NOTE: This is completely premature, and as you are probably all aware, some of this may change as the season goes on.
Let me just say this up front: If the Royals are really willing to contend in 2013, we need to put a good starting rotation on the field.
So far, we have shown some signs of doing this, but we continue to hope that Luke Hochevar has a good season, and hope that Luis Mendoza is like he was in the minors, and hope that Jonathan Sanchez returns to form.
So, here is who the Royals should put out there every 5th day in 2013 (If they wish to contend):
#1: The Elite FA starter.
No excuses, Royals. If you really wish to contend, you will put a proven #1 starter out there to headline our rotation in 2013. These pitchers include Cole Hamels, Zack Grienke, and James Shields. Get one of them. We need them. Badly.
#2: Danny Duffy.
Duffy has the best chance out of all of our pitchers to develop into a legit ace (or at least a legit #2). So, let him continue his development at the top of the rotation. He deserves it.
#3: The Young Trade Acquisition.
Another thing we will need to pick up (Since our pitching in the minors has been slow to develop) would be a young #2 or #3 starter that is under control for at least the next 3 years through a trade. Some examples include Brandon Morrow of the Blue Jays, Garrett Richards of the Angels (Minor Leaguer), or Randall Delgado of the Braves. We could really use one of these types of players in the rotation, and a trade would be the best (And probably the only) way to get them.
Bruce Chen is already under a contract, and I guess it depends on what kind of season he posts in 2012 if we want to keep him in the rotation. If he sucks, get Colby Lewis. He's an anchor for a rotation, as he can eat up 200 innings a year. I would prefer Lewis even if Chen does good, but it would not surprise me if the Royals throw Chen back in there if he has a half-decent season.
#5: The Minor League Starter (From our own system).
How does that sound? What is your plan for 2013?