While the Dodgers hope for big things from Chad "His Royal Thighness" Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Clayton "Minotaur" Kershaw--in addition to the re-signings of Vicente "Battletoad" Padilla and Jeff "Shaggy" Weaver--it's important to remember that our NL West rivals aren't just treading water with their starting ro's.
ESPN pundit Jerry Crasnick speculates that a healthy Jeff Francis may make them the NL West's best starting rotation (ESPN's Rumor Central; insider only / no link):
If Francis returns to form, the Rockies have more than a formidable rotation, they might just have the best starting five in the National League. Francis would join Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jorge De La Rosa and either Tim Redding or Jason Hammel in the Rockies rotation if he's healthy, and he's expected to be ready for spring training after spending some time at the Rockies' Dominican complex.
Meanwhile, Brandon Webb's 25-pitch performance Tuesday, his first warmup session since shoulder surgery, may herald a formidable 1-2-3 punch for the Diamondbacks (again, ESPN's Rumor Central):
If Brandon Webb is healthy this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks figure to have one of the better starting rotations in the National League with Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson backing up the sinkerballing ace.
At least we Dodger fans can take solace in the fact that the Giants' low-ball offer to ace Tim Lincecum--$8M offered by the club vs. $13M from Timmah as they head off to arbritration--will either hit the Giants in the pocketbook dearly, or test the limits of Lincecum's cavalier attitude.
And what about us? According to Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers are keeping an eye on Chien-Ming Wang, whom the Dodgers watched throw off flat ground last week. Hoo boy.