2014 Dodgers in Review: IF Carlos Triunfel

MiLB 321 .223 .256 .330 44 4 n/a
MLB 16 .133 .188 .333 47 1 -0.1

What happened in 2014: Was bad at baseball. So, so bad.

The brain works in mysterious ways sometimes, because I remember exactly where I was when the Dodgers acquired Carlos Triunfel. I have no idea why I remember that. There’s absolutely no reason for me to still remember it. And yet, here we are. On April 2, I was waiting for a bus to head home when I saw a press release come out via email that said the Dodgers had claimed Triunfel off waivers from Seattle. We cared about it so much that we didn’t even give the man his own post, instead having Brim toss a mention into that night’s game thread:

Triunfel is primarly a middle infielder, where the organization lacks depth. He is known as an okay defender, perhaps a bit better than average at second or third but not at short. His best tool, by far, is his arm. Baseball America has listed him as the Mariners’ best infield arm for the last seven years in a row.

Triunfel went off to Triple-A, and we never thought about him again, until we did. But even when we did, we didn’t; Triunfel was initially recalled on April 27 when Jose Dominguez was sent down, but he was returned to Albuquerque two days later without having seen any action. And why not? Look at his Triple-A stat line above — Triunfel breaks the “it’s easy to hit in Albuquerque” rule, because he can’t hit anywhere.

That aborted recall began what was a season-long odyssey of ups and downs. Just look at his transaction log, won’t you?

  • June 14: recalled when Chone Figgins went on DL
  • June 26: optioned when Juan Uribe returned from DL
  • June 29: recalled when Justin Turner went on DL
  • July 3: optioned, with Erisbel Arruebarrena coming up
  • July 6: recalled, with Arruebarrena (hip) going back down
  • July 18: optioned when Turner returned from DL
  • August 16: recalled when Uribe went back on the DL
  • August 19: optioned when Arruebarrena returned
  • Sept. 1: DFA’d to make room on the 40-man for Joc Pederson
  • Sept. 5: Outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers

Now that’s a fun year! Triunfel had just two hits as a Dodger; one, inexplicably, was a home run, and you should feel plenty bad about that, Tommy Kahnle. I’m not going to pretend I have a ton of memories about Triunfel’s contributions, but I did, apparently, say this on July 6:

Carlos Triunfel has no place on a big league roster, for like a dozen different reasons.

That sounds about right, and while I don’t think the GIF I’m about to show you was specifically the cause of that, it certainly didn’t help. In retrospect, this is a terrible quality GIF that doesn’t show anything clearly, but what it’s meant to be is a throwing error on Matt Kemp, helpfully caused by the man covering third base deciding not to turn around for the throw:

GIF Link

Let’s sum up Triunfel’s entire season in randomly-selected Chad tweets:

When I was writing this back on Oct. 24, I mentioned it in the comments of that day’s post. Brim chimed in:


…which sounds absolutely right. But despite the fact that Triunfel has seemingly been around forever — he signed with the Mariners back in 2006 and was twice a Baseball America Top-100 prospect — he’s still not even 25 until February. No, that doesn’t mean I have hope for him to ever become a big leaguer on either side of the ball; he can’t hit, and he’s not a good shortstop. But if there’s one thing he has, and has always had based on that Brim quote above, is an absolutely fantastic throwing arm. With Kenley Jansen a star, and Pedro Baez showing promise, Triunfel is my next conversion project. He’s still young and might not have a future anywhere else.

Now, whether Triunfel is interested is a different question, because he made it to the bigs as a shortstop, while Jansen and Baez were far away and likely never going to advance, and Triunfel might not be interested in what would be at least a year or two or three in the minors trying something new. But really, throwing arm is the one skill Triunfel has. He might as well take advantage of it. And just for the record, I said this back in July, and Dave Cameron ought to know — not because of FanGraphs, but as a Mariners fan, he’s seen more of Triunfel over the years than any of us have.

2015 status: Free agent. Whatever. Go away.

About Mike Petriello

Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.