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Selling Steve

Mike SteffanosTuesday, July 25, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

I know I'm not the only Mets fan who finds it harder and harder to watch Steve Trachsel pitch games for the New York Metropolitans. Last night, in the privacy of my living room I let loose with a few dozen well-chosen words that I will not reproduce here. When the dust had settled on the fifth inning, and a 4-3 lead had become an 8-4 deficit, I sincerely wished I would never have to watch Steve Trachsel pitch another game for the New York Mets. Of course, I realized I was just being a poor sport. After all, Trachsel had just completed a 7-game winning streak. In his own words: "I've been throwing the ball real well for the last couple months," and he has -- right?

Well, he had a terrific start against the Giants on June 4, going seven innings and only giving up one run in a no decision. Two things are significant about that game. One, he always beats the Giants, he just has their number for some reason. Two, he hasn't completed seven innings in the nine starts since that game. In those nine starts, the first seven of which comprised his 7-game winning streak, Trachsel is averaging less than 5-1/2 innings per start. Basically, Steve is a drain on the bullpen.

The streak has run its course, and it was nice while it lasted. I'm one who believes in riding any positive streak for as far as it will take you. On the other end, we are looking at a 35-year-old junk ball pitcher who was handed a lot of big leads and was barely able to hold on for some of them. We see a guy who often approaches or exceeds 100 pitches by the fifth inning of a game. We see someone who is excruciating to watch and play behind. We see a veteran pitcher who really doesn't pitch like a veteran.

Your fun question of the day, although I admit that is has almost zero chance of happening -- Zito aside, if the Mets were able to pick up a decent starting pitcher by the deadline, and someone was desperate enough for starting pitching that they would offer you a good prospect for Steve Trachsel, would you do it? Before you answer, consider these questions:

  • Dou you really have that much more confidence when Trachsel pitches over when John Maine or Mike Pelfrey pitches?
  • Would you want to see Trachsel start a playoff game?
  • Can Trachsel help this team in the bullpen?

When we see what's being asked for starting pitching right now, while I wouldn't expect a "can't miss" prospect back in return for Trachsel, I don't think that it's far-fetched to think you might be able to trade a veteran pitcher with a winning record for someone that's John Maine caliber. Again, I know it won't happen, but it's interesting to consider.

Baseball America: Going Up, Going Down
17-year-old phenom Fernando Martinez shows up at number 3 on BA'sHot Sheet for the week:

He misses more than a month with a sprained knee, and comes back to go 9-for-17 in his first four games to raise his season line to .345/.402/.514 in 148 at-bats. You can almost hear the Mets fans singing, "I remember long ago another starry night like this, in the firelight Fernando." Well, maybe not. But it would be funny if you could.

Tip to whoever wrote that: ABBA puns are never funny, and most of your audience probably doesn't even get it. Meanwhile, balancing out Martinez is the baffling Victor Diaz, showing up on the Not-So-Hot Sheet:

Technically no longer a prospect because he has too many big league at-bats, but we just wanted to point out the fact that he is 8-for-58 in July. But hey, at least he has no home runs.

Some people use adversity as motivation to succeed. Diaz seems to using it as an excuse to sulk in Norfolk, which is why he is still there. And we wondered why Willie seemed to favor Xavier Nady over Victor...

Baseball America: Phil Humber
In today's Daily Dish, we find that Phil Humber's recovery is moving along well:

... Philip Humber was also on the mound last night and showing he is well on the road to a full recovery. Humber earned his third win of the year for high Class A St. Lucie, as the Mets righthander allowed one run over seven innings on just two hits while fanning four and walking two. He is now 3-1, 2.73 for St. Lucie.

The victory was Humber's fifth win as a pro, which gives him four more than Niemann and five more than Wade Townsend, their other Rice teammate who was also a first-round pick of the Devil Rays and is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery.

MetsBlog: Harold Reynolds gets the axe
Ah, good job by ESPN to fire the only guy that ever seemed to bring something intelligent to Baseball Tonight.

Getting Paid To Watch: Daryl's Thumb Injury
The news that of Lo Duca's torn ligament in his thumb makes Bob Sikes recall how Daryl Strawberry's 1985 thumb injury cost the Mets.

More Mets Stories:
SportsSpyder Mets
Pro Sports Daily Mets

Comments (3)

Lo Duca is a tuff cookie....its part of the package to him, you catch ,you hurt, its that simple. Gotta dig that kind of intestinal fortitude. Agree with you about Trachsel I wouldnt want to got to war with him as my third starter. Its not personal, its just that its agonizing that his stuff is just a hair above mediocre and at any second the wheels could come off bigtime. Id prefer the rookie even though the second time around the order they "get him". At least hes got the heat. As for Diaz its a matter of "fire in the belly" and "balls to the wall" determination that he doesnt apparently display. Sorry for him he's stuck in AAAA permanently. Trade him now while he still is slightly an unknown to other GMs. By next season hes finished and goes the way of the dodo.

I think to answere any question of who for what,yes or no,trade or stay put.The answere is who would you have to start the 3rd game of the playoffs and the w.s..To keep who you have or another body in the rotation, would it be better, same,or worse.I would think that should be the reason for change.

n8genius -- I think a couple of years ago Trachsel's stuff was "just a hair above mediocre." I don't think it's even mediocre any more. I give him credit for doing as well as he is with it.
Rev, I agree to a point, but there are going to be questions about Pedro all year, and you probably couldn't justify trading an experienced pitcher, even if you may not have a place for him in October. I don't know, though, if you could get someone to offer a decent prospect it would be worth thinking about. I think Trachsel became 10-5 guy this year and would be able to veto potential trades, anyway.

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