The Los Angeles Dodgers would’ve had one heck of a bullpen this season regardless, but the front office was no doubt overjoyed when Blake Treinen decided to re-up in LA instead of test the free agent waters after a bounce back campaign.
Why? Well, he’s addicted to winning, in any role.
Once the closer for an Oakland A’s team that was a fringe contender at best (not a bad thing to be, but…), Treinen struggled in 2019 and found himself exiled from MLB’s inner circle of relievers.
Instead of inking a multi-year deal, Treinen tried a one-year pact in Los Angeles, only finished three games all regular season long after racking up 35 and 58 the previous two seasons, and…went home with the ultimate hardware at the end of October.
Now with the security of a two-year deal with a team option on the best team in baseball, Treinen is more than happy to close games if the occasion arises. He’s also amenable to pitching the seventh, eighth…hey, whatever you guys need.
That’s one reason why this Dodgers staff, from top to bottom, is so elite. They’ll do anything, right down to the $200 million man in the bullpen in David Price.
All Blake Treinen and the Dodgers pitching staff cares about is winning.
Whatever. It. Takes.
We’ve seen this time and again with the Dodgers, a team without rigid pitching roles outside of Kenley Jansen and their three top of the rotation arms. Price, Jimmy Nelson and Tony Gonsolin could all theoretically start, but they’re totally ok not doing so in the name of winning. Treinen, Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, Corey Knebel and even Tommy Kahnle have “closer stuff,” but you don’t hear them bragging about it.
If someone needs to close in Jansen’s stead during a high-pressure postseason moment, they will. Nobody’s ego is so inflated that they believe they’re entitled to the ninth, but nobody’s panicked when the opportunity arises.
You really think, with this leveled-up stuff, that Treinen couldn’t be closing somewhere? His sinker has its own sinker.
The Dodgers are remarkable for many reasons, but atop the pile is their pitching staff’s remarkable fungibility.
They’re all spectacular, and they’re clearly willing to take on any challenge — or pick up any teammate.
The next unpleasant word you hear from any of them about their ever-changing roles will also be the first.