Every spring there’s a big fuss made about a team’s Opening Day starter. Who will it be? Who wants the ball? When will the decision be made? Is this the pitcher’s first Opening Day start? It’s a nice little story about who the team pegs to toe the rubber on Opening Day, but in actuality it doesn’t mean a whole heck of a lot.

It’s definitely a nice honor for the individual that the team wants him to go on the first day of the season, but in the grand scheme of things it’s one start out of an 162-game season. The media will pour over it for days, but like I said above, it doesn’t make or break the season or a pitcher’s career.

Being named the Opening Day starter is an honor for a pitcher because it usually signifies that pitcher as the team’s ace. That’s not the case every time, but for the majority of the time it is—i.e. Roy Halladay will start Opening Day for the Phillies, Tim Lincecum will go for the Giants and Felix Hernandez for the Mariners. No questions there. Those obviously makes sense. But as I was sifting through some other team’s Opening Day starters, you start to really see that some teams are really hurting in the pitching department.

Orioles – Jeremy Guthrie. The O’s have some good, young pitchers on their staff, but they wanted to go with some experience, but this still isn’t very good.

Padres – Tim Stauffer. Mat Latos had a breakout season in 2010, but doesn’t get the nod on day one as the Padres will roll with Stauffer. Ouch.

Pirates – Kevin Correia. The Pirates “big” free agent pickup will start Opening Day for the Buccos. Correia had a 5.40 ERA last season, but lack of other quality options will dictate bad decisions like this one.

Diamondbacks – Ian Kennedy. Kennedy actually turned in a quality season last year, but I don’t see him improving much on it. This is another lack of other quality options (see above) with Zach Duke, Barry Enright rounding out your rotation though Dan Hudson should emerge as the team’s ace by the end of 2011.

Nationals – Livan Hernandez. Really? Livan Hernandez is your Opening Day starter? I realize Strasburg is still injured, but come on. How old is this guy? I looked it up, he’s 36. He won’t end up being the team’s ace, but I guess they wanted to go with experience.

Twins – Carl Pavano. Not sure what exactly is behind this decision to start Pavano ahead of Francisco Liriano, who is clearly a better pitcher and the Twins ace. Yes, Pavano had one of the better seasons for a pitcher in the AL in 2010, but a career year at age 35? I see some regression from his numbers last year.

Royals – Luke Hochevar. Yes, he has a 5.60 career ERA, but I give the Royals props for at least going the young route and giving their prospect the ball on Opening Day and see how it turns out. Then again, who else is there for the Royals…Bruce Chen?

Mets – Mike Pelfrey. Don’t get me wrong, Pelfrey’s a good, young pitcher but he is not Johan Santana. The Mets are really going to miss their ace and the fact that Pelfrey suddenly becomes your ace and R.A. Dickey your number two guy is cause for serious concern.

The lack of depth on some of these staffs is disturbing. At the end of the day (or season) who your team’s Opening Day starter is really doesn’t matter, but there’s a lot to read into about the quality of certain rotations by who is tabbed to start game one and their chances in 2011.

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