Out of Touch With Reality
Steve Trachsel is so fixated on his number of wins in 2006, you would have thought he votes for the Cy Young Award.
"I was a little surprised based on winning 15 games and being healthy and all that. There was a large flurry of signings early. We just didn't know what to think. A lot of pitchers signed for a lot of money, and teams probably got to their spending limit early."
Huh? What? Is he living in the same universe as we are? Pitching was so sought after this off-season, it became the craziest off-season for pitching ever. You saw the biggest contract handed out to a pitcher in the history of the game, two Japanese pitchers get big league teams to cough up $80 million just to get the privilege of paying more money to sign them, and guys that have no business getting big time money, getting paid like they actually deserved it. However, Steve thinks everyone hit their budget early. Quite the contrary. Teams still are desperate for pitching, but only the Orioles are Steve Trachsel desperate.
His 93.9 p/gs, 1.60 WHIP, .288 BAA, 4.97 ERA, and 1.01 K/BB ratio in the NL East strangely failed to instill much confidence in his abilities for prospective employers. If Kris Benson did not go down, 15 game winner Steve Trachsel would have been jobless. The funny part is, if you look at qualified starting pitchers to see where he ranked in terms of run support, you wouldn't see him. Considering me made 30 starts, that is no easy feat. If he was qualified, he would have letd all NL starters with 6.61 and would have been fourth overall in the bigs. I wish Steve luck and do not mean to trash him, but when someone makes stupid comments like that, you cannot help but scratch your head.
3. Oliver Perez, Mets
It was only three seasons ago that Perez was among the best left-handers in the game, whiffing 239 in 196 innings. Since then, two pitching coaches have tried and failed to correct the erratic mechanics that have created inconsistent velocity: Sometimes Perez was clocked in the 90s the last couple of years, sometimes in the mid-80s. And he's been pummeled, allowing 231 hits, 138 walks and 43 homers in 215.2 innings. It's not unreasonable to think Perez may have been a one-hit wonder.
Now the Mets, who did not upgrade their rotation with veterans over the winter, are looking for Perez to rediscover his overwhelming stuff again, under the tutelage of pitching coach Rick Peterson. A bounce-back year from Perez might be enough to put the Mets back into the playoffs, considering the strength of New York's everyday lineup and bullpen.
He spent the winter plunging his left hand into a bucket of rice to strengthen his fingers, but the true test will come when Wagner has to reach back for a 98-mph fastball. That's when he will be at his most vulnerable point, and it was a feeling he knew all too well last season.
"I was grinding from the day I stepped out there," Wagner said. "Nothing was easy. This year, hopefully I'll go out there and pitch a little bit more relaxed - on edge and more where I need to be. [Last year] I was always behind the eight-ball the whole time.
Scott (Hamden, CT): Tim, you should get a snow thrower -- they work wonders. Anyway, how does the order of finish in the NL East look this season...I'm going: 1) Philly, 2) NY, 3) Atlanta, and the others don't matter...
SportsNation Tim Kurkjian: First off, my snow blower is broken and it wouldn't work in the ice I have to dig through. I'm going to stay with the Mets to win the division, because of their offensive capabilities. But there's no question that the Phillies can win this division and so can Atlanta, because of the Mets' starting pitching issues. But I think the Mets can hit their way through some of those issues and then eventually are going to find some pitching help from somewhere and win the division.
Pedro Martinez will come back sometime, maybe stronger than he has been in four years.