With the recent performances of Kevin Correia and Brad Lincoln, the additional injury to Karstens and the devastating news that Morton will need Tommy John surgery it is as clear as ever that the Pirates need to address what was not so long ago viewed as the strength of this team, the rotation. An external option could be added but in the short term the Pirates best option is to explore internal options.
Karstens deserves a rotation spot when healthy, Lincoln has shown himself as a valuable bullpen arm and Correia despite being pretty bad has shown his worth by the simple act of sticking in the rotation (injuries). Neither Lincoln or Correia should be starting going forward though which leaves the Pirates with the AAA starters as the only internal options. Down in AAA the Pirates start Jeff Locke, Rudy Owens, Jo-Jo Reyes, Rick VanderHurk, Justin Wilson and Daniel Cabrera. Of those options Locke and Owens are clearly the best two for the Pirates. It is time for the Pirates to give one of these guys a shot and my vote as you can see by my post’s title is for Rudy Owens.
This is Owens’ 2nd season in AAA and while his first one was a little rough his second one has been very good plus he has past success at all other minor league levels. His stuff isn’t the best but he has great control and while he might end up being worse than either Lincoln or Correia he does provide upside that neither of those two have. Plus with obvious holes in the rotation next year (no Bedard, Correia or Morton) the Pirates need to see what they have in Owens and Locke to know how much they need to address the rotation.
Whether or not you buy this Pirate team as a contender is irrelevant to this discussion. Owens and/or Locke are better than Correia and/or Lincoln for this team in the future and the present. The time to make a switch is now.