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While the term "best" is subjective, the fact remains the Yankees have the deepest, most proven rotation in the division.
The Blue Jays made a splash this offseason by acquiring R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson, but both are unproven in the American League. The last time Dickey pitched in the American League he was serving up gopher balls out of the bullpen in Minnesota and Johnson has gradually regressed in the past few years.
Whether Johnson and Dickey can pitch well in the hitter-friendly parks of the AL East remains to be seen.
Mark Buehrle is a quality No. 3 starter and Brandon Morrow has potential to be a top starter, but it is a question of if they can stay healthy. Ricky Romero was shelled start in and start out last year, and there is no indication that it was simply a bad year.
Everyone in the Yankees' rotation, though, has proven their ability to pitch in the division. One could argue the Rays rotation is better, but losing James Shields is a significant blow. David Price is coming off a Cy Young Award-winning year, but the staff is young behind him. Matt Moore will enter only his second full season and Jeremy Hellickson is good but not spectacular. Their rotation is top heavy, as their fourth and fifth starters are Jeff Niemann and Alex Cobb.
The Red Sox still have Jon Lester, who will definitely improve after his disastrous 2012, but lack any consistent starter behind him. Clay Buchholz is not a No. 2 starter and Ryan Dempster struggled after being traded from Chicago to Texas mid-season last year. Felix Doubront is nothing to write home about and John Lackey has been a complete bust in Boston.
Baltimore's rotation is average, as Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman and Jair Jurrgens are a compilation of No. 3-5 starters. Last year's success was mainly based on good luck and the fact opposing hitters had no idea who these guys were.
After a year in the league and a drawer full of tape on them, the Orioles' rotation will likely resemble their rotations of old.
That leaves the Yankees.
They have a defined ace, C.C. Sabathia, a quality No. 2 starter, Hiroki Kuroda, a wily old veteran, Andy Pettitte, and two wild cards filling out their fourth and fifth spots. Phil Hughes struggles at times, but the fact he is the fifth starter in the Yankees rotation alleviates any pressure put on him.
The unknown is Ivan Nova.
Nova has looked like an All-Star at times, but a Triple AAA pitcher at other times. If the Yankees can get consistent production out of Nova, they could not only have the best rotation in the AL East, but the whole American League.