I think things will start happening soon, but until then…

Longtime readers know that it bugs me when commentators say that nobody is going to win 300 games again. It’s silly, because they don’t learn from history; people were saying the same thing in the sixties (before the Carlton/Seaver/Niekro/Sutton generation of 300-game winners) and the nineties (before Clemens and Maddux blew past).

It got even sillier after Maddux because there were lots of 300-win candidates on the horizon. Did you notice that Randy Johnson now has 263 career wins? And with the Yankees’ offense, he can be mediocre and win 15 games, so if he can pitch 2 1/2 more years (he is 42, but he’s only a year removed from leading the league in strikeouts, and strikeouts are the most important stat in predicting how long a pitcher will be around) he should easily get to 300. Heck, he could do it in two years.

Tom Glavine is younger than Johnson but his career’s in more trouble. Still, he’s at 275 wins, and the Mets should score some runs this year. He’s got a great chance if he’s willing and able to hang on for a couple of years as a .500 pitcher. (By the way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retire in a Braves uniform in 2007 or 2008.)

Pedro Martinez is at 197 now and enjoyed a career renaissance last year. He’s 34 (I just realized that a pitcher a few months younger than me is about to reach 200 wins, God am I old) and if he can get up to 230 in the next couple of years (again, the Mets should score runs) he’ll be in great shape.

In the Bill James Handbook, James estimates that Johnson has a 61 percent chance of 300 wins, Glavine has a 45 percent chance, and Pedro has a 33 percent chance. By multiplying the odds against each of these three guys winning 300 games, I come up with a 78 percent chance (actually, 77.5215 percent) of at least one 300-game winner just among those three guys. Throw in several other guys (Bartolo Colon, Mark Buerhle, David Wells, Mike Mussina) with reasonable chances, and it approaches 90 percent.