Here are the pitchers that I'm comfortable with in the Pirates' pitching staff (in order of confidence), one week before the 2013 season begins:
1. AJ Burnett
2. Wandy Rodriguez
3. James McDonald
That's not a great trio, but it's a pretty good one. Burnett had a strong year last year in the National League and in a friendly ballpark, with the Pirates' coaching staff helping him induce as many ground balls as he ever has in his career. He's getting older and he clearly ran out of gas late in 2012, but I don't really think there's any reason that he shouldn't be able to just about replicate his 2012 season for the Pirates in 2013.
Wandy Rodriguez was the Pirates' best starter after the trade deadline last year. He's 34 now and his strikeouts keep dropping, but he gets more groundballs now than he ever has and this is the sort of thing (quite possibly the only thing) the Pirates' coaching staff seems to be able to work with. Like Burnett, I'd expect his 2013 to look at ...