The Oakland A’s non-tendered former elite reliever Blake Treinen. Does he make sense for the New York Mets?
The New York Mets bullpen is in dire need of help. It ranked as one of the worst bullpens in baseball by ERA, blown saves, FIP, and innings pitched. For the Mets to be successful in 2020 they need their bullpen to improve.
The easiest way for that to happen is for the Mets to acquire good relief pitchers in free agency. All that would cost is money and the team would improve. However, the Mets are reportedly working within a limited budget according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
That put Mets’ GM Brodie Van Wagenen in a bind. He has to figure out how to put a better team on the field in 2020 without much salary space to do it.
Enter Blake Treinen. Treinen was arguably the best closer in baseball in 2018. He had an ERA of just 0.78, a FIP of 1.82, he finished top six in Cy Young voting, and top-15 in MVP voting. He was without a doubt elite.
All of that went away in 2019 when he turned in the worst season of his career. Treinen had his ERA rocket up to 4.91 and his FIP jumped up to 5.14. He was awful and so, the A’s non-tendered him, instead of paying him the near eight million dollars he was due.
So, does he makes sense for the Mets? He’s certainly worth a shot on a cheap prove-it deal. Treinen’s peripherals were worse than his 2018 numbers, but not by much. The two big changes were a 10% increase in his fly-ball rate and his 7.5 % increase in hard-hit rate.
Both of those changes can be attributed to the change in the ball that was seen during the 2019 season. Every pitcher found that the ball was getting hit harder and farther in 2019 than ever before it wasn’t just Treinen. If MLB stays away from the juiced ball they used in 2019 it’s possible that Treinen returns to his elite form.
With that being the case the Mets should absolutely take a chance on Treinen. That is, so long as the deal is for five million or less and no longer than two years. Treinen pitched himself out of a long term contract in the 2019 season. Treinen needs to establish whether the 2018 or 2019 version is who he really is at this point in his career.