After an historic 2018 season with the club. A disappointing 2019 season has led the Oakland Athletics’ to non-tender former closer Blake Treinen.
Blake Treinen broke records after posting one of the best seasons for a reliever in MLB history in 2018. His great season led many to believe he had turned the corner as a closer. After up-and-down seasons in his first three years in the league, a trade to Oakland seemed to help rejuvenate him.
Treinen was traded from Washington with Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson in 2017. He enjoyed immediate success with Oakland registering a 2.13 ERA in 35 games, while striking 42 in 38 innings. In that small amount of time his WAR was 1.4, second highest of his career.
The following season Treinen would set historic marks and seemed to be destined to become one of the best in the league. His numbers were insane, they were impossible to replicate for another season. But no one expected the drop off in 2019 as bad as it was.
In 2018, Treinen was dominate, he was 9-2 with a 0.78 ERA, while striking out 100 batters in 80.1 innings of work. He had 38 saves and racked up a 4.2 WAR total. His ERA+ (100*[lgERA/ERA]) adjusted to a players ballpark was an absurd 531, to put into perspective Mariano Rivera’s highest of his career was 316.
Oakland seemed to be the home Treinen was looking for to show his dominate potential. His season helped Oakland make the playoffs. He also finished sixth in Cy Young voting, 15th in the MVP voting and he made his first All-Star team.
When 2019 came around, Treinen was entrenched in the closers’ position. It wasn’t long after he struggled that Oakland would replace him with Liam Hendriks. Treinen struggled out of the gate and despite some good stretches at times, never got it together.
He finished the season 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA, he struck out 59 batters in 58.2 innings of work. His WAR was in the red at -0.3, his ERA+ was a career low 88 and his HR9 more then doubled his second worst season. His SO9 dipped down to 9.1 and his WHIP was the worst of his career.
A lot of stats across the board turned out to be the worst of Treinen’s career, all while making $6.4 million. Whether he battled injuries other then the reported ones are unknown. But he simply did not live up to expectations.
On Monday the A’s decided the price tag was too high and non-tendered the former All-Star. He was slated to make $7.5 million in arbitration. This move makes him a free agent and free to sign with any team.
The A’s could bring him back at a smaller price tag as they did with Mike Fiers last year. But the belief here is the team has decided to move on. With many young arms in the pipelines, at a much more cost-efficient price, they believe they can get better value for less.
2018 was special, but 2019 proved it was a fluke. Maybe in 2020 Treinen can regain some success but it most likely won’t be in Oakland.