TRACHSEL:  “Miffed and Sarcastic” after 8-inning Shutout Wins Him Bullpen Role

“Talk to my lawyer.” 

That’s from one of the quietest, most well-spoken players in baseball. That’s also nicer than I’d be if I’d just pitched an 8-inning shutout in my first appearance this season, coming off back surgery and 8 minor league rehab starts, only to be rewarded with hints from the media that I’d lost my place in the rotation.  “It’s not right. I guess I should’ve given up one hit.”  That’s more like it, Steve.  (LINK to Marty Noble’s 8-28-05 article)

This after he and manager Willie Randolph had agreed back in mid-August that relief pitching was a  bad fit for Trachsel.  Why were they discussing the bullpen at all?  Because in Randolph’s mind, Trachsel had already lost his spot in the rotation, before he’d even reclaimed it, way back then?  Is something going on behind the scenes here?  Let’s look this over.

    1. Against Pittsburgh back in mid-August, Randolph let Jae Seo take Trachsel’s scheduled start — even though it was to be his highly anticipated return from back surgery — and gave Steve the choice of pitching as a reliever out of the bulllpen or going back down to AAA Norfolk to pitch his 8th minor league rehab start. (He went back to Nofolk) Why?  Wasn’t Seo almost as fresh out of Norfolk as Trachsel?  More so, even, as he is so recently a rookie?
    2. “It’s just a matter of, right now, our rotation’s pretty set…Seo’s been throwing the ball well [in his 2 major league starts] and we’re not going to go to a six-man rotation. The math is easy,” Randolph said.  (LINK to Bryan Hoch’s 8-16-05 article)  Does that sound like Willie was making a temporary arrangement, meant only to defer Trachsel’s return to the rotation?  Let’s do the math.  Sounds like Willie wants Seo in the rotation, at least for now.  Who else has a sure spot?  Glavine and Pedro, agreed? Plus, Benson has pitched too well all season to get booted for a few recent struggles.  That’s 4.  Who’s #5?  Read on.   
    3. Randolph has given Trachsel’s next start — against the Marlins — to Zambrano.  He cites Zambrano’s success against Florida.  Sound fishy?  (Sorry, couldn’t resist)

2 Possible Reasons Informing Randolph’s Decisions to Skip Trachsel Twice

  • Is Randolph’s decision to start Zambrano over Trachsel compromised by pitching coach Rick Peterson’s widely-publicized confidence in his own ability to “fix” Zambrano “in 10 minutes”? — That is, after all, why he was acquired, right?  Is Peterson’s confidence operating like a huge salary sometimes does, as justification for playing someone when better alternatives exist?
  • Is Randolph’s preference for Seo over Trachsel informed by feelings of guilt he would have if he sent Seo down to Norfolk AGAIN, after Seo’s been so successful and cooperative?  And — it couldn’t  be — that these feelings override  Trachsel’s veteran status?  If not, what does?  Surely he didn’t forget about him, or decide he doesn’t like him. 

    These headlines tell the story themselves:

August 16  Trachsel Back?  Not Seo Fast:  Jae’s Success Forces Veteran To Make Another Rehab Start

August 22  Trachsel’s Role in Limbo

August 23  Trachsel Set To Start

August 26  Trachsel Faces Giants in First ’05 Start

August 27  Trachsel Dominates in First 2005 Start:  8 Scoreless Innings Help Extend Mets’ Winning Streak

August 30  Trachsel Learning New Role in ‘Pen:  Righty Had Hoped to Reclaim Spot in Starting Rotation

LOAIZA:  Succumbing to One Batter Earns Manager’s Ire

“We needed a better performance out of Loaiza to have a chance to win the ballgame,” manager Frank Robinson said. “We didn’t get it.”   (LINK to Bill Ladson’s 8-31-05 article “Nat’s Can’t Contain Jones, Drop Game 1”)

Thanks to Mr. Ladson for prominently pointing out that only one player was successful against Loaiza.   All 5 runs scored on at-bats by Andruw Jones, MVP candidate for the National League.  By the way, how was the fielding?

Wells Forced To Swallow His Own Words and Spit Out Uncharacteristic Words Written by Others

Really.  Does this sound like David Wells? 

“I met today with Major League Baseball and the Players Association and was happy to have the chance to answer questions about…and to learn more about … and …

“Now that I have had this opportunity to sit down and discuss the issues, I better understand the …I now know that neither Bud Selig nor anyone else … I also understand that ….”

So, he said more than he should, about pitching.  Then he said more than he should about what someone said about that.  Then he got angry when he was not agreed with, and he said something about something else entirely.  Then someone had to say something to make this go away, so the Players’ Association put this newsmaking something-or-other out “on his behalf.”

When Major League Baseball procedures start sounding like passages out of Gertrude Stein, baseball is baseball is baseball. 

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