Steve Trachsel was a bit of an enigma during his Mets career, at times looking untouchable and at times looking like he never picked up a ball in his life. But overall it can be said that Trachsel’s six seasons with the Mets were fairly successful as he posted a 66 and 59 record including a 16-win season in 2003.
His Met career began in 2001 when the Mets were looking to replace 2 members of their pitching staff, Mike Hampton and Bobby Jones, who left via free agency. One of the pitchers they chose to take a chance on was Steve Trachsel, a sub .500 pitcher known as an innings eater who had mainly played on bad teams, the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Toronto Blue Jays. Prior to joining the Mets his claim to fame was being the pitcher who gave up Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run in 1998.
Trachsel’s Met career could not have gotten off to a worst start, after giving up 10 earned runs over 5 innings in his Met debut he would go on to lose 6 of his first 8 decisions. The lowlight coming on May 17th when he surrendered 7 runs over 2 1/3 innings including giving up 4 home runs in the third inning.
With a 1-6 record and an ERA of 8.24 the Met fans were beyond restless and the boo birds were out in force at Shea Stadium. Scratching their heads to determine what could be done the Met brass asked Trachsel to go down to the minors to try and work things out. As a 7 year major league veteran Trachsel had the right to refuse the assignment but to his credit he accepted the demotion and made his way to the Norfolk Tides. Despite losing his first start back, his three-week stint in the minors did the trick. He went 10-7 for the remainder of the season with a 3.35 ERA in 20 starts.
In 2002 Trachsel posted an 11 and 11 record but with a very respectable 3.37 ERA (the lowest of his Met career) for a very bad Mets team. 2003 would be his best season with the Mets; he led the team with 16 wins, the most in his career, while losing 10. Included in his 16 wins were 2 complete game 1 hit shutouts, on June 15th and August 18th, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch 2 one-hitters in a season. Overall his statistics were pretty much the same in 2004, though his win total dipped to 12.
Suffering from a herniated disk in his back, Trachsel missed most the 2005 season. He did not appear in a game until August 26th. He finished out the seasons with just 1-4 record and 4.14 ERA.
Trachsel returned to form in 2006 winning 15 games, tied for most on the team with Tom Glavine despite posting a 4.97 ERA as the Mets ran away with the National League East. His 15th win of the season came on September 18th as the Mets clinched the division title. But his regular season success did not carry over to the postseason. In game 3 of the NLCS against the St Louis Cardinals, Trachsel pitched just 1 inning and allowed 5 runs. The Mets would lose the game 5-0 and would eventually lose the series in 7 games.
The Mets chose not to resign Trachsel following the season and he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. In his 6 seasons with the Mets, Trachsel won 66 and lost 59 with a 4.09 ERA.
While with the Mets Trachsel wore number 29.
Steve Trachsel also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1993-1999,2007
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 2000
Toronto Blue Jays – 2000
Baltimore Orioles – 2007,2008