The Twins 2012 starting rotation had roughly the same outcome as the recent Carnival Triumph cruise.
The Twins deployed 12 different starting pitchers, each of whom got at least five starts; with the exception of Anthony Swarzak, each of the 12 got at least a full month in the rotation. Only Scott Diamond truly thrived.
And so there are no fewer than 19 starting candidates in training camp right now, almost enough to fill four five-man rotations.
The Twins were destined for a major makeover of the rotation this spring regardless of how poorly 2012 went; four of the five veterans who entered training camp a year ago as projected starters were due for free agency at the end of the year. All four -- Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Jason Marquis and Carl Pavano -- are gone now. (Baker never pitched in the regular season, so he's not one of the 12.)
The odd thing, looking at today's spring training roster, is that only three of last year's dismal dozen (Liriano, Marquis and Pavano) aren't still in the organization. The other nine -- Nick Blackburn, Sam Deduno, Cole De Vries, Diamond, Brian Duensing, Liam Hendriks, Swarzak, Esmerling Vasquez, P.J. Walters -- are still on hand.
Some are rehabbing from surgery or other injury, some are more likely to be used in the bullpen, some are destined for Rochester or New Britain or even for release. Other than Diamond, all have an uphill battle to be in the major league rotation. There are, after all, another eight candidates for the rotation, eight guys who weren't part of last summer's problem.
One might have expected a more drastic turnover from last year's disaster. Certainly some will see the continued presence of so many of 2012's starters as a failure of accountability.
But that only Diamond is truly a frontrunner for a starting job this spring tells a different story. I think three of the holdovers -- De Vries, Hendriks and Deduno, in that order -- probably deserve a better opportunity than they're likely to get this spring. The odds are against any of the three emerging as reliable major league starters, but I'm quite certain that at least one of the current rotation locks (Kevin Correia) has established that he never will.
In that sense, the failure of the 2012 rotation casts a shadow over the survivors.