The Dodgers chose to take a flier on Blake Treinen over Dellin Betances. It will be worth monitoring but looks to be the right move.
This off-season the free-agent market featured two big-time relievers who were coming off injury-plagued seasons. The two relievers being Dellin Betances and Blake Treinen and now both have found new teams. For the Dodgers, they had interest in both but decided to take a flier on Blake Treinen signing him to a one year $10 million dollar contract.
Betances may not have been a true choice for the Dodgers as he was rumored to prefer the east coast but after seeing their contracts, the Dodgers getting Treinen for one season could end up a steal. Betances has a player option for 2021 but will still get $3 million if he declines it which would essentially ensure he receives $10.5 million for 2020 if he elects to go back into free agency next winter.
The bad news for the Mets is that Betances will likely exercise his player option if he has another injury-plagued season and would make $6 million in 2021. Treinen has no options so there is minimal risk in the Dodgers signing him for one season. Either he pans out and enters free agency on a high note or he doesn’t work and the Dodgers let him leave next off-season. From a contract standpoint, Treinen is a better gamble than Betances.
Then there is the injury situation with both which also favors Treinen. Despite his back and shoulder trouble last season he still managed to pitch 58 2/3 innings. Betances, on the other hand, missed nearly the entire season with shoulder and lat injuries and then came back and partially tore his Achilles after just 2/3 of an inning. Treinen’s injuries are less serious than Betances.
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Both will be questions marks heading into the 2020 season but there are several good reasons to bet on Treinen bouncing back. For one, his velocity stayed intact throughout last season. The lowest his fastball/sinker velocity averaged was 95-96 MPH which came in September where velocity tends to dip for most pitchers. In the early going it ranged from 97-98 MPH.
The two areas that led to Treinen’s downfall in 2019 were walks and home runs allowed. For his career, Blake has averaged 3.4 BB/9IP but that jumped up to 5.6BB/9IP in 2019. His home run rate also skyrocketed to 1.38 after being below 0.7 for most of his big league career. While his injuries cannot be the sole blame for his home run and walk issues, chances are they were a factor.
The Dodgers needed bullpen help so gambling on one of Betances or Treinen was a wise move for Andrew Friedman. The argument can be made that the pen needs more help but it should get help from the rotation if Kenta Maeda once again shifts into the pen for the postseason. Blake Treinen seems like the better reliever to gamble on for next season given his contract, injuries, and 2019 season but as always time will tell.