Kyle Lohse still doesn't have a home, and there could be a few more trades of starting pitchers. But there is enough information available to rank the 10 best rotations for 2013.
The rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello took the Tigers to the World Series, and they could be even better in 2013. Verlander is generally regarded within the industry as the best pitcher on the planet, Fister is coming back from a season in which he was nagged by an oblique injury, and the Tigers will benefit from a full season of Sanchez, who was re-signed to an $80 million deal.
Detroit is listening to offers for Porcello and if the Tigers find the right deal, they would presumably replace him in the rotation with Drew Smyly. But they always have the option of holding their pitching depth; last season, they struggled constantly to find fixes after Fister got hurt. Rival evaluators believe that the Tigers' pitching will be helped by the defensive cleanup that Detroit has done in its outfield, adding Torii Hunter and removing Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young.
Linchpin guy: Scherzer. After he dominated the Yankees in the playoffs, some of their hitters raved about Scherzer's pure stuff and development. In the second half of 2012, he was among the most dominant pitchers in the majors. Check out his month-by-month numbers in the table to the right.
Scherzer is known as somebody who tinkers and sometimes overthinks. If he holds on to what he found last year, he could be the difference between an excellent rotation and something even better.
Stephen Strasburg is back and healthy, and if Washington follows the typical industry guidelines for building innings in young starters, he'll be able to throw something in the range of 190 innings. Strasburg will be at the front of a rotation that has Gio Gonzalez, who finished third in the NL Cy Young race last season, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren.
Linchpin guy: Zimmermann. He will be three years removed from his Tommy John surgery, and is ready to become, for this staff, what James Shields was to the Rays' rotation -- the reliable front-end guy, the plow horse. Even in a season in which he seemed to tire in the final weeks, he had an excellent year, posting a 2.94 ERA. And the best is yet to come for the 26-year-old.