Yankees: Why Blake Treinen Makes Too Much Sense

With a super-bullpen already, could the Yankees add another filthy reliever to their already-talented mix of gunslingers?

Quick! Without thinking, name the qualities the New York Yankees have been known for most the past few seasons. If you’re thinking home runs and a loaded bullpen, you’re probably on par with the rest of the Yankee faithful. As we should all know by now, the Yankees are always in the market to grow their ever powerful ‘pen, and their options just got deeper Monday night.

Blake Treinen: Who is He?

Monday night, the Oakland A’s non-tendered closer Blake Treinen, making him a free agent. It’d be easy to look at Treinen’s stats from the 2019 season and wretch at a 4.91 ERA in 58.1 innings. This goes along with a 1.62 WHIP and 37 walks. But instead, let’s look back deeper to 2017 when Treinen was shipped from the Washington Nationals to the A’s. In 38.0 innings, the righty posted a 2.13 ERA, striking out 42.

What the closer did in 2017 with Oakland was great. What he did in 2018, however, was awe-inspiring. in 80.1 innings, Treinen had a 0.78 ERA. That wasn’t a typo. Treinen had an ERA well-below 1.00, establishing himself, in that season, one of the premier closers in the sport.

What can he Bring to the Yankees?

Here’s the ultimatum with signing Treinen: if the Yankees bring him in, they probably won’t be bringing back Dellin Betances, who’s coming off a 2019 season that was decimated by injuries. Treinen would likely be filling in the hole Betances will leave and is more likely a replacement piece rather than an additional piece. Having said that, the Yankees have done strange things with their bullpen construction before and bringing in Treinen as well as Betances wouldn’t seem completely outlandish.

It’s very possible that the Yankees get enamored with the idea of Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, Dellin Betances, Treinen, and Aroldis Chapman, giving the Yanks the best bullpen in possibly the history of the sport.

What Would it Mean?

If the Yankees do sign Treinen, don’t think for a second it takes them out of the race for a big-time starter, particularly Gerrit Cole. Instead, signing a guy like Treinen would just be building strength, not a replacement move for being unable to improve a weakness. The Yankees’ chances of signing Gerrit Cole do not increase nor decrease upon the signing of Treinen or the acquisition of any other relief pitcher.

All things considered, yes, Treinen is coming off a down year, but his upside is incredibly potent. If Treinen could be half of what he was in 2018, the Yankees would be giddy to bring him to the Bronx. The Yankees had interest in trading for the A’s closer before he was non-tendered on Monday, according to Ken Rosenthal. Expect that interest to continue into the Winter Meetings next week.

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