Blake Treinen Happy To Fill Any Role In Dodgers Bullpen

Kenley Jansen signing with the Atlanta Braves left the Los Angeles Dodgers without a clearly defined closer for a brief stretch. Prior to the Dodgers’ trade for Craig Kimbrel, there was some thought Blake Treinen would replace Jansen in the closer role.

Daniel Hudson was believed to be another candidate. Hudson and Treinen have experience in the ninth inning, with the former notably recording the final out for the Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series and remaining the team’s closer the following season.

Treinen also served as the Oakland Athletics’ closer from 2017-19. Since signing with the Dodgers, he has occasionally pitched in the ninth inning but mostly has been used as a setup man and high-leverage reliever.

Prior to the Kimbrel trade effectively sealing his role as a fireman, Treinen noted he was willing to pitch in any capacity for the Dodgers bullpen, via SportsNet LA:

“We’ve got plenty of guys that can close. I’ll slot wherever they want me. I’m at a point in my career where I just am thankful to have a job. It’s fun when you don’t have to worry about the managerial side of things. You just get the ball and go throw. So if they want me as a starter, I’ll start. If they want me as a reliever to throw in the fifth, sixth and seventh, then I’ll do that. If they want me in the eighth and ninth, I’ll gladly welcome it. Whatever role I have, my goal is to be the best in baseball at whatever that role is.”

After an inconsistent 2020 campaign, Treinen enjoyed one of his best seasons last year by going 6-5 with a 1.99 ERA, 2.88 FIP and 0.98 WHIP across 72.1 innings (72 appearances). He notched seven saves, accumulated 2.4 WAR and struck out 10.6 batters per nine.

Treinen also excelled at limiting soft contact as he was in the 100th percentile of average exit velocity allowed, 99th percentile in barrel percentage and 98th percentile of hard-hit percentage.

Roberts values Treinen’s versatility

Although Treinen appeared to be a natural option to replace Jansen, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was hesitant to lock him into the role of closer. Echoing a sentiment expressed last season, Roberts highlighted Treinen’s ability to pitch in any inning and whenever a high-leverage situation emerges.

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