Five Landing Spots for Blake Treinen
Blake Treinen is one of many relievers available this offseason on the free-agent market. Luckily, there are a number of contending teams in need of bullpen help. Therefore, Treinen should have no problem finding a new home and coming to terms on a new deal.
If you go back to the 2018 regular season, that was the year Treinen finished with his first and only All-Star nod. In addition, he finished sixth that season in the American League Cy Young Award while posting a 0.78 ERA with a 11.2 K/9 rate. The now 32-year old finished 15th in the AL Most Valuable Player Award voting that season as well.
More recently, Treinen finished last season with a 3.86 ERA over 27 appearances with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over that sample, Treinen put up a 3.15 Fielding Independent Percentage (FIP) with 22 strikeouts. He came to term with Los Angeles after being released by the Oakland Athletics on a one-year, $10 million dollar deal.
With that being said, let’s identify five landing spots for the right-hander.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
It is certainly plausible that Blake Treinen ends up back in California with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have a hole at the moment at the back end of their pen. Right now, Kenley Jansen is slated to be the team’s closer and Brusdar Graterol provides the team with another late-inning weapon. However, with Treinen in that mix along with Jansen and Graterol, the group is much more fortified and the Dodgers know what they have with Treinen.
The Dodgers have not publicly stated how much money they are willing to spend this offseason. Although, they should have some payroll flexibility. Right now, the team is projected to have an Opening Day big league roster payroll of $175.4 million dollars. To re-sign Treinen, it won’t require a large commitment of money or years most likely. Therefore, the Dodgers should be able to find a deal that works for both sides, if they are interested in a reunion.
2. Oakland Athletics
The aforementioned Oakland Athletics are certainly familiar with Treinen. He pitched a total of three seasons there putting up a 2.44 ERA over 177 innings of work over that span. On paper, the Athletics could use someone with Treinen’s track record at the back end. Right now, Oakland does not have a closer and they currently have five relievers on their big league depth chart. The most notable of the bunch is Lou Trivino who is capable of being the team’s closer.
If Treinen were to head back to Oakland, the Athletics could pair him with Trivino to form a nice 1-2 punch in the late innings. Add to the fact that Jake Diekman is coming off a season in which he put up a 0.42 ERA and there’s someone that could give them a 1-2-3 punch. Although the Athletics might be limited in their spending capability this offseason, Treinen could be a very affordable option for them.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
If there was one team that could use some certainty in their bullpen, it would be the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2020, the Phillies had the worst bullpen ERA of all thirty teams. Philadelphia relievers combined for a 7.06 ERA over the 60-game sample. For a team focused on making noise in the American League East, that is something that will need to be addressed this offseason. Furthermore, the Phillies could use someone like Treinen as a bridge to David Hale and Hector Neris. In all likelihood, Neris will be the team’s closer after recording five saves in 2020.
In addition, Treinen would help to relieve some of the workload off the team’s young relievers. With his addition, those young arms could be shifted to other roles that don’t have as much pressure. Phillies manager Joe Girardi likes to have options in his bullpen and Treinen would certainly give the team just that. As it stands right now, Philadelphia has a projected Opening Day payroll of $127.2 million dollars.
4. Houston Astros
Looking back on the 2020 season, it was one where a lot of rookies came through in big spots for the Houston Astros. In fact, the team’s oldest reliever was left-hander Brooks Raley who turned 32-years old this past June. Therefore, Houston definitely needs to fortify their bullpen this offseason and Treinen would be a step towards doing just that. As mentioned previously, Treinen offers teams a lot of stability and for the Astros having that is significant especially for a team that will want to contend again come 2021.
While Houston’s relief corp was young, they did fairly well overall compared to the rest of baseball. Collectively, the unit posted a 4.39 ERA with an Opponent Batting Average Against of .251. Sometimes in baseball when you let young players and pitchers prove themselves, the results can be surprisingly great. That is what happened for the Astros in 2020. Although, adding Treinen to the mix would give them another veteran presence to go along with the aforementioned Brooks Raley and Ryan Pressly.
5. New York Yankees
Another team that could be a landing spot for Blake Treinen is the New York Yankees. If you go back to the 2019 offseason, the Yankees were one of the teams calling the Athletics about Treinen’s services. New York is likely to be in the market for some sort of bullpen help especially if Tommy Kahnle (current free agent) ends up signing with another team. Even though Kahnle only recorded an inning of work in 2020 due to a right UCL injury, Treinen could help to give the Yankees another option for the seventh and eighth innings.
The Yankees have other more pressing needs that they will need to address such as the D.J. LeMahieu situation. If LeMahieu ends up signing elsewhere in free agency, then they will need to address the situation at second base. In addition, they are a potential suitor for Francisco Lindor possibly and could look to add a starting pitcher for depth. Although, Treinen would be a very good option and could decrease the need for another starting pitcher to add to the fray.
The five aforementioned teams on this list are very good landing spots for Blake Treinen. Each team could use his services in one way or another. Whether that respective team targets Treinen remains to be seen, but whatever team signs him is going to get a reliever with a solid track record and one that could very well come at a very affordable rate.
Embed from Getty Images