I'm wary of the talk of Dempster as a starter. He has been just fine as a closer. His work at the back of the pen has not been the reason we've struggled this year. Furthermore, moving him to the rotation would in NO WAY be an improvement on the rotation. Guzman has been solid as a starter 3.52 ERA. That's better than anything Dempster ever did, and it's MUCH better than most of the work Dempster did as a starter. I see no benefit in making a downgrade in the starting rotation to make a change at a position that has been solid for us this year. I'm glad that either Lou figured that out or that he never really considered that.
It appears that Guzman is the heir apparent. If that's the case, I like the idea of easing Guzman in. I especially like it considering that I think Dempster's as good as gone this winter as a free agent. If Guzman is the pegged "closer of the future," then it's not a bad idea to have him start to get familiar with the role. Perhaps have him be the 8th inning guy and occasional closer this year.
The question I have is what they're going to ultimately do with Marmol. Marmol doesn't have the control to be a reliever. His stuff is electric, but he has to get better command. I think he's better suited in the rotation. If Guzman is the next closer, I really don't like the idea of having Marmol in "get out of jam" duty. I can envision him walking in a few runs and adding fuel to the flames, rather than putting out a fire.
Compounding the question is the status of Zambrano. It's looking less and less likely, with the lack of clarity in the ownership situation, that Zambrano will be back next year. That leaves at least one hole in the rotation, and that's assuming that Lou will be comfortable with a rotation including 3 lefties. Theoretically, we'd need one of Guzman or Marmol to step in as the 5th starter, because our right-handed starting pitching depth drops off to AA again after those two.
I really hope the team doesn't have visions of Prior stepping back in in 2008. Meanwhile, what happened to Mateo?