Dodgers add Blake Treinen to one-year deal at Winter Meetings
A day after missing out on Gerrit Cole, the Dodgers rebound to sign former All-Star closer Blake Treinen to a one-year deal worth $10 million.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported the signing on Twitter after 3pm on Wednesday via Twitter.
Treinen has been one of the most popular potential targets amongst Dodgers fans and analysts alike. The 31-year-old right-hander had a rough 2019 season, posting a 4.91 ERA in 57 games with the Oakland Athletics. In the process of having one of the worst seasons of his career, he lost the closer role to 2019 All-Star Liam Hendriks, which allowed the A’s to non-tender Treinen this offseason.
The Dodgers snagging the 2018 All-Star on a one-year deal is exciting not because of his 2019 though. In 2018, Treinen was the best reliever in the game, posting a 0.78 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in 68 games with Oakland. In those 68 games, he threw 80.1 innings, demonstrating how he can go out and get more than three outs. The 6’5” flamethrower struck out 100 batters while only walking 21 two seasons ago, helping him rack up 38 saves.
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Will he be able to return to form in LA? That’s what the front office and Andrew Friedman are betting on in signing Treinen to a one-year deal. In all though, the indicators don’t reflect poorly on Treinen, despite his poor 2019. Here’s how Michael Wittman of Dodgers Way broke down Treinen’s down year:
"The main culprits to Treinen’s subpar 2019 season were a walk rate of 5.6 BB/9IP, a back injury, and an increase in fly balls. Blake Treinen has a turbo sinker that averages 96.5 MPH and when he is on he induces plenty of ground balls and weak contact. His ground ball rate dropped from 51.9% in 2018 to 42.8% in 2019. His hard-hit rate also went up seven percent.Overall, Treinen’s average exit velocity of 87.1 MPH in 2019 proves that even in a down season, he was able to induce plenty of weak contact."
In some circumstances, adding an ex-closer may imply that there will be at least some competition for the closer’s role. But on Tuesday, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com tweeted that Friedman said he is confident in Jansen as the team’s closer.
With Treinen, the Dodgers add a set-up man capable of throwing more than an inning per outing, with some of the best stuff in baseball. He’ll likely close out some games to help Jansen avoid back-to-back outings during the regular season. Generally, Treinen should battle with Joe Kelly for Dave Roberts’ trust as the primary set-up man.
This successful signing means that the Dodgers are likely to continue looking to add a piece outside of the bullpen, either in the starting rotation or maybe even in the lineup, though that remains to be seen.