Out of nowhere on Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced they had agreed to a one-year extension with reliever Blake Treinen, which keeps him under contract through the 2023 season.
Shortly after, fans learned that the “extension” was merely the Dodgers picking up the 2023 team option that was already baked into his current contract, and that the new agreement included a conditional option for the 2024 season.
Treinen will make $8 million in 2023, and depending on the benchmarks he fulfills based on the conditional option, he could make anywhere from $1 million to $7 million in 2024, according to Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
Here’s more from Jack Harris of The Los Angeles Times:
"“One person with knowledge of the situation said Treinen’s potential compensation for 2024 would be based on time missed for specific injuries. There’s a scenario where the 33-year-old right-hander could be a free agent after next season, as well.”"
At this moment, Treinen is out “at least” until the All-Star break with a shoulder injury and Harris added that there’s uncertainty in regard to the right-hander pitching again in 2022, which would be a massive blow to the Dodgers’ bullpen.
Is this the reason why the team handled his contract situation now? Did they know he wasn’t going to pitch again in 2022 and they wanted to get ahead of the proceedings?
Will Blake Treinen pitch again for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022?
Treinen’s injury is a mystery at the moment, as is his timetable. The Dodgers haven’t disclosed his injury in an official manner, though fans do know that he doesn’t currently need surgery, and he has three potential timetables for his recovery: after the All-Star break, the “stretch run”, or not at all.
Perhaps Treinen will return this year and the Dodgers just wanted to operate in good faith and act prudently by giving the reliever security with a new deal, as well as some protection for them with a cost-effective 2024 depending on the conditional option.
The Dodgers are no stranger to these deals with injured relievers, as they just did the same with Tommy Kahnle, Danny Duffy and Jimmy Nelson. Kahnle was signed to a two-year deal after the 2020 season despite missing all of 2021. Duffy was acquired at least year’s trade deadline, didn’t pitch, underwent surgery, and will now be out for the first half of 2022 after the Dodgers re-signed him in the offseason. Nelson underwent Tommy John surgery in August and the Dodgers re-signed him to a one-year deal with a club option for 2023.
The bullpen is kind of in shambles right now despite the patchwork the Dodgers have done, so expect the front office to be active well before and up against this year’s trade deadline as the hits keep coming for the pitching staff.