Do you guys remember when Blake Treinen was going shot for shot with Edwin Diaz for the best reliever in the AL in 2018? Man, have things changed. After a dominant 2018 season, Treinen crashed hard in 2019 and now finds himself without a job.
In 2018, Treinen was as elite as elite gets, posting a 0.78 ERA, a 1.82 FIP, an 11.2 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, with a 51% groundball rate on his way to a 3.6 fWAR season in 80 innings. For a reliever, these are the equivalent of MVP numbers.
Well, 2019 was not so kind. In 58.2 innings, Treinen saw his ERA jump to 4.91 and his FIP rise to 5.14. His K/9 dropped by 2 full points and his BB/9 more than doubled until he was removed from the closer’s gig in favor of Liam Hendricks.
Those struggles, combined with a near $10 million projected salary in 2020, led to the Oakland A’s decision to let Treinen become a free agent, suggesting the trade value just wasn’t there. So all this begs the question: why should the Mariners be interested?
For starters, the stuff is still really good, with a sinking fastball in the upper-90s and a cutter and slider that gets swings and misses.
Second, we go back to what is becoming evident with the Mariners: they are great at developing pitchers. Getting Treinen into your system and working with your staff could turn him from non-tender fodder to All-Star closer with extreme trade value in July.
But why would Treinen be interested in Seattle? Again, the glowing reputation of pitcher development. The opportunity to close games in a low-pressure situation is a plus. The Mariners have money to spend. These are all selling points for an arm like Treinen, similar to the way they nabbed Carl Edwards Jr., just on a more expensive scale.