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I Respect Pitchers Who Throw Strikes

Mike SteffanosSaturday, July 15, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Does Steve Trachsel deserve more respect than he generally receives from us? Adam Rubin opines that Steve Trachsel may be stepping up and proving that he is the Mets' best option for a third starter. While that would seem a little far-fetched, if Trachsel can continue to be as aggressive in the strike zone as he was yesterday against the Cubs, he would certainly help this club down the stretch.

For the most part, the beat writers and columnists have accurately portrayed Trachsel's personal winning streak as a combination of some good fortune and the ability to get some key outs despite wallowing in a sea of opposing baserunners. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, however, David Lennon resurrects that tired old "no respect" angle regarding Steve Trachsel:

[Trachsel] may take abuse for his plodding style, but there's no arguing with his results this season.

Trachsel (9-4) has more victories than Pedro Martinez, and by winning seven consecutive starts, he has the longest such streak by a Met since Bobby Jones won eight straight in 1997.

Even so, Trachsel, with a 4.57 ERA, is not exactly blowing people away, and he's not the type of pitcher who gets GMs excited about their playoff rotations. He's been the rotation's Rodney Dangerfield since he signed with the Mets, despite his ability to devour innings, and he is irritated by the suggestion that he's not worthy of following Martinez and Tom Glavine in October.

"I can't control that," Trachsel said. "I can only control what I do on the mound. As long as I give us an opportunity to win, what do they want? It's not like we're not getting quality starts from everybody. What else can we do?"

Spare us, please. I give Trachsel respect for being a dependable pitcher for the Mets through some dark years, but that winning streak did not equate to good pitching. Check the table I have on Trachsel in yesterday's game summary. Before yesterday, even in the games that he didn't give up many runs he allowed a ton of baserunners, which often had him one pitch from disaster. Luck and a potent offense both made large contributions to Trachsel's personal winning streak.

If, by some chance, Trachsel comes out for the rest of the year and is as aggressive in the strike zone as he was yesterday, I promise to start getting very excited about Trachsel. He probably won't continue to win every game, but he'll be a better pitcher. Luck eventually runs out and performance takes over.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Bobby Abreu
Todd Zolecki reports on why I think Bobby Abreu to the Mets is not a good fit:

Abreu will make $15.5 million next season and potentially $16 million in 2008, if his club option is picked up. Abreu, who has a no-trade clause, likely would require that it be picked up before he would accept a trade.

That would be a ton of money to commit for the next two years while also paying Beltran, Pedro, Delgado and Wagner. Taking on that sort of money for Abreu might preclude coming to long-term deals with Wright and Reyes, which would be a terrible mistake.

Baseball Prospecus ($): Selig
Joe Sheehan had an excellent long column on how Bud Selig is willing to cheapen the game of baseball with such silliness as playing the All-Star game for home field advantage in an effort to appeal to the Lowest Common Denominator -- casual fans:

... Selig, who I'll blame individually for a process that certainly involves more people than him, doesn't believe that the greatness of major-league baseball is in the day-to-day of a six-month regular season. Virtually every decision he's made over the course of his comissionership has detracted from that element, that thing that really does make baseball great, in an effort to garner short-term attention with parlor tricks.

... I'm writing about this today because it's personal. I've come to realize that baseball doesn't give a rat's ass about me. I'm a 35-year-old white guy with no kids, a decent but not great living, who has no memory of a time when he didn't love baseball. Baseball has me, and like any relationship where one partner loves the other more, baseball will abuse that relationship with no fear of reprisal. Virtually every change to the game in the Selig Era has been designed to diminish my experience at the expense of the much larger base of people who don't care so much about baseball. That's never so apparent than at the ballpark; I don't mean to sound like I'm twice my age, but the NBA-ization of a ballgame has gone well past the point of sanity.

Regrettably for those of us that really love the game, I fear those cheap "parlor tricks" will only become more common as baseball desperately whores itself to the masses who believe a hit and run is something that happens on the Sopranos.

Mets Daily: Craig Swan Interview
For those of us who have been around for a while, John Strubel has an interview on his site with former Mets pitcher Craig Swan. John offers new interviews just about every weekend, along with daily coverage of the team.

More Mets Stories:
SportsSpyder Mets
Pro Sports Daily Mets

Comments (7)

mike, I love your blog. You always tell it how it is. your a true mets fan and a fan of the game in general and write as one. You express how all mets fans feel so well it's scary. Keep up the good work buddy!


Have you thought about doing a blog like Mat cerrone's? He has all the mets news and rumors, but when he writes, he only quotes other news papers and has maybe 2 sentences of his own work per news article. I think you would do a much better job.

Just an idea

Mike I love your blog.... PS .but.. (that cracked me up, I guess he loves Mat more)

cool breez, I appreciate the compliments, especially being a true Mets fan and fan of the game. I am proud to be both. I don't feel I speak for all Mets fans -- there are lots of different opinions out there and I respect that.

I like MetsBlog. I agree we do things differently, but Matt does a great job of making his site a clearinghouse for Mets news. He also reports some news himself as he has some actual sources. What I do is very different, and that's how it should be. No need for me to do what Matt already does so well. I like the fact there are a lot of different types of Mets sites out there.

Rev, not even Lisa likes me best.

Bud Selig can be blamed for much more than just the all star turd. He is a joke of a commissioner and always will be.

I have to disagree on Abreu. Wilpon must be raking in the bucks this season. Even if SNY is not making alot he has not increased payroll in 3 years and the fans are streaming through the gates.

Abreu would be the ideal #2 hitter for us with that .449 OBP. Yes he costs 16mil but Omar is smart enough to cut that down or sign him long term and deffer some.

Javy Vasquez/Fred Garcia and Abreu would be some additions to the playoff run!

I don't think Wilpon cannot afford Abreu, but I think $16 million is more than it is reasonable to spend on a #2 hitter. They don't need to pay another offensive player max money if they hope to sign a Barry Zito this offseason. Why should Abreu sign for less when he will get that type of money from someone?

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