Fellow Royals fans, your pessimism is killing me. There is no "situation" with our future pitching staff. It is a void that can be filled more easily than you think.
I will start off by giving you the common complaints by Royals fans about our future pitching staff, and addressing them concisely.
"The Free agent starting pitching market is terrible this offseason!"
I really would not consider this offseason's starting pitching market to be "terrible", and for a reason.
Let's start out with a list of FA starting pitchers in 2012, and what I think about all of them signing with the Royals.
Mark Buehrle CWS
Buehrle has made it pretty clear that he will retire if he does not get signed by the White Sox, so, we'll skip him.
Chris Carpenter STL *
I'd think his asking price would be a tad too high, so, we'll skip him too.
Aaron Cook COL *
Aaron Cook is known to be a consistent starter/ground ball pitcher, and I think he would be a good fit with our rotation. He'd be a cheap sign, but, we'll see what Dayton does.
Kyle Davies KC
Zach Duke ARI
He would be a crap sign. We have better pitchers than this guy on our current rotation.
Edwin Jackson CWS
Paul Maholm PIT
He'd also be a decent gamble. He hasn't ever had a winning season (Partially because he played behind a terrible Pirates team), but, he has a decent career ERA (4.36) and SO/9 Ratio (5.6). He seems like another "Gil Meche 2.0", in my opinion.
Jason Marquis WAS
He seems like a sure-fire DM pickup. Former Brave, decent career.
Scott Olsen PIT *
Roy Oswalt PHI *
Tough sign, and he's thinking about retiring.
Oliver Perez NYM
Joel Pineiro LAA
Another "Gil Meche 2.0". I don't think Dayton would risk it, though, because he's starting to get over the hill.
CC Sabathia NYY (may opt out)
This would be an extremely tough sign, and I don't think that the Royals would blow their entire salary for this guy.
Tim Wakefield BOS
C.J. Wilson TEX
If we threw some money at him, we could sign him. I think it could very well happen, too. This would be the best, most affordable sign of the bunch, and the Royals may just be able to make it happen.
*Has 2012 option w/ club
(Courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts)
Sure, this draft class does look bad compared to other years, but, there are still some cheap, reliable starters on the market next year. That includes CJ Wilson, who would be my preferred pickup.
"None of our players are valuable enough to trade for a starter!"
This assumption is completely without merit, and here's the reason.
We have what pretty much everyone believes to be the best farm system in baseball, and heck, our major league team 'aint so bad either (except for the starting pitching this year). Here's an ideal trade scenario that has a good chance of working.
Why this will work, you might ask?
Well, first of all, we need starting pitching. Sean Marcum is a terrific starter.
Secondly, Prince Fielder is going to be a FA next year. The Brewers need a 1st Baseman who can hit, and Billy Butler is a 1st baseman who can hit.
Third, The Brewers can choose to give Yuniesky Betancourt a 2012 option, which they won't. Irving Falu is a great SS prospect, who is expendable for the Royals.
Fourth, Chris Dwyer is a good addition because he is a starter whose career could go either way, and he has a lot of upside. He would also be expendable if we got CJ Wilson and Marcum to long-term deals.
Fifth, Marcum is a hometown kid, so, he would likely sign.
Lock Marcum up to a long-term deal, and you're set.
"Our starting pitching in the minors sucks now!"
Actually, no, but maybe. Sure, some of our pitchers are going through a rough patch, but, That doesn't mean NONE of them will pan out in the majors, let alone in the minors. I bet that 2 or 3 of the pitchers in our system will turn out to be above average or better starters in the MLB. You could very well be right, though.
"Our starting pitching in the majors sucks!"
Whoa, not so fast there, guys! Sure, our ML starting pitching sucks, but, it's not like we don't have any adequate starters (Or relievers who could be converted into starters. *Cough* Crow *Cough*).
Here are some moves that need to be made with our current rotation:
They need to get rid of Davies and O'Sullivan.
Chen and Francis will be gone for FA.
Send Mazzarro to the minors to sharpen up next season.
After all of that is said and done, we still have Duffy, Hochevar, and Paulino, who are all adequate starters, and you have a rotation that looks somewhat like this:
After that, you still have Montgomery (Who I predict will be a reliever to start his career) and Crow waiting in the bullpen if anything goes wrong.
See? That's not so bad. In fact, it's pretty good, like a rotation for a contending team!
Let me know if I addressed all of those complaints clearly and/or accurately, and give me your opinion on what needs to be done in the starting rotation.