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Roster review: Blake Treinen

Nov 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

Age on Opening Day 2016: 27

How acquired: Trade from Oakland, Jan. 2013

MLB service time: 1 year, 50 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $512,800

Contract status: Pre-arbitration

2015 stats: 60 G, 67.2 IP, 62 H, 32 R, 29 ER, 4 HR, 32 BB, 65 K, 1.389 WHIP, 2-5, 3.49 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 0.4 WAR

Quotable: “For Blake it’s about consistency. We know the kind of talent he’s got. It’s heavy sink coming out of his hand at 97 or 98 mph.” – Matt Williams

2015 analysis: Blake Treinen was a revelation in 2014, a pitcher who essentially came out of nowhere to post a 2.49 ERA in 15 appearances. He succeeded in relief, including when asked to pitch multiple innings, and even as a starter in seven chances. He flashed rare talent with a high-90s fastball that, when sharp, was a plus-pitch.

Treinen’s first showing set him up for what was expected to be an expanded role in 2015. The front office hoped Treinen would improve on his first year and take on larger responsibilities this past season. He was given opportunities early to show what he could do in the eighth inning as the Nats searched for a competent setup option with Casey Janssen sidelined.

Treinen, however, was not able to recreate his success from 2014 and overall had an inconsistent season that saw him get optioned to Triple-A in July. It was a forgettable year for the Nats’ reliever, though he did show some progress once he returned from the minors with 11 scoreless outings in the month of August.

2016 outlook: Treinen’s resurgence within the 2015 season was shortlived, as he again found trouble in September. But having gone through the experience of pitching in the minors, Treinen feels like he is better off. He said on multiple occasions after returning that it was the best thing that could have happened for him.

Treinen will be given another good chance to prove himself in the Nationals’ bullpen in 2016. They are expected to overhaul their relief staff, but Treinen does provide some upside given his stuff and relative inexperience. He’s also under contract through 2020.

When Treinen is on, he looks like a future star reliever, perhaps even a closer. But when he is off he has trouble finding the strike zone and can’t be relied on for much of anything. Consistency is the key here and finding that can be easier said than done.

How the Nationals’ construct their bullpen for next season remains to be seen, but an improved Treinen would certainly be welcomed for a team that could use more reliable depth at the position.

  1. mwgchess - Nov 1, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    I live Treinen but I don’t think he is big league ready. Some more time in AAA to find an out pitch for lefties will be tremendously beneficial. We lost this season due to our awful bullpen, but at least the Mets are going down due to their Bullpen too.

    • Steady Eddie - Nov 1, 2015 at 10:40 AM

      As a general matter, I think you’re likely correct, but I am very optimistic about Bud Black’s capacity to grow the younger pitchers especially, and foster more consistency across the entire pitching staff. Heck, from the testimony of Black’s former players, he may even be able to clear up Drew’s head and restore his focus in his walk year. It sure would make assembling a credible bullpen a lot easier if we didn’t have to replace the entire back end, though getting O’Day would be the one name FA who might be worth it.

      • Steady Eddie - Nov 1, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        Meant to add that Treinan specifically might be someone who’s fixable by a very capable and practiced hand like Black’s among all the young BP arms. It wasn’t a lack of stuff that was Treinan’s problem — his sinker and slider could be devastating when they were on — but a complete lack of consistent command. Totally hittable when his sinker was up and slider was consistently in the dirt or way wide.

      • mwgchess - Nov 1, 2015 at 11:24 PM

        I don’t know much about Black but I have generally heard good things. I think it would great for Treinen to have an opportunity to grow under Black. I would be in favor of having Treinen with the club if we were running away with the division. However, If we end up in the close two team race that we expect than perhaps we can’t afford the games that he might drop.

      • janebeard - Nov 2, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        I agree, Eddie. In fact, it was for Treinen and a possible reclamation of Drew that I was most excited about Black. I hope the Lerners are willing to give them both another shot.

  2. rgsie - Nov 1, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Trade Him!!!

    • Steady Eddie - Nov 1, 2015 at 10:48 AM

      Selling low is what losing teams do, unless you have no choice (cf Papelbum). Giving away a fixable young pitcher is how Rizzo got Tanner.

  3. veejh - Nov 1, 2015 at 11:01 AM

    We NEED Treinen to put it together. This kid’s ceiling is thru through the roof….he just needs to become consistent and we have a winner. Do your magic, Bud.

  4. trfwans - Nov 1, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    Chase wrote this one. That means Treinen is history, although he probably doesn’t realize it yet. He’s on the Colon Battlestar career track. BTW Colon was just DFA by the Reds the other day. Who knew he was even there?

    • ArVAFan - Nov 1, 2015 at 11:50 AM

      Hope you’re wrong on that (or that this is the exception that proves the rule). Treinen, Storen, and Barrett (when he gets back) seem like the pitchers who might most benefit from Black’s guidance. If he gets two out of three into dependable shape, that would go a long ways towards “fixing” the bullpen without taking on a lot of free agents or giving up a lot of prospects.

      I’m with Steady on O’Day. Having seen him pitch (O’Day, not Steady), I was impressed. But he’s no spring chicken, so if we do get him, I hope it’s not for too many years. Well, it’s not my money–at least not directly.

  5. senators5 - Nov 1, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    Location, location and location is absolutely this guy’s issue. His “stuff” is ML quality just like Henry’s of by-gone years but it is of little value if he can not throw it where he wants, which, of course, is true for all pitchers. Unless he can harness his control, I do not see Treinan being of much value to this all ready hurting BP.

  6. Susanfaulkner - Nov 1, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    I like Blake. He will get better with time.

  7. jfmii - Nov 1, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    No guts no glory. He seemed to shrink with the game on the line. He should get another shot. Probably Barrett should too if he heals close to 100%. Drew? Not so sure. Give him away if you have to

    • senators5 - Nov 1, 2015 at 7:14 PM

      Agree completely on Storen, How can his team mates have any respect for a guy who throws baby-like tantrums? Send him to the Padres for one of Black’s underrated throwers, hopefully, a lefty to give the BP better balance

      • janebeard - Nov 2, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        Gosh, I think Drew behaved as well as any human could have. He did everything he was asked to do. He had among the best closer records in the game last year and then they bring in a known jerk to take his job from him? That had to have been earthshaking.

        Drew may well be better off on a team that’s not GMed by Mike Rizzo, just for sanity’s sake. But what he was put through (and the fans as a result) was plain unfair and boneheaded at that.

  8. senators5 - Nov 2, 2015 at 7:53 PM

    The locker-finger incident was just one of a number promoted by Storen over the past several years,including,of course, his demotion to Syracuse a couple of years back which by reports he was sent to his room for crying too much and was told to grow up or don’t come back. From all appearances, he still has a lot of growing up to do if he wants to wear big boys’ pants.

    • Susanfaulkner - Nov 2, 2015 at 10:15 PM

      Going to write this in text terminology lmao!!

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