The Houston Astros may have to get creative addressing their bullpen this offseason, and former All-Star reliever Blake Treinen could be a fit.
The Houston Astros struggled with arm depth in 2020 and as they continue to develop young players, it will be important to bring in veteran pitchers. There are solid options available such as Brad Hand, but the team is dealing with financial issues and may not be able to bring in a big name.
One player who might not draw much attention is Blake Treinen. The former Dodger just hit free agency after the 2020 World Series Champion run in Los Angeles. The right-hander is 32 years old and could be a cheap addition to a young bullpen after dealing with a shoulder injury in 2019, leading to his regression after an incredible 2018 season.
The arsenal is endless for Treinen. His key pitch — his sinker –moves at 97-99 mph. But control issues and a stacked Dodgers bullpen made him an 8th inning set-up man rather than a closer in 2020. He also faced the Astros in 2020 and showed flashes of his 2018 self.
2020 Regular Season
Treinen more or less was an every other day pitcher out of the bullpen. In 27 games, he went 3-3 and posted a 3.86 ERA, a step in the right direction after Treinen’s struggles the year before. With the loss of Roberto Osuna, the Astros are in need of a power pitcher and someone who strikes out batters. In 25.1 innings, Treinen struck out 22 batters.
To top off an effective regular season, Treinen became a reliable asset in the postseason, which will add value to his resume as he looks for a new deal in free agency. Through 11.1 innings, his ERA stood around 4.86, but the run factors are coming from longer inning outings. When he is pitching less than two innings, his ERA is 0.00. The Astros bullpen suffered immensely by letting runners on base and with the help of Treinen, the ninth inning could quickly become locked down.
Contract and future
As more of a setup pitcher in Los Angeles, Treinen could see more time in his old closer role if he comes to Houston, and Ryan Pressly could move back to his setup role. With the best closer on the market being Hand, some teams will be trying for the big fish. But the Astros could easily settle for a pitcher like Treinen, one who is still improving and can perhaps be had for half the price. Pitching coach Brent Strom has worked his magic before, and here is a good time to try again. In a market flush with talent and little money, some players will settle for less money. Treinen could make $5-7 million per year with the Astros, a move that could save money for more free agent deals and future contract extensions.