Bruce Chen has re-signed giving the rotation another lefty and a chance for him to prove last season was no fluke. I wasn't especially looking forward to watching both Davies and O'Sullivan in the rotation so I'm thrilled with this signing. Just one of them is bad enough, both would be unbearable. Chen was 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 2010 but went 7-2 and 3.53 over his last 12 starts. In the last couple days the rotation has gone from an extreme liability to semi-respectable which could mean that 2011 won't be the train wreck many have predicted. They are not a dominating bunch but with a much improved defense it's not hard to envision three or four starters post an ERA+ of 100 or better.
I'm not sure who will start opening day or in what order they'll fall but I'd like to see it go Hochevar, Francis, Chen, Mazzaro, Davies/SOS. I won't really quibble with any shuffling of the first three but I still believe Luke Hochevar has the stuff to dominate (which is why I continue to sponsor his baseball-reference page). With some superb talent getting ready to knock on the door he really needs to show that he's turned the corner. Failing that his destiny is probably in the bullpen where I believe he would absolutely shine, given his draft status though that would be disappointing.
If Francis and Chen are having solid seasons I expect they'll be flipped at the deadline which would be ok since they are both only signed for this season. By that time I imagine Danny Duffy and Aaron Crow will be ready to step in take their spots.