

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    Projected Top Three: Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong

    As the reigning World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants will no doubt have a target on their back in 2013 as they look to defend their title.

    Their top three starters combined for 46 wins in 2012, with Cain and Bumgarner both winning 16 games. They also posted ERAs below 3.50, proving that they make up one of the most consistent trios in the league.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Projected Top Three: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu

    Leading the league in ERA in each of the past two seasons, Clayton Kershaw is the unquestioned ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers staff despite their recent signing of Zack Greinke to a mammoth six-year pact.

    This wasn't the only big addition the Dodgers made to their rotation this offseason, as they also inked Korean phenom Hyun-Jin Ryu to a long-term contract.

    In the short term, the addition of Greinke would seemingly be less of a risk than Ryu, as we don't know much about the 25-year-old lefty.

    If he does live up to the hype, however, the Dodgers will have a dangerous trio of top-end starters that could accomplish big things in 2013.