With AJ Burnett out the door, the Pirates rotation has a few more question marks. Guaranteed spots belong to Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton, but the water gets a little murky after that. Wandy Rodriguez is coming off a serious arm injury in which he may not be ready for opening day. Jeff Locke had a complete meltdown in the second half after making the All Star team with his first half performance. The Pirates think he was overworked, but if you look at the numbers Locke was due to be hit with some regression. He had an extremely low batting average of balls in play which was impossible to keep up. The balls that were put in play in the second half were finding holes.
The wildcard in the rotation could be Edinson Volquez. The Pirates took a gamble and offered Volquez a contract with the idea they could fix his command. Once a front line starter with the Reds Volquez in recent years has lost his command and has struggled to maintain his spot in a rotation. If Ray Searage can work his magic Volquez could be the boost the Pirates rotation needs. Maybe he can be this years Francisco Liriano.
The other key component will be Jameson Taillon. The Pirates top pitching prospect who was drafted right behind Bryce Harper should be MLB ready. I'm sure the Pirates will want to wait until the summer to bring him up, but with so many question marks it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that he could break camp.