It is one of modern baseball’s grandest traditions. Every year, without fail, Joe Torre breaks a right-handed relief pitcher through ridiculous overuse, while other, perfectly good relievers languish unused in the pen.

belisarioIt happened to Steve Karsay, Chris Hammond, Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon, Scott Proctor, and Cory Wade, and now this year it’s already happened to Ronald Belisario, the flame-throwing right-hander that the Dodgers plucked from the Pirates system, who has gone down with an elbow injury.

Belisario, with his fine 2.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, had already appeared in a team leading 43 games and was on pace to make a ridiculous 85 appearances this season.

But what makes this usage patter all the more insane is that for much of the season, the Dodgers have been carrying eight (8!) relievers on their active roster, meaning there was simply no excuse to ride Belisario so hard. Guys like Will Ohman, Travis Schlichting, and Scott Elbert sat around in the bullpen for weeks while only making a handful of appearances.

The worst part about all this for the Dodgers is not even losing a talented young arm like Belisario. It’s that now Joe Torre is going to ride Ramon Troncoso, an even more talented young arm, even harder than before (Troncoso was alread 2nd on the team with 38 appearances).

As I have about written previously, what makes Joe Torre’s usage of his favorite go-to righty of the moment so insane is how he uses them robotically only in certain situations, with no attention to proper rest, pitching guys on back to back days, and then not pitching them at all for a week, or even more bizarrely, bringing his top set-up man into blowouts on 0 days rest when he is clearly not needed at all.

When it comes to bullpen usage, Joe Torre is a madman, and he needs to be stopped!  He’s literally ruining career after career.

7 Responses to “Joe Torre has already broken another right-handed reliever this year”

  1. torre knows that his bullpen will be more needed in pressurized situations later in the season. why not run one right hander out there for the first half so the second half for the remainder of the Dodgers season is pitched in the later innings by his fully rested ready to go relievers while other teams have to keep running guys out there that they have been since opening day. It can be a career ruiner. joe torre however could not care less, he just wants to win, and hes gotten pretty good at it. joe torre has coached in no place but the biggest markets. he has no reason to care about any relievers but his closers arm for ownership will most definitely by him a new righthander if needed the following year.

    • Being a Yankee fan I can tell you the guy destroyed one of the best setup men in baseball – Ramira Mendoza – he junked him around from being a 5th starter to being a setup man to closing and back. Before long Mendoza didn’t know what role he played. He was a great 3 inning setup man… of the best… He also jerked Contrares around the same way…..I remember in the World Series Wells decided his back hurt…so Torre slaps Contrares in in the second inning after he had pitched the night before…of course Contrates got shelled. Ozzie knew how to work with Contrares and brought him back as a very effective starter with the White Sox in 2005….

  2. Paul Moro says:

    kevin, your logic is more than a bit disturbed. would YOU want torre managing you, knowing that he doesn’t care about your or your family’s future? and if you’re frank mccourt, would YOU want torre doing this to guys you’re paying? and this isn’t even getting into the realm of ethics, sacrificing the lives of human beings for your own personal gain.

  3. To be fair, Hammond was a lefty…

  4. Even if I subscribed to the theory that Torre will do anything at the cost of winning, it still doesn’t make sense to willingly ruin arm after arm, especially if they are cost-controlled. You can’t win every year, and if you hurt certain arms long-term, you prevent yourself from potential future opportunities.

    I don’t get that reasoning, kevin.

  5. Belisario has only thrown 48.1 innings, and Troncosco has only thrown 54 innings.

    Thats 104 innings for the year. If a pitcher can’t throw 100 innings in a year, regardless of thier role, then they shouldn’t be on a major league roster to start with.

  6. Nick Kapur says:

    Ron, there’s a *huge* difference between throwing 100 innings as a starter, or even throwing 100 innings a long reliever, and throwing 100 innings as a set-up man.

    It’s less about the total number of innings than about the total number of appearances and innings combined. If you throw 100 innings in 85 appearances, that is an awful lot of warming up in the pen and pitching on back-to-back days with little rest for your arm. Not to mention that set-up innings are much more high-stress innings where the game is on the line and the pitcher has to pitch at maximum effort.

    What role, when, and how often you throw your innings really does matter.

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