After two dominating years with the Pirates, Rincon came to the Indians in a trade for Brian Giles, hyped as the Tribe’s closer of the future. He would be haunted by the comparisons as he spent parts of two seasons on the disabled list, while Giles became the regular #3 hitter in Pittsburgh. Never able to recapture his old form, Rincon became a lefty specialist, allowing no home runs or RBIs to southpaws in 2000.
Beyond his injury woes, Rincon suffered an identity crisis in 1999. Known occasionally among teammates as Ricky Rincon, the Indians website producer misinterpreted the name as Ricky Ricardo. A card show then decided to list his full name as Roberto Ricardo. Finally, Rincon settled the matter by asserting that he be called Ricardo Rincon, since that was a name that had brought him so much success with the Pirates.