It is no secret the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen was their biggest flaw in 2019, so president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has already made it a point to improve that unit this winter.
He did so by signing former Oakland Athletics right-hander Blake Treinen to a one-year, $10 million contract, which recently became official after being agreed upon during the Winter Meetings.
Treinen was one of the best bullpen arms in all of baseball in 2018, posting a 0.87 ERA, 1.82 FIP and 0.83 WHIP with 100 strikeouts and only 21 walks in 80.1 innings for Oakland. He dealt with some injuries in 2019 though, which led to him being significantly less effective.
He pitched to a 4.91 ERA, 5.14 FIP and 1.62 WHIP with 59 strikeouts and 37 walks in 58.2 innings, eventually being non-tendered at the end of the season. The Dodgers are banking on getting the 2018 version of Treinen, which would be a significant addition to the backend of their bullpen along with Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez.
Friedman has already said the plan is for Jansen to still be the team’s closer in 2020, so Treinen’s role may be a bit different after saving 54 games for the Athletics the last two seasons.
He is not concerned with that though, as he is looking forward to a new chapter of his career with the Dodgers, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I’m just excited to throw meaningful innings,” Treinen said. “The decision wasn’t made based on the role or whatever. It’s the investment the Dodgers made in me and my family. I’m not worried about the role. I’m worried about showing them what I can do as a pitcher.”
The fit seems to be perfect for both sides as if Treinen is able to return to his dominant form, he would not only be helping the Dodgers win an eighth National League West championship and possibly a World Series, but he would also reestablish his value before again reaching free agency.
One thing the Dodgers have done perhaps better than any club in recent years is getting their players to buy in. They have a ton of talent and several players would be filling bigger roles in other organizations, but they understand that being with L.A. gives them an opportunity to compete for a championship every year.
Treinen has yet to log a single inning for the organization, but he clearly is on board with the team-first mentality.
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