Remember Ramon Troncoso? He’s Back, Sort Of

From the most recent minor league transactions at Baseball America:

Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP B.J. Rosenberg, RHP Ramon Troncoso (released by Royals, July 10), 2B Albert Cartwright

None of this matters! Almost certainly, none of this matters. Rosenberg is 29 with three partial and mediocre seasons in the Phillies bullpen. Cartwright is a 27-year-old second baseman who has never played above Double-A. And Troncoso… well, hey that’s a name we remember. Right?

Not that I expect to ever see Troncoso again or even really think about him, but for a Saturday post during the deadest time of the baseball calendar? Sure, let’s take a moment to remember him. Troncoso signed as a free agent with the Dodgers way back in 2002, then pitched in 175 games for the big team between 2008-11, carving out a niche as a groundballing specialist… and favorite abuse target of Joe Torre.

No, really. I wrote about this. A lot. Just look at this string of posts from 2010:

Troncoso appeared in 15 of the team’s 22 April games, and was quite effective in holding opponents to a .208/.296/.292 line in the first month. As April bled into May and the appearances mounted, that led to a never-ending line of jokes and concerns that Torre would run him directly into the ground.
April 28 (doubleheader):

In each game, 4 relievers entered after the starting pitcher. In Game 1, followingHiroki Kuroda were Jon Link, Ramon Troncoso, George Sherrill, and Ramon Ortiz. After Charlie Haeger left in Game 2, you saw… Troncoso, Link, Sherrill, and Carlos Monasterios. I’ll forgive the usage of Link, who we all knew was getting sent back down to make room for John Ely today anyway, but Torre’s abuse of Troncoso is bordering on the ridiculous. He’s on pace to get into about 115 games this year, and Dylan Hernandez’ constant usage of the ‘paging Dr. El Attrache’ hashtag on Twitter has gone from “humorous” to “terrifying”.

May 11:

Jonathan Broxton began warming in the 8th inning, with the Dodgers up 4-2. Fine. Yet the Dodgers put up 3 in the top of the 9th after RBI hits by Loney, Blake, and DeWitt, so Broxton sat down. Also fine. Yet with a five-run lead, who comes in? Not George Sherrill, who’s been horrible. Not Carlos Monasterios, who for all his success is still a Rule 5 pick. No, Torre inserts Ramon Troncoso, now on pace for over 90 games this year. I can’t even begin to explain how boned this team is if Troncoso, the most vital non-Broxton reliever, breaks down, so you’d think you’d want to save him for important situations. But wait! This gets better. Troncoso walked Chris Young, and then gave up an RBI single to Rusty Ryal… which gets Torre to warm Broxton up again.

Troncoso, of course, got the final three outs in the next two batters thanks to a strikeout and a game-ending double play. So Torre managed to work out both of his best relievers… in a five-run game. All this, while guys who practically have middle names of “put me in only in five-run games” sat and watched.

May 20:

And then on top of it all, with Jeff Weaver warming and Carlos Monasterioswondering what he’s done to offend Joe Torre to make sure he hasn’t pitched in a week, who comes in? That’s right, Ramon Troncoso, who’s still on pace for 90+ games. The silver lining in Troncoso getting hit hard was that Ortiz got charged with the men he’d left on, but this was Troncoso’s third night in a row, and fourth in five nights. Am I really going to kill him for letting Adrian Gonzaleztake him deep? Of course not. I’ll never understand Torre’s bullpen usage, ever.

May 25:

Hey, Joe. Why are you bringing Ramon Troncoso in A) when the team is losing, B) in a tight game when he’s coming off three homers in his last two outings, and C) when he’s on pace for approximately 180 games this season? Sure, Troncoso is claiming that he’s found “a flaw in his delivery”, but is absolutely anyone going to be surprised when he ends up on the disabled list by the end of the week? Anyone?

Troncoso didn’t end up on the DL, but he may as well have. After his nice April, he allowed an OPS of .899 in May and .830 in June. He was so bad that he ended up getting sent down to AAA in early July, and he bounced back and forth several times before returning for good when rosters expanded in September – and he wasn’t much better in ABQ either, with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP.

Good times! Troncoso was DFA’d in March of 2012 in order to make room for the returning Ronald Belisario, spending the year in Albuquerque. The next spring, he caught on with the White Sox, struggling through 29 games with control issues, and spent the first half of last year with Kansas City’s Triple-A team in Omaha before being cut loose in July.

This has been a trip down memory lane. This has been almost certainly the last time you’ll think about Ramon Troncoso.

About Mike Petriello

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