It might be interesting to consider what's in store for players who have changed teams while the hot stove burns. Here are Bill James's projections for the performances of a handful of key players.
Remember that these projections were assembled prior to the signings and trades that have dotted the off-season, and that projections are not predictions. And that Bill James is not God. In fact, he finished fourth in the holy trinity.
2012 .285/.354/.577 43 HR 148 games
2013 .289/.356/.540 35 HR 147 games
This is an exceedingly generous projection considering:
1. Hamilton has moved from Arlington to Anaheim, which should punish his stats a bit.
2. The number of games Hamilton has stayed healthy for in a season looks like this: 90, 156, 89, 133, 121, 148. The logical next number is not 147.
2012 20-8, 2.73 in 234 innings, 54 BB, 230 K
2013 16-8, 3.58 in 226 innings, 56 BB, 152 K
Projections on pitchers are difficult enough, but with a unique subject like Dickey who really has no comparables, examining other players is not necessarily helpful. Given that, this projection seems eminently reasonable. This suggests he'll still pitch very well but won't dominate. Translated to Toronto, and the AL Beast, these numbers are likely to degrade further.
2012 .273/.320/.467, 22 HR in 134 games
2013 .284/.332/.489, 23 HR in 137 games
Morales broke out in 2009, his first full season, hitting .306 and smacking 34 homers. Off to another estimable campaign in 2010, he broke his leg jumping on the plate during a walk-off celebration. James is suggesting that last year was Kendrys's new normal, which will be normalized lower playing in Seattle's dead-ball zone. Projections also suggest that he'll want to poke his eyeballs out with hot needles after watching the likes of Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez take their hacks. Speaking of which . . .
2011 .245/.329/.374, 12 HR in 123 games
2012 .165/.237/.299, eight HR in 70 games
2013 .247/.343/.413, 17 HR in 133 games
So James suggests that Bay will deliver the greatest bounceback from irrelevance as a 35-year-old in MLB history. Of course, the projection system didn't know that Bay would become part of a platoon -- with 104-year-old Raul Ibanez, no less -- making 133 games played (and therefore 17 dingers) as likely as good parenting from the platoon of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
2011 with Royals - .305/.339/.470 in 155 games
2012 with Giants -- .346/.390/.516 in 113 games before his blood turned him in
2013 with Blue Jays -- .295/.348/.432 in 148 games
In other words, the projection system says that not only was 2012 a steroid-induced fluke, 2011 wasn't to be believed either. The 2013 projection isn't much better than Melky's lifetime averages, which, absent the two years in question, were below average. Good luck with that, Blue Jays.
2011 with Phils -- .279/.355/.491, 19 steals, 17 HR
2012 with Phils & Dodgers -- .255/.321/.383, 39 steals, 11 HR
2013 with Red Sox -- .269/.338/.418, 29 steals, 14 HR
Can you say, "split the difference?"
Lifetime .256/.361/.467, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 86 R, 84 BB, 134 K
2013 .256/.362/.458, 25 HR, 86 RBI, 82 R, 86 BB, 143 K
Sheesh, I could have projected that. I guess the Indians know who they signed.
Doubtless, one of these players is headed surprisingly south with his performance (unless it's Bay, who already inhabits baseball's Antarctica, and could therefore neither go south nor disappoint) in a manner beyond the capability of the projection system to foresee. Hey, if the game were predictable, it wouldn't be fun.