The Mariners have lost both players they designated for assignment to complete their roster coming out of spring training. First, Bobby LaFromboise has been claimed by the San Diego Padres. Second, and the sadder of the two, is that Carlos Triunfel has been nabbed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and optioned to AAA.
#Mariners lose INF Carlos Triunfel on waiver claim to Dodgers.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) April 2, 2014
Toolsy projects like Triunfel often seem to result in a full boom or bust, and while prospects rated much higher than Triunfel have busted much harder, this news is still sobering.
The Dodgers make some sense for Triunfel. Their bench is sorely lacking, and prized international free agent Alexander Guerrero hasn't worked his way up to the bigs yet. He'll most likely represent emergency depth for them, but that's about it. This is a tough time for players in this stage in their career, well past the former top prospect calling card. The best Triunfel can hope for this year is to a) stick in one place for a while and finally take a major step forward or b) become a utility infielder, earning a major league salary for prorated chunks of time. As long as Triunfel remains on 40-man rosters, it'll be hard for him to accomplish the first unless there's an injury somewhere.
It's an unfortunate end of the line for Triunfel, who debuted in the Mariners organization all the way back in 2007, at just 17 years old. His arm strength and power tools teased, and for that reason Triunfel was a name that scouts loved just a few years back. But the tools never translated to stats, and Triunfel remained a disappointment all through his Mariners career, eventually getting passed over by more recent draftees such as Nick Franklin and Brad Miller. He finally got a little crack last year but didn't do much with it, as it was just too late for him to raise his stock within the organization.
Maybe it will click for him at some point. He's still only 24, and younger than the rookie taking the hill tonight for the Mariners. He's younger than Rick Porcello. He's younger than Russell Wilson. The tools are there, and he plays a difficult position. Baseball is hard, but baseball occasionally becomes less hard for reasons unknown.
LaFromboise is an unfortunate departure, though it was clear the organization didn't think that highly of him if they were willing to lose him in favor of Lucas Luetge and Joe Beimel. He's 27, but his dominant 2012 isn't that far removed, and as long as he remains left-handed (seems probable) then he'll always have a chance to compete for a big league job in this league. Farewell, raspberry who isn't from Idaho.
In other news, Taijuan Walker is headed to High Desert to start on Friday (have fun swapping "that was a pop-up to second base, not a homer" stories with Tyler Pike!) and Stephen Pryor, ahead of schedule, will begin a rehab assignment in Jackson. Xavier Avery cleared waivers and makes a Tacoma outfield a little more complicated than I thought a few hours ago.