For the second straight offseason, the Dodgers signed pitcher Blake Treinen as a free agent. After last year’s one-year deal, this time Treinen signed for two years, with an option for a third.
“Any time you have the ability to control your market, you want to do the best you can, and it’s not just chasing money,” Treinen said on a Zoom call Wednesday. “Security is nice. Knowing where you’re going to be for the next few years is always a nice perk. As many years as we could get was the goal.”
Treinen last season signed for $10 million, which in a pandemic-truncated decision was pro-rated to roughly $3.7 million. His new deal is two years and $17.5 million guaranteed. There’s a club option for 2023 that, if exercised, would bring the deal to $24 million over three years.
As it stands, Treinen’s $17.5 million is tied with Carlos Santana for the fourth-largest guarantee by a free agent this offseason. Treinen signed one of only 10 multi-year deals with a major league deal this offseason. Last offseason, 39 such deals were signed, including 31 by December 31. One of this year’s multi-year deals was the Dodgers signing Tommy Kahnle, who will miss all or most of 2021 after Tommy John surgery.
After getting non-tendered by the A’s last offseason, Treinen signed his one-year deal with the Dodgers on December 14. Tuesday’s deal was three weeks later into the offseason. But Treinen didn’t seem too fazed by how long the market took to develop.
“I feel like that’d be pretty bad for baseball, just like it would be bad for baseball if somebody wasn’t interested in Brad Hand or Liam Hendriks, or you know, these other relievers that are out there, Trevor Rosenthal,” Treinen said. “I wasn’t worried. I knew we’d probably have a job. It’s just a matter of where and what the details are going to be.”
Treinen said a few teams were “pretty aggressive” but that he was happy to return to the Dodgers, for whom he was one of their most trusted late-inning relievers in 2020. Thirteen of Treinen’s 32 appearances were measured as high-leverage, most on the team, and his average leverage index trailed only closer Kenley Jansen on the team.
“Any time the best team in baseball wants to sign you, it’s a blessing,” Treinen said. “I thoroughly enjoy just throwing in meaningful innings and getting big outs, and the Dodgers gave me every opportunity to do that last year.”
The Dodgers bullpen ranked second in the majors in both ERA (2.74) and FIP (3.45), had the lowest walk rate (7.1 percent), and fourth-best K-BB% (17.2 percent). Pedro Báez and Jake McGee are still free agents, but pitchers with six of the top seven relief innings are back for 2021, and the Dodgers also added former Brewers closer Corey Knebel by trade.
The Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in former A’s closer Liam Hendriks, who was teammates with Treinen in Oakland from 2017-19. Treinen was asked if he would try to recruit Hendriks to come to Los Angeles.
“I’m not Mike Trout or Nolan Arenado or Mookie Betts, or anybody who’s these mainstay names who will be in household names for years to come. I’m a reliever trying to do the best I can with the ability I have,” Treinen said. “The Dodgers are going to do their own thing, whether they want to recruit him or not. He’s a phenomenal talent, and I think anybody would like having him on their team.”