Salomon Torres Ramirez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 165 lb.
- High School Centro Academico Rogers High School
Salomon Torres was a pitching phenom in the early 1990s in the minors, struggled in the majors, vanished from baseball for several years, then returned to be a successful workman reliever in the 21st Century.
1990-1991: Triple Crown two-timer
Torres was signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants and began his career with the 1990 DSL Giants, winning the pitching Triple Crown (11-1, 0.50, 101 K in 90 IP). The next year, he again won the pitching Triple Crown, this time in the Midwest League. He went 16-5 with a 1.41 ERA and 214 Ks in 210 IP for the Clinton Giants to help them to the finals. He won game one against the Madison Muskies en route to a sweep. He was named to the MWL All-Star team, won league MVP honors, led in innings (211) and complete games (8) and had an ERA .89 points lower than runner-up Lance Painter. Baseball America named him the league's top prospect and ranked him behind Royce Clayton only among Giants prospects.
1992-1997: The end of round one
Salomon was on a champion Shreveport Captains club in '92 but only was 6-10 with a 4.21 ERA. Baseball America still had him listed as one of the top 10 prospects in the Texas League and the $5 prospect in the San Fran system. In '93, Torres won 17 games at three stops - 7-4, 2.70 for Shreveport with 12 BB in 83 IP; 7-4, 3.50 for the Phoenix Firebirds and 3-5, 4.03 for San Francisco. With San Francisco tied with the Atlanta Braves entering the final game of the year, Salomon got the start but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers as Atlanta won the division. Baseball America ranked him as the #3 prospect in the Texas League, #8 in the Pacific Coast League and #1 in the Giants system.
In '94, Salomon struggled, going 2-8, 5.44 for the Giants and finishing the year with Phoenix, where he was 5-6, 4.22. 1995 only presented Torres with limited time in San Fran, where he was shelled and Phoenix (1 game) before he was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for Wilson Delgado and Shawn Estes. Torres was 1-1 in five starts for the Tacoma Rainiers and 3-8 with a 6.00 ERA for the 1995 Mariners.
1996 marked continued problems. While still just 24, Torres was no longer a promising prospect. He not only was shelled in the majors (3-3, 4.59) but also with Tacoma (7-10, 5.29). After allowing 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings for the 1997 Mariners, Salomon was waived and picked up by the Montréal Expos. He had a 7.25 ERA in 12 outings for the 1997 Expos and pitched briefly for the Ottawa Lynx before the Expos also gave up on him.
Torres then became a pitching coach for the DSL Expos, a job he held in 1999 and 2000. Amazingly, his major league career was less than half over while he was coaching in the minors. He also pitched in two outings for the Samsung Lions in 2001 but was shelled, walking 10 and allowing 12 runs in 5 1/3 innings, losing both of his games.
Back to the bigs
At age 30, Torres was offered a job performing in Organized Baseball for the first time in five years when Dave Littlefield offered him a contract. He was 8-5 with a 3.83 ERA for the Nashville Sounds and got a September call-up to the 2002 Pirates, going 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in five starts. He was 10th in the Pacific Coast League in ERA. In 2003, Torres made one start with Nashville but pitched in 41 games for Pittsburgh, going 7-5 with two saves and a 4.76 ERA, being used as a reliever early in the year and a starter later on. He was 4-1, 3.20 as a relief pitcher but only 1-3, 5.54 as a starting one.
In 2004, Torres emerged as a very good reliever, posting a 7-7, 2.64 line for a 157 ERA+ while finishing third in the 2004 NL with 84 appearances. A year later, Salomon had a very similar performance (5-5, 3 Sv, 2.76, 155 ERA+, 78 games).
Torres pitched for the Dominican Republic in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, allowing one run in 3 2/3 IP. After a rocky start with the 2006 Pirates, he improved as the year progressed (posting a 1.22 ERA in the second half) and took over the closing duties when Mike Gonzalez was sidelined by tendonitis in August. Overall, he went 3-6 with a 3.28 ERA. He joined Mike Marshall and Kent Tekulve as the only pitchers with more than 90 games thrown in a single season, tying Tekulve for the club record and for second all-time.
Torres began the 2007 season on an inconsistent note, with a 0-1 record, 4.50 ERA and 12 saves in 16 tries, three times blowing saves with multiple-run leads. He switched roles with set-up man Matt Capps - in his first game in that role, though, he blew another save, relieving Tom Gorzelanny with a 4-2 lead on June 3. He allowed one inherited runner to score in the 7th. He then allowed a Russell Martin single in the 8th followed by an Andre Ethier home run to take the loss. Torres blew another game later that week. On June 9, he went on the Disabled List with soreness in the medial collateral ligament of his right elbow. Masumi Kuwata was called up to take his spot on the roster. In early July, it was revealed that Torres had filed a grievance against the Pirates through the MLBPA. Torres argued that Dave Littlefield had given him the impression the team would rent one of the two baseball academies Torres built in the Dominican Republic and that otherwise, he would not have signed for as low an amount as the club offered. When Pittsburgh did not rent either facility (both of which went to other MLB clubs), Torres became frustrated. He asked to be traded by the Pirates. When healthy, Torres did report to the team, saying "I'm going to be a good soldier right now. If they treat me fairly, I'm going to do the same with them." In mid-August, he dropped his grievance, saying "It was not up to me, as a Christian, to seek justice on my own. It is up to G-d to handle the situation." Torres is a devout Jehovah's Witness.
Torres went back on the Disabled List in late August with an inflamed MCL in his right elbow and Romulo Sanchez was called up from AA to take his spot on the Pirates roster. Torres finished 2007 with a 2-4, 5.47 record and 12 saves. His 80 ERA+ was his worst in a decade.
End of the line
Pittsburgh traded Torres to the Milwaukee Brewers in the off-season in exchange for Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts. For the 2008 Brewers, Torres pitched 71 games, going 7-5 with a 3.49 ERA (123 ERA+). He saved 28 games, 9th in the 2008 NL. He pitched two scoreless innings in the playoff. Despite the productive season, Torres decided to retire after the season to spend time with his family and concentrate on his faith.
Torres was 44-58 with 57 saves and a 4.31 ERA in 497 major league games, with a ERA+ of 101.