Age on Opening Day 2016: 27
How acquired: Trade from Oakland, Jan. 2013
MLB service time: 1 year, 50 days
2015 salary+bonuses: $512,800
Contract status: Pre-arbitration
2015 stats: 60 G, 67.2 IP, 62 H, 32 R, 29 ER, 4 HR, 32 BB, 65 K, 1.389 WHIP, 2-5, 3.49 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 0.4 WAR
Quotable: "For Blake it’s about consistency. We know the kind of talent he’s got. It’s heavy sink coming out of his hand at 97 or 98 mph." - Matt Williams
2015 analysis: Blake Treinen was a revelation in 2014, a pitcher who essentially came out of nowhere to post a 2.49 ERA in 15 appearances. He succeeded in relief, including when asked to pitch multiple innings, and even as a starter in seven chances. He flashed rare talent with a high-90s fastball that, when sharp, was a plus-pitch.
Treinen's first showing set him up for what was expected to be an expanded role in 2015. The front office hoped Treinen would improve on his first year and take on larger responsibilities this past season. He was given opportunities early to show what he could do in the eighth inning as the Nats searched for a competent setup option with Casey Janssen sidelined.
Treinen, however, was not able to recreate his success from 2014 and overall had an inconsistent season that saw him get optioned to Triple-A in July. It was a forgettable year for the Nats' reliever, though he did show some progress once he returned from the minors with 11 scoreless outings in the month of August.
2016 outlook: Treinen's resurgence within the 2015 season was shortlived, as he again found trouble in September. But having gone through the experience of pitching in the minors, Treinen feels like he is better off. He said on multiple occasions after returning that it was the best thing that could have happened for him.
Treinen will be given another good chance to prove himself in the Nationals' bullpen in 2016. They are expected to overhaul their relief staff, but Treinen does provide some upside given his stuff and relative inexperience. He's also under contract through 2020.
When Treinen is on, he looks like a future star reliever, perhaps even a closer. But when he is off he has trouble finding the strike zone and can't be relied on for much of anything. Consistency is the key here and finding that can be easier said than done.
How the Nationals' construct their bullpen for next season remains to be seen, but an improved Treinen would certainly be welcomed for a team that could use more reliable depth at the position.