The newest '08 preview takes a look at the starting rotation. The start of the article is actually very interesting, as it flashes back to the LoDuca-Penny trade that Paul DePodesta was largely criticized for when it happened. The best quote is this:
"This flashback serves as a reminder that snap judgments on roster moves are made at one's peril. After all, anyone want to trade Brad Penny for Lo Duca today?"
So very true. While LoDuca's career is certainly stumbling (bad knee, bad team, oh and that steriod thing...), Penny has been in 2 straight All-Star games while winning 16 games each. The way he stepped up his game after fizzling out in the 2nd half of '06 was remarkable. I can say with full confidence that he is now considered an ace, and people should stop questioning his ability.
The rest of the article focuses on the rest of the spots. Derek Lowe is considered the key, as he suffered through an injury-plagued season. He's shown that he can be a big-game pitcher in the past. Hiroki Kuroda is an unknown, but expectations are somewhat high because of his contract. Luckily for him, he's expected to be the 4th starter, which should ease some tensions. Chad Billingsley is considered an "ace-in-training" because of his great stuff. This could be his year.
Then there's the last spot, which could go to any of these guys: Jason Schmidt, Esteban Loaiza, Hong-Chih Kuo, Eric Stultz, and Chan Ho Park. Injuries and just plain bad pitching have hurt all of them. Should be interesting.