Ramon Troncoso Back in Blue?


Ramon Troncoso‘s Dodger career has suddenly been resurrected. According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Dodgers have signed the long lost right-handed reliever to a minor league deal. Kansas City had released Troncoso (who we have referred to in the past as “Tronsucko”) back on July 10, 2014. The Dodgers also signed right-hander B.J. Rosenberg and second baseman Albert Cartwright.

I’m entertained by the prospect of Ramon Troncoso being back in Blue. We have followed his journey since he debuted with the Dodgers back in April of 2008. He spent four seasons with the Dodgers before Joe Torre wore his arm out. In 2009, he pitched in  82 2/3 innings out of the Dodger bullpen, and he had a career-best 2.72 ERA over 73 games.

Troncosco hasn’t pitched in the majors since his 29-game stint with the Chicago White Sox in 2013. Both Troncoso and his old pal Ronald Belisario both ended up with the White Sox on their intertwined MLB path. More on that later. It is unknown whether Troncoso will get an invite to Spring Training, but I don’t see why not.

Jul 29, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Ramon Troncoso (40) walks off the field after giving up a game-winning home run to Cleveland Indians pinch hitter Jason Giambi (not pictured) in the ninth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Sadly, Torre overused Troncoso in 2010, and his sinker ball was never quite as effective as it was back in 2009. Last season he was with the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers, and he pitched in 44 innings. He finished with a 1-6 record and a 4.30 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 11 walks. Troncoso’s major league career ERA is an even 4.00.

The crossing storylines of Ramon Troncoso and Ronald Belisario have been oddly entertaining. The two former Dodger relievers were reunited in Chicago after the Dodgers had moved on from the turbulent offseasons of Ronald Belisario. The Dodgers went on to invest in an even more volatile right-handed reliever…Brian Wilson. It makes me wonder why the Dodgers didn’t just bring Beli back instead.

Both Belisario and Troncoso had successful seasons with the Dodgers in 2009, but both also struggled subsequently which inadvertently all stemmed from Torre’s mismanagement of the bullpen during his reign. When Belisario struggled, then Torre went to Troncosco too much and ended up overusing him in order to make up for Belisario’s inconsistencies.

Ramon Troncoso was dealt another blow by being designated for assignment in order to make room for Ronald Belisario. This was in order to activate Belisario from the restricted list after he was handed a 25-game suspension to start the season after testing positive for cocaine the previous year.

After Troncosco’s downfall in 2010 and the eventual departures of both Troncosco and Belisario to Chicago, I thought I closed the book on the Troncosco saga. Apparently, the 31-year old reliever is set to make a comeback with his original team.

Ronald Belisario signed with Tampa Bay last month, and short of a trade between the Dodgers and Rays again, Beli will be vying for a spot in Tampa Bay’s bullpen on a minor league deal. Ramon Troncoso may not pitch again at Dodger Stadium, but his story sure lends itself to memories of Joe Torre and the past. Ramon Troncoso was called up after Hong-chih Kuo was injured. Now Troncoso has another shot, and Torre is far away from him this time in his New York office.

Maybe Troncoso can find this slider again…