That's sound I've made since yesterday every time I read or hear someone calling this upcoming season "lost" or "wasted" because of the ripof-- I mean-- "trade" the Mets made with the Bluejays. Last I checked, there are 2, not 1, wildcard spots in the NL. So, what does that translate to?
The Mets having a legitimate shot at the 2d wildcard spot in 2013... arguably a BETTER chance than in 2012!!! WOO HOO!!!
I know, I know... right now you are saying any of the following: "You're friggin' out of your friggin' mind!" to "Did you skip your meds today?" to "Sure, and Jason Bay will slug more than 3 HRs in Seattle."
But let's look at these pesky things called facts... I know they get in the way sometimes, but -- aw heck -- let's give it a shot, shall we?
FACT: In the past five seasons, the average win total for the last wildcard spot from all four wildcard winners & pre-2012 eligible wildcard teams (20 total) is 89.
FACT: There have been two wildcard eligible teams with a win total of 88, one team with 87 wins, and another with as little as 86 wins.
FACT: Only three wildcard eligible teams have won 90 or more games for that last wildcard spot in the past five seasons.
Can you guarantee the Mets won't get another 12-15 wins this year?
But here's some more facts to convince you that you may not have to get so verklemped this coming season:
Sandman has been commenting of late that he can replace the loss of Dickey with a SP that can get "10-12" wins. Some Mets fans are going ballistic over this comment because -- in part -- they interpret him as saying Dickey is a 10-12 game winner, which he clearly is not. Rather, I think what Sandman is saying is that 10-12 wins to replace Dickey's spot in the rotation leaves the Mets -- again -- seeking the remaining 8 wins from the other spots in the rotation.
So, how do we get those 8 additional wins? Here's the Wins breakdown, by rotation spot, from the Mets staff in 2012:
Dickey - 20
Niese - 13
Santana - 6
Gee - 6
Harvey - 3
Remaining SPs: 10
That's 58 wins total from the Mets starters for 2012, give or take a few missed starts. Now, let's see the projections for Wins in 2013 based on the well-respected sabermetrics geek, Ron Shandler, in his "2013 Baseball Forecaster & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics":
Niese - 12
Santana - 9
Gee - 10
Harvey - 11
Sandman's "10-12 Win" SP -11
Not counting any remaining SPs from the group above, we are already at 53 wins-- 5 MORE than the first five rotations spots from 2012.
More importantly, assuming we get 10 Wins from the infamous "remaining SPs" group, that's 63 wins. By comparison, the number of SP wins from the staffs of the wildcard teams from 2012 are as follows:
That means that the Mets are -- in theory -- only 6-10 SP wins away from contention.
But wait, there's MORE!
Shandler's projections were based on Dickey being part of the Mets rotation. As such, Dickey was the projected No. 1 SP, Niese, the No. 2, and so on and so forth. While the immediate conclusion is that it hurts more than helps the Mets SP projections because Niese or Santana will be facing better SPs by moving up a slot in the rotation, the days where No. 1 SPs face off, then No. 2 SPs, etc., are a thing of the past, left to the wayside with antiquities like scheduled doubleheaders (yes, kiddies... MLB actually SCHEDULED those things at one time!), Bat Day and players taking mass transportation or walking from their homes to the game.
STRASBURG EFFECT (or "Will Dickey's Departure Have A Material Affect On The Staff E.R.A.?"), leaving Dickey's loss an insignificant if we focus on the important measurement here: E.R.A. (since Wins are nearly unpredictable, anyway)
So, let's take a look at Mr. Shandler again, shall we?
Dickey's Projected 2013 xERA ("expected" ERA): 3.72
Niese/Santana/Harvey/Gee 2013 xERA: 3.79
That's a difference of 0.07 ("The Name is Man, Sand(y)man").
And in case you were wondering, there's even less of a difference were we to simply calculate Shandler's projected ERA.
Lest we not forget that the (1) Mets bullpen will likely be better ('cause they can't get much worse!), and (2) the Mets should have a better hitting team; after all, no one -- NO ONE -- can put together such a crappy group of outfielders for two consecutive years, right?
And while you're at it... Sandman's got a bridge to sell ya.
Until next time...