Originally Posted by Cyclone792
Andy Pettitte is only 34-years-old, and he has 186 career wins as a beneficiary of some excellent New York Yankee teams. I think Pettitte has a realistic shot at 250 wins, but not quite for 300 wins. I somewhat expect him to be a controversial Hall of Fame topic as to whether he belongs as he nears retirement.
Beyond Pettitte's 186 wins, I don't see any active pitcher currently with 125-185 wins that can reach 300. We have to drop down to guys such as Tim Hudson (119 wins), Barry Zito (102 wins), Roy Oswalt (98 wins), Roy Halladay (95 wins), C.C. Sabathia (81 wins), and Johan Santana (78 wins) to see who among that crop is on the horizon. Some absolutely excellent young pitchers are on that list, and if they can maintain/improve their excellent for several more seasons and last quite a long time, then they might have a shot.
Whether or not any of those pitchers can reach 300 wins is a big time unknown, and whether or not any current pitcher beyond Glavine, Johnson, and Mussina can reach 300 wins is also unknown. What we do know is that the game is constantly evolving, constantly changing, and eventually at some point is likely to turn back and favor the pitcher instead of the hitter. When that happens, I'd say the chances of finding another 300-game winner improves again somewhat.
I agreed with the Cyclone's entire post.
Pettitte may be this generation's Tommy John, a lefty with a few 20 win seasons who was never dominant but who racks up enough career wins to warrant HOF discussion. John hasn't yet made the HOF, despite 288 wins. I'd guess that Pettitte needs 300 wins or close to it to make the HOF. Pettitte probably hurt his HOF chances by leaving the Yankees, where he would probably have won a few more games. Had he stayed a Yankee, he would also now have an excellent shot at being the Yankee career leader in wins, as he is 50 wins behind Whitey Ford, 236-186 (counting Pettitte's wins as an Astro).
With 239 wins, Mussina, age 37, does have a chance of reaching 300, given the talent around him.
I can recall reading some sports articles when free agency first arrived, with people specualting that players would have shorter careers because the "big money" they were earning would mean they would not need to play as long. Instead, players seem to be playing longer than ever. As long as someone is willing to pay a quality player millions, most decide to keep playing.
Cyclone is right about the game constantly changing. I would not be surprised to see some teams return to the four man rotation. If pitch counts are carefully monitored, pitchers arguably could be just as successful and healthy in a four man rotation. If this occurs, we could see more twenty game winners and long careers.