The San Francisco Giants were fortunate when Ryan Vogelsong blossomed into a sensational starter after an injury to Barry Zito early in the 2011 season.
But given the uncertainty surrounding San Francisco's fifth starter spot for 2012, with Zito and Jonathan Sanchez performing poorly this season, and rookie Eric Surkamp now competing, the Giants would be wise to consider an offseason signing that would improve their starting rotation depth.
Here are ten possibilities.
Rich Harden has excellent career numbers and has now been in the big leagues eight seasons, enough to show that his track record is proven.
Harden is 59-36 with a 3.71 career ERA, and he could help the Giants tremendously by coming across the Bay next season.
Hiroki Kuroda would be a great pickup for the Giants this winter. Since breaking in with the Dodgers in 2008, Kuroda has shown that he could be a staple in the NL for years to come.
Despite an 11-15 record this year for Los Angeles, Kuroda's ERA is just 3.18, and he has 142 strikeouts to just 46 walks, along with a 1.23 WHIP.
Since then Vazquez has come down to Earth, but nonetheless has great stuff and could be a good addition to San Francisco's rotation in 2012.
Brad Penny is a former Giant who could be effective if he was to once again don the orange and black.
While he's had an up-and-down career, Penny has a winning record (117-98) over his 11 big league seasons; and has shown flashes of brilliance over that span, going 16-4 for the Dodgers in 2007.
Penny made six starts for the Giants in late 2009 after being acquired before the trade deadline, going 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 0.96 WHIP.
Livan Hernandez was the winner of one of the most important games in Giants franchise history: Game 4 of the 2002 NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, forcing a decisive Game 5 that San Francisco would win to advance to the NLCS.
Hernandez has been very effective throughout his 15-year career, compiling a 174-176 record and a 4.39 ERA.
Bringing him back to San Francisco could give the Giants much-needed rotation depth.
The man the Giants defeated in Game 2 of the 2010 World Series could be one they want to put in a Giants uniform this winter.
The Rangers' C.J. Wilson has proven to be one of the premier left-handers in the game, and he could be a great addition to San Francisco's elite starting rotation.
So far this season Wilson is 15-6 with a 3.13 ERA for Texas.
The old knuckle-baller is a free agent this winter, and despite his age, he could be a great asset for the Giants with his veteran presence and that knuckler that many in the NL haven't seen because he has been pitching in the American League all these years.
Over an 18-year career so far, Wakefield has proven durable, compiling a 199-178 record.
Mark Buehrle has given Chicago White Sox fans many great moments to remember, including his perfect game in July of 2009.
Buehrle is an excellent left-handed starter, with a career 159-117 record with a 3.81 ERA.
He's an excellent fielding pitcher, and it would be a coup for the Giants if they could sign him this winter.