There's something I've been meaning to write about for a while, and that thing is this thing:
#Mets total pitchers used, by year: 2013 - 29 2003 - 25 1993 - 19 1983 - 15 1973 - 10 1963 - 13— Rob Cast (@_robcast) September 25, 2013
Actually, I've been meaning to write at length about this thing for a while. Which I'm not doing today. But I will point out that it's not just the New York Mets. Here's a team I've been following for a while ...
2013 - 20
2003 - 29
1993 - 20
1983 - 17
1973 - 16
Boy, the Royals' staff in 2003 ... and that was actually a winning team! Darrell May led the staff with 10 victories. Chris George went 9-6 with a 7.11 (!) ERA. Kyle Snyder started 15 games, and won once. That's three. Among the other 26 staffers that season: Les Walrond, Ryan Bukvich, Brad Voyles, Jimmy Gobble, Miguel Asencio, Jason Gilfillan ... and Kevin Appier. Still pitching today? Jamey Wright and Jeremy Affeldt. It was a weird year.
Enough of the history lesson. Obviously, better pitching usually means fewer pitchers. And the difference -- with the exception of that 2003 squad -- between 1973 and 2013 isn't nearly as dramatic as I expected. Still, if you look at all the teams, you'll find they use more pitchers now than they used to. Which shouldn't be surprising, since teams typically sports 11- or 12-man staffs rather than the 9- and 10-man staffs that were common in the 1970s and '80s.
Here's my for-the-moment-rhetorical question, though: How much of the increase is due to larger staffs, and how much is due to management's impatience with relief pitchers?