By Jason Wojciechowski on June 19, 2006 at 4:06 AM
To prove I still exist (I do, I promise! Law school exams are just harrowing and preparing for them took up massive amounts of time), I'm going to say good-bye to Steve Karsay. I'm unfortunately old enough to remember the 1993 trade that sent him to the A's in exchange for Rickey Henderson. I was ready for him to break out for the A's in 1994 after a solid debut in '93, when he put up a league-average ERA in eight starts as a 21-year old. Unfortunately, it never happened. His first full year in the bigs didn't come until 1997, when he made 24 starts and managed a 3-12 record for an awful Oakland A's team that nearly lost 100 games. It wasn't all team quality, though, as Karsay put up a woeful 5.77 ERA.
Karsay left the A's in 1997 via a trade to the Indians, for Mike Fetters, who pitched only part of 1998 with the A's before being sent to Anaheim.
I hadn't even realized that Karsay came back to the A's in a trade with Cleveland this year until the day after my last final exam (like around May 19th), when I saw his name in a box score. It gave me happy fuzzy memories of those bad A's teams of the mid-90's. I was too naive then to realize that there are two kinds of teams that play lots of young players: those who are playing the good, young, promising kids so they'll have a championship squad a few years down the road; and those who are playing some marginal AAA players because they've got no one else on the team. The A's were playing Damon Mashore, Tony Batista, and Brian Lesher with some regularity in 1997, but I didn't realize that these guys fit into the latter of my two categories.
Karsay had the arm to not be lumped with Mashore, et al., but he just never managed to stay healthy. That said, he managed to pitch in over 350 major-league games, which is that many more than I'll ever get to play in, and pulled down upwards of $25 million for his career (21 of those millions coming from an ill-advised four-year contract the Yankees awarded Karsay after his outstanding 2001 seasons, split between Cleveland and Atlanta).
He says he wants to stay in baseball in the front office. If he's a smart cookie, hopefully the A's can find a place for him. They're not the organization that drafted him, but he made his major-league debut in green-and-gold, and he pitched his last game (a win in last night's marathon against the Dodgers) in the same colors, so it would be only right.
All the best, Steve!