The Kansas City Royals and 9 More Rotations That Will Look Completely Different
Jonathan Sanchez is the newest addition to the Kansas City Royals' starting rotation. He'll join Luke Hochevar, Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy. The No. 5 spot will go to either free agent Bruce Chen or Luis Mendoza.
The Royals' rotation looks like it was barely touched, compared to some of the teams that are working on their pitching staffs this winter. Many teams are looking for upgrades.
These are nine more teams whose rotations will probably have several changes in it come Opening Day 2012.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have re-signed C.C. Sabathia, but the rest of their rotation still needs work. Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon each have signed on for one year.
They could try to trade A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes’ situation is still unknown. The Yankees have a bit of thinking to do.
Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox currently have Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz in their starting rotation. Other than that, their plans are up in the air, and that’s assuming their three guys right now stay healthy all season.
John Lackey will miss next season due to Tommy John surgery, and there really is no able candidate to replace him or fill in the fifth spot. Boston will have to look for free agents to solidify their rotation.
Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Moore could crack the Tampa Bay Rays’ 2012 rotation after his postseason appearances. James Shields has been nails for the Rays but is in his last contract year.
If the Rays management feel they have a better long-term solution for the organization, they could end up dealing Shields away. Other starters could be on the block as well. Tampa Bay needs help and shortstop and catcher.
Their pitchers could be exchanged for upgrades at those positions, leading to a dramatic alteration of their starting rotation.
The Washington Nationals have an excellent two starters in Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. Both came back from Tommy John surgery and pitched like it never happened.
Behind them are several different options, but there’s a good chance the Nationals will look to free agency. They may or may not hang on to Livan Hernandez, depending on his salary.
The rest of the starting rotation will depend on how much they can afford.
Just about everything in the Chicago Cubs organization is changing. From management to the mound, Chicago will try to do what it needs to get have a fighting playoff chance next season.
The only pitcher who is pretty much certain to return is Matt Garza. Ryan Dempster has a player option for next year, but it’s uncertain whether he’ll use it. Carlos Zambrano is essentially gone.
Management is focused on their pitching during these next few months, and the rotation should have several changes by next season.
The Florida Marlins have already said their rotation is a top priority. They are looking to add two starters to round out the rotation currently including Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez.
They may raise payroll. That could allow them to afford a top end free agent a la C.J. Wilson as they aim for a fresh start in their new ballpark next year.
Felix Hernandez is pretty much the extent of the Seattle Mariners’ definite rotation. If they bring free agent Jason Vargas back, then he’ll be in there.
They have a myriad of options to fill in the rest of the spots, but it will probably be pretty different than what they had this season.
Chicago White Sox
The loss of Mark Buehrle could hit the Chicago White Sox hard next season. There’s no guarantee he’s gone, but the White Sox will probably say good bye to John Danks. That will free up money to either hang on to Buehrle or find some new replacements.
Jake Peavy should be healthy by spring training, but his history doesn’t make that promise any more satisfying. There are several what ifs still going on in the White Sox clubhouse, but the rotation could be very different in a few months.
The Houston Astros had hoped their 2011 starting rotation would help lead them to a respectable record. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and there could be some shakeups in the pitching rotation next season.
Newcomers Henry Sosa and Jarred Cosart could have a lasting impact after being traded over to Houston. The Astros may want to move Wandy Rodriguez’s big contract as well as finding a way to trade or release Brett Myers.
The Astros are in rebuilding mode this offseason, and the rotation could be dramatically altered by Opening Day next year.
Ally Williams is a B/R MLB Featured Columnist. To contact, leave a note below or follow Ally on Twitter for updates and a constant sarcastic interpretation of the sports world.