During the Major League Baseball offseason, players aren't the only ones switching teams.
Since 2004, Fredonia resident Marc Tramuta has been the National Crosschecker for the Toronto Blue Jays, a job he has enjoyed since giving up his position as an area scout for the Baltimore Orioles. However, in early fall, Tramuta received an unexpected call from the New York Mets.
"I think it was the last week of September, early October and the Mets called for permission to talk," Tramuta said. "The Blue Jays have a club policy that if it was a lateral move, they would deny permission. That started with (former manager) John Farrell two years ago when Boston wanted him the first time. They said that it had to be an upward move."
Wanting the chance to explore what the Mets were offering, Tramuta accepted the opportunity to talk with the team, and eventually, their offer to become the Assistant Scouting Director.
"It was an upward move in title," Tramuta said. "The title's a bump, the responsibilities are probably 95 percent the same.
"I'll be involved more with this title in the development of the department and the decisions that are made within the department more so than when I was a national crosschecker," Tramuta added. "It was a difficult decision. I was there nine years."
One area where Tramuta will have more input is the MLB draft, which is held every June, which is fine with him, given his preference for working on the amateur side of the business.
"I'm in a different city every day," Tramuta said. "I'm on a plane every other day and a different hotel every day. And I like the rush and adrenaline you get because there's a deadline, with the draft being (the deadline).
"My clock gets running on February 1, because you know you have four months until the draft," Tramuta continued. "There's more projection. There's more to it when you're projecting a 17 or 18-year old as opposed to maybe a kid who is in double 'A'."
Making the transition easier for Tramuta was the familiarity he had with some of the people in his new department.
"Former Blue Jays General Manager, J.P. Ricciardi, is there," Tramuta said. "And there's a couple of other guys that I worked with in Toronto."
Another aspect that has made Tramuta's transition to a new organization easier is the fact that his wife, Tanya, is a long-time Mets fan.
See TRAMUTA, Page B3
"She didn't really know too much about this," Tramuta said. "So I walked in the door and I said, 'Guess who called for permission today talk to me?' And I gave her a look and she said, 'Get out of here!' I said, 'Yeah, the Mets.' She said I better take it."
Needing to see the specifics of New York's offer, and weighing the decision to leave a team he had been with for nine years, Tramuta eventually decided to make the move to the Mets.
"It was tough to leave somewhere that you had been nine years," Tramuta said. "Two of my best friends with Blue Jays are assistant (general managers). One stood in my wedding. So I talked to both of those guys and they encouraged (taking the job) because it was a step up."
Tramuta, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a junior out of St. Bonaventure University in the 45th round in 1991, knew that he wanted to try and stay in the game once his days as a player were done.
Tramuta was eventually released by the Dodgers and picked up by the Houston Astros. After being released at the age of 22 by the Astros, Tramuta went back to St. Bonaventure to join the coaching staff and finish his Bachelor's degree.
"I liked coaching, but I had much more passion for (scouting)," Tramuta said. "And some of the guys that had seen me play, we struck up conversations, and I knew them a little bit from when I visited them as a player. And I said I'd really like to get into (scouting), so a couple of them recommended me and I kept contacting clubs over the course of a two-year period.
"It's not something you can send a resume in for," Tramuta continued. "Like anything, it was networking. I was fortunate that the guy with the Orioles helped me get an interview and it led to a job in October of 1996."
With the duties Tramuta has had as both an area scout for the Orioles and as a National Crosschecker for the Blue Jays, spending more than half the year on the road and staying in hotels has become the norm. Fortunately, he has someone who fully supports what he has chosen to do for a living.
"She's been 100 percent supportive," Tramuta said of his wife. "I never take it for granted, but it's something that you know when you're traveling, you don't have to necessarily worry about the family part. I try to get home, but she knows there are certain parts of the year where I have to be gone and there are certain times of the year where I can manipulate my schedule.
"It makes life easier when you have someone who is tremendously supportive of what you do," Tramuta said. "It's definitely a plus."