Attention Brian Cashman: Blake Treinen is a free agent
The belief around the league is that the Yankees have pushed all other free agents to the back burner during their paramount pursuit of Gerrit Cole. Initial offers have been made within the last 24 hours and a potential deal could come to fruition by the end of the week. While the priority this winter is clear, that isn’t to say there’s no other business Brian Cashman needs to attend to. See here: Blake Treinen became a free agent last Monday, and the Yankees would be foolish to let him pass.
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Treinen was non-tendered by the Oakland A’s with a looming $7.8 million arbitration decision, one that was evidently too costly for the small-market club. The Yankees reportedly had interest in a trade for Treinen prior to his non-tender, but the two sides couldn’t find common ground.
The Kansas native broke in with the Nationals in 2014 and sustained success in each of the next two seasons. He began to struggle in 2017, however, and was shipped off to Oakland at the trade deadline. There, he regained his stride with a strong two months. Then, 2018 happened.
Treinen pitched to a 0.78 ERA over 80.1 innings while saving 38 games, finishing top-6 and top-15 in AL Cy Young and MVP voting, respectively. He struck out over 11 batters per nine to the tune of a 531 ERA+ (!!!), putting together one of the most dominant relief seasons in recent memory. While he obviously wasn’t expected to replicate that brilliance, Treinen endured a rough 2019 - he dealt with injuries as his ERA ballooned to 4.91 and other peripherals trended in the wrong direction.
Entering his age-32 campaign, Treinen seems like a surefire bet to get back on track in 2020. A two-year deal at anywhere from $14-18 million looks realistic given the nature of his free agency, and the Yanks have the means to make that happen. Just imagine the late-inning fun that could be had with his addition to a mix that already includes Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman.