Best rotation ever in Chicago?

By Jason Wojciechowski on December 15, 2005 at 3:42 AM

ESPN is talking up the Javier Vazquez trade from the Diamondbacks to the White Sox as a "rich get richer" story, tossing around phrases like "best rotation ever." Ever? I hope they're kidding.

Mark Buehrle's a really good pitcher. Freddy Garcia seems to have gotten back on track after two bad years in Seattle ('02 and '03). Jon Garland might have turned a corner. But it's looking like Javier Vazquez might've just had an early peak, and you never really know what you might get out of Jose Contreras. Sure, Contreras could've figured American baseball out this year and have a few good years left in his arm, Vazquez might've been scarred by the Yankee experience and last year's upturn in Arizona might portend a return to his Montreal days, and Jon Garland might be for real.

But are we so sure of these things that we can really start using words like "ever?" Forgive me if I'm a little skeptical.

Just to pretend that this post has anything to do with the A's, let's compare the two rotations by last year's DERA (so we have a rate stat) and this year's age:

Buehrle, 273.863.12Harden, 24
Garland, 263.883.92Blanton, 25
Contreras, 344.034.15Loaiza, 34
Garcia, 304.074.20Zito, 28
Vazquez, 294.214.22Haren, 25

The A's match up pretty well. Where were the cries of "best rotation ever!" when Oakland signed Loaiza?

EDIT: A comment pointed out that I wrote "traded for Loaiza" when it clearly was supposed to be signed. Thanks for the heads-up.