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Thursday Morning Rockpile:

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Still not much news, the big thing yesterday being Mark Redman and Kip Wells becoming members of the team officially. As discount rotation insurance -possibly found over the Internet or on the midnight commercials of local TV- they aren't terrible options. If Hirsh, Jimenez and Morales don't live up to expectations, we were going to be in a screwy position anyway, but last season at this time we were looking at Brian Lawrence and Byung Hyun Kim in these roles. It's an incremental upgrade, but it still qualifies.

David Pinto, who usually writes for the Baseball Musings website, has another gig at The Sporting News wherein he notes that the Diamondbacks now have the majors best starting tandem when looking at a basic and somewhat flawed stat called Earned Runs Prevented. He goes into the details of its limitations -mainly by unfairly favoring pitchers in hitters parks- but it does provide a quick and dirty gauge of a rotation's effectiveness.

There's a considerable gap between AZ and the field, but the Rockies duo of Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook did rank #3 last year despite missing Cook for a chunk of the season. Again, keep in mind the bias in the stat, but the Rockies had a solid foundation, and we're not as far behind as we could be. Frankly, I think we can forget about a similar trade to help us keep up. The three pitchers rumored to be available who still might qualify, Johan Santana, Joe Blanton and Eric Bedard aren't going to come without cheaply. Where the team needs to make up the ground on Arizona is their weaker 3-5 slots. That means our kids have to step up and we've got to hope for more RJ back troubles and that hitters do a better job of laying off Doug Davis' junk in 2008. I'm telling you, Arizona hand is definitely trouble for next year, but we've got a legitimate shot at beating it.