Here’s what I had this morning in The Journal News. Please take a read and feel free to rip away.
Ex-Mets pitcher Trachsel won’t talk about past
By JOHN DELCOS
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: March 5, 2007)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – There was an unmistakable tension as Steve Trachsel stood by his locker in the Baltimore Orioles’ clubhouse and tried to make small talk with a group of writers from New York.
Everyone was aware of the 800-pound gorilla of a topic nobody wanted to bring up.
And when the subject of Game 3 of the NL Championship Series in St. Louis and his departure from the Mets was finally broached, Trachsel responded with a curt, “I know what happened.”
And that is?
“Nothing I want to talk to you guys about,” was his brushback pitch of an answer.
Trachsel was wearing a new uniform, but wore the same frayed nerves as last October.
Last season, Trachsel won 15 games – in some he was scintillating; in most he struggled but was the beneficiary of support close to six runs a game – to tie Tom Glavine for the team lead.
Trachsel won 66 games for the Mets in six seasons, and last year they went 20-10 when he started. He also gave up three earned runs or less in 15 of his last 20 starts.
No doubt he was excruciatingly deliberate in his approach, but there was production.
Even so, there was speculation he might not make the playoff rotation. Trachsel’s fate with the Mets became obvious when he pulled himself from Game 3 after one inning, when he took a ball on the right thigh.
The Mets were down Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez and forced to burn Darren Oliver in that game.
So desperate the Mets were for pitching that manager Willie Randolph left Trachsel in long enough for him to give up five runs on five hits and five walks in one horrendous inning.
Were the Mets angry with him for pulling himself out of such an important game?
“No,” was general manager Omar Minaya’s emphatic denial. “We were not upset with him. When a player gets hurt, he gets hurt.”
Trachsel had no communications with either Minaya or Randolph after the season.
Minaya, however, said the Mets decided early there wouldn’t be a fit, even knowing Martinez wouldn’t be back until August and the uncertainty at the back end of the rotation.
“Steve did a great job for us,” Minaya said. “But we wanted to give Oliver Perez and John Maine and our young guys a chance to compete.”
However, Trachsel said they never told him.
“I had no idea,” Trachsel said. “I didn’t know. … I had a pretty good year.”
With pitching at a premium, and the industry knowing the Mets’ needs, that they would so easily cut ties with a 15-game winner led teams to speculate.
What really happened that day in St. Louis? Why didn’t the team try to bring back his production? How much did Trachsel leaving the team to attend to personal matters before the playoffs factor in this?
“I know what happened,” Trachsel said in a tone that did not mask his resentment.
“I’m just not going to say.”
As it got closer to spring training, was it frustrating for him to be sitting around and waiting for a call?
Trachsel did not appreciate the question.
“I wasn’t sitting around and I wasn’t waiting,” said Trachsel, who was prepared for retirement when the Orioles called.
“Three weeks ago, I was ready to stay home and play with the kids. I wasn’t ready (to retire), but I was prepared.”
On the surface, the comment lead one to believe he was at peace with himself, but the tone of his voice suggested he was not.