For all the money the Los Angeles Dodgers have largely wasted on veteran bounce-backs or injury reclamation projects, it's about time one has a chance of working out for them. And for all the money they've wasted on Blake Treinen, it's about time they get something in return.
The right-hander, who was key in the team's 2020 World Series run and emerged as one of the best relievers in the sport in 2021, has logged just five total innings since the start of 2022 due to shoulder issues. The Dodgers doled out $16 million for virtually no production.
On top of that, instead of undergoing the shoulder surgery he eventually succumbed to, Treinen opted to rehab the injury (which he was advised against doing) and cost himself and the Dodgers an additional year. He would've been good to go for 2023 had he gotten it over with in 2022.
Instead, he needed the procedure this past offseason, and despite an attempt to get back on the mound with a couple of rehab assignments, it never materialized. The Dodgers' bullpen ended up being fine, but the unit definitely could've used Treinen at the height of his powers.
After finally cutting ties with various other attempts to save a dollar -- the Dodgers just saved $9.5 million rejecting Daniel Hudson's and Alex Reyes' options -- they managed to keep Treinen for just $1 million next year.
Dodgers snuck in smart undisclosed incentives for Blake Treinen's 2024 option
How about that! When the Dodgers guaranteed Treinen's 2023 team option back in 2022 after he went down with the shoulder issue, they tacked on a team option for 2024 that was loaded with incentives. Treinen could make as little as $1 million and as much as $8 million based on performance bonuses.
Since he didn't pitch at all over the last calendar year, he'll earn the least possible amount. And even though he'll be on the mend not having pitched in two full seasons, someone of the right-hander's caliber is well worth the $1 million "risk," if you can even call it that.
Just two seasons ago, Treinen logged a 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 72.1 innings. His bowling ball sinker is one of the most feared pitches in the sport. This is the kind of low-risk, high-reward contract fans approve of. Though it took the Dodgers $16 million to get here, at least they're cutting bait with less reliable options and cashing in on the worthwhile gambles.
There's still plenty of work to be done as it pertains to the pitching staff, but the Dodgers have a much clearer roadmap after dumping the less desirable options and realistically factoring Treinen into the picture since he's more than likely going to be a full-go for 2024.
Next up? Sign actual, established relievers, welcome back Dustin May and JP Feyereisen to the bullpen, and avoid any and all unnecessary "projects."