Dodgers make it official with Treinen

December 16th, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Blake Treinen, whose signing with the Dodgers was officially announced on Sunday, said "it's entertaining" to have outsiders write him off after a 2019 slump.

"I'm not a broken pitcher," said the 31-year-old right-hander. "I still have a lot left to give. I'm still an elite pitcher, and last year was an outlier."

Treinen signed to a one-year, $10 million contract to provide another late-inning option for the Dodgers, who found back-end relievers Kenley JansenJoe Kelly and Pedro Baez inconsistent in 2019. He was a master closer in '18, but he was non-tendered by the A's after he followed a dominant year with a rugged '19 season that ended with a stress reaction in his back.

Treinen said a follow-up exam with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins has him confident he'll be ready for 2020. And he said the fact that the Dodgers already have a closer in Jansen was no concern in signing, as he had multiple offers.

"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."

Nor is he worried about the "Hollywood" lifestyle that newest Angel Anthony Rendon said discouraged him from becoming a Dodger. Treinen grew up in a small Kansas town, but said he's excited about coming to Los Angeles.

"I feel like that's where the Lord is leading me," said Treinen.

Manager Dave Roberts on Tuesday said Jansen was still his closer. But the addition of Treinen, plus the reported chase for free-agent reliever Dellin Betances, illustrates management's desire to create as many alternatives as possible with the reliability of returning relievers uncertain.

Treinen's ERA (4.91) and WHIP (1.619) this year ballooned from 0.78 and 0.834, respectively, in 2018. That season he was an All-Star and one of the most effective relievers in the game with 38 saves as Oakland's closer. The Dodgers believe his regression on the mound was mechanical in nature and fixable.

Treinen declined to offer his theory on what went wrong this year, but said the Dodgers have a "game plan moving forward."

While Treinen had an off-year in 2019, Betances was literally off nearly the entire 2019 season, pitching in only one Major League game for the Yankees because of two serious injuries.

Betances, 31, was on the injured list with a serious right shoulder impingement from the start of the season until Sept. 15, when he pitched in his first game. He struck out both batters he faced on eight total pitches, only to suffer a partial left Achilles tendon tear. The four-time All-Star rehabbed the injury without surgery. 

The Treinen acquisition is the first significant addition for the Dodgers this offseason. At the recent Winter Meetings, they saw primary starting pitching target Gerrit Cole and Rendon spurn them to sign huge deals with the Yankees and Angels, respectively.

The Dodgers are still apparently committed to adding an elite player or two. Based on the most recent rumors, they are most aggressive in trading for Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor and signing either free agent pitchers Madison Bumgarner or Hyun-Jin Ryu.