Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 77, Trombley’s rubber arm


The Minnesota Twins are just 77 days away from opening day in Baltimore. As we near that day, we will tap into Twins history related to each number as we get closer!

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until opening day on March 29th in Baltimore.

The Twins have had a number of pitchers who have had rubber arms in the organization’s history. While none has matched the 90 games of Mike Marshall (and only 2 others have thrown even 80 games), the team has seen 36 seasons of 70 or more games and 17 of 75 or more games thrown. Mike Trombley‘s name dots that list throughout, peaking with his 1998 season, where he threw in 77 contests.

Trombley’s Twins time

Trombley was born in Massachusetts and earned his way to Duke’s college baseball program. The Twins made him the 14th round selection out of Duke in 1989.

Trombley would be labeled a “soft-tosser” in modern game, with a fastball that averaged in the mid-80s, making his living off of weak contact and using excellent his excellent curve and change. One of the big benefits of not working with premium velocity was that Trombley was able to rack up plenty of minor league innings.

He was able to put together 176 innings in 1990 with high-A Visalia and 191 innings with AA Orlando. Trombley made his debut in 1992 with the Twins, throwing 165 minor league innings with AAA Portland before bumping up to the major leagues, where he threw another 46 1/3 innings. That earned him the #53 overall ranking in Baseball America’s top 100 prospect ranking.

Trombley worked as a swingman in 1993, making 44 appearances, 10 of them starts, tossing 114 1/3 innings. He lost his role in 1996, having tallied 141 appearances, 35 of them starts, throwing 375 1/3 innings, with a 4.73 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 8.7% walk rate, and 16.9% strikeout rate.

When he was sent down in 1996, Trombley has said that he learned the split finger at that time, and it turned around his career, giving him a pitch to get swing and miss. From 1997-1999, Trombley made 219 appearances, just one of them a start, throwing 266 1/3 innings, with a 4.09 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.8% walk rate, and 21.5% strikeout rate.

Trombley even worked as the Twins closer in 1999, saving 24 games. He would throw his 77 games in 1998 with 96 2/3 innings thrown, a 3.63 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 9.9% walk rate, and 21.5% strikeout rate. His final season with the Twins was in 1999, when he pitched in 75 games. He tossed 87 1/3 innings, with a 4.33 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 7.4% walk rate, and a 21.8% strikeout rate.

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Post-Twins career

Trombley left Minnesota for Baltimore as a free agent in the 1999-2000 offseason. He had a solid season with the Orioles in 2000, making another 75 appearances.

In 2001, Trombley was on his way to another excellent season with the Orioles before he was traded midseason to the Dodgers, where he struggled down the stretch.

With the game’s increasing focus on velocity, Trombley struggled to find a market that offseason, and he returned to the Twins on a one-year deal, but he struggled once he got to the majors. The Twins released him after 5 games.

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In 9 years with the Minnesota Twins, Trombley made 365 appearances, 36 of them starts, throwing 645 2/3 innings with 24 saves. He put together a 4.53 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, totaling a 8.7% walk rate and 18.8% strikeout rate.

Overall, he put up a 4.48 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 509 games and 795 2/3 innings, totaling 44 major league saves.

As a player who played for both, surely Trombley will have an eye on that opening day game March 29th in Baltimore with the Orioles and Twins!