ANAHEIM, Calif. – For the first time in seven years, Carlos Triunfel is no longer part of the Mariners organization.
The once-promising prospect had been in baseball purgatory the last week, along with left-handed pitcher Bobby LaFromboise and outfielder Xavier Avery, after they were designated for assignment to make room on the opening-day 40-man roster.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed Triunfel off waivers and optioned him to Class AAA.
By coincidence, Triunfel will open the 2014 season at Cheney Stadium – a place he spent the bulk of the last two seasons – since the Isotopes open Pacific Coast League play against the Tacoma Rainiers.
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Triunfel appeared in 27 major-league games (10 in 2012 and 17 in 2013), hitting .167 (11 for 66) with three doubles and five RBI.
It wasn’t surprising that the Dodgers were interested in Triunfel. They have a need for infield depth and their current international director of scouting is Bob Engle, who held the same job for the Mariners for nine years. Engle and his top scout and Latin American coordinator, Patrick Guerrero, signed Triunfel as a 16-year-old shortstop out of Santiago, Dominican Republic in 2006.
Triunfel made his pro debut at age 17 for Class A Wisconsin in 2007. He hit .309 in 43 games. He put up strong numbers the next season in Class A High Desert, hitting .287 with 20 doubles, four triples, eight homers and 49 RBI along with 30 stolen bases. But he was also suspended midseason for violating team rules.
Despite the suspension, Triunfel was still ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects, and he was considered the Mariners’ shortstop of the future by then general manager Bill Bavasi and his staff.
But Triunfel’s development was derailed two games into the 2009 season when he suffered a broken leg while sliding into third base. He basically missed the entire 2009 season.
Triunfel returned in 2010 and hit .257 in Class AA, but posted just a .286 on-base percentage and .332 slugging percentage. Improved numbers at Class AA in 2011 earned a late promotion to Class AAA Tacoma. He spent the bulk of 2012 and 2013 with the Rainiers. He posted decent numbers — a .271 batting average with a .315 on-base percentage and .388 slugging percentage. But he never developed consistency at the plate or in the field.
LaFromboise was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres. Avery cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Tacoma.
• The Mariners in conjunction with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are donating $225,000 to assist with the recovery from the devastating mudslide in Oso. “The scope of this tragedy is almost too big to comprehend,” Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said in a news release. The monetary donation will be made to the American Red Cross Washington Landslide Relief Fund.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373
On Twitter: @RyanDivish