Athletics

A's considering removing struggling Lou Trivino from late-inning role

A's considering removing struggling Lou Trivino from late-inning role

OAKLAND -- To call this a rough stretch for Lou Trivino would be an understatement.

Since May 29, the A's reliever has been pinned with five losses, the most recent coming Sunday afternoon against the lowly Seattle Mariners. Trivino allowed four runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks in just a third of an inning, suffering his fourth blown save of the season.

"It's frustrating," Trivino said. "Cutter wasn't there today, fastball wasn't there, curveball wasn't there. It just wasn't a good day."

In his last nine outings, Trivino has gone 0-5 with a 12.46 ERA, allowing 16 runs (12 earned) in 8 2/3 innings. During that period, the right-hander's season ERA has ballooned from 2.42 to 4.93.

"I think right now with Lou, it's more location than anything else," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "His stuff is still good. He's still throwing 98. He's still throwing 93 mile-an-hour cutters. He's getting behind in the count. He's walking guys. He's just coming out a little bit early and having a tough time finding the strike zone. I think that's just the issue with him right now. It certainly isn't stuff."

Trivino agreed with that assessment, explaining that it's a mechanical issue with his delivery.

"I think I'm just drifting a little bit, getting out ahead of myself," he said. "I'm not behind the ball. ... I'm not quite filling up the zone, and when I am, it's just not in the areas that I want."

While Melvin quickly dismissed any notion of sending Trivino to Triple-A, he did not rule out a potential role change for Oakland's primary setup man.

"We'll take a look at it," Melvin said. "This guy is really good. He’s just going through a tough stretch right now. Whether or not we need to give him a little bit of a break from that role, maybe that part of the lineup, we’ll discuss it internally. But he’s got good stuff.”

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This has certainly been a far cry from the Lou Trivino we saw last season. As a rookie, he went 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA, looking flat-out dominant for extended stretches. But the 27-year-old appears to have fallen victim to the dreaded sophomore slump, at least so far.

"It's frustrating when I'm not commanding my pitches the way I want," Trivino said. "We played really well today. We pitched our butts off. I thought we played really, really well and I come in and blow the lead for what seems like the 10th time this year. So it's very frustrating. Lord willing, I can fight through this and come up for us."
 

Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

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Why A's should either trade or non-tender All-Star Blake Treinen

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who may or may not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Blake Treinen, RHP

Contract: Final year of arbitration (projected to get $7.8 million after earning $6.4 million this season)

Reasons to bring him back

In 2018, Blake Treinen enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in MLB history. The right-hander went 9-2 with 38 saves and a 0.78 ERA, notching 100 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.

Unfortunately, Treinen followed that up with the worst season of his career, going 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 2019, ultimately losing the closer job to Liam Hendriks. Still, Treinen's stuff looked dominant at times and he could certainly bounce back in 2020.

Treinen is still just 31 years old and should have some productive years ahead of him. His fastball averaged 97 mph this season with explosive movement. If he can improve his command, Treinen could still be a productive reliever moving forward.

Reasons to let him go

Treinen is coming off an incredibly disappointing season. He entered the year as one of the top closers in baseball, but quickly lost his closer job due to injury and poor performance.

Treinen's 4.91 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, and 5.14 FIP were all career worsts, as were his 37 walks in just 58 2/3 innings. He saw his season come to a premature end when an MRI revealed a stress reaction in his back. And pitchers and back injuries don't mix well (see: Marco Estrada). Tendering Treinen a contract would be a major risk.

Final verdict

Treinen could very well return to being an effective relief pitcher, but the A's can't afford to take that chance for nearly $8 million. That money would be better spent on multiple relievers to help shore up the team's shaky bullpen.

[RELATED: A's stay or go candidate for 2020 season: Jake Diekman]

Between Treinen's on-field struggles and the injury concerns, Oakland would be better off seeking an offseason trade of its former All-Star closer. If the A's can't get a deal done, look for a non-tender.

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

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USATSI

Why Jake Diekman's command issues could mean A's move on in offseason

Editor's note: Over the next two weeks, we will examine 10 A's players who might or might not return to Oakland next season. For each player, we will provide reasons why the A's should bring him back and reasons why they should not, followed by a final determination.

Jake Diekman, LHP

Contract: $5.75 million mutual option for 2020 ($500,000 buyout)

Reasons to bring him back

Diekman's stuff is undeniable. The 32-year-old left-hander boasts a 96-mph fastball along with a wicked slider, making him a tricky at-bat for right-handed and left-handed hitters alike.

Despite a 1-7 record and 4.65 ERA this season, Diekman notched 84 strikeouts in just 62 innings. For his career, he has averaged 11.2 punchouts per nine innings.

Another reason to keep Diekman is Oakland's lack of left-handed relievers. Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk both figure to move to the starting rotation next year and Ryan Buchter's return is far from certain. As a result, Diekman could be the only southpaw in the A's bullpen.

Reasons to let him go

While Diekman's strikeout numbers were highly impressive, his lack of command became a major issue down the stretch. He walked 39 batters this season, including 16 in 20 1/3 innings with the A's.

That contributed significantly to Diekman's disappointing 1.42 WHIP and 4.65 ERA. For $5.75 million, you'd have to think the A's would want someone more consistent and reliable in the late innings.

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Final verdict

Oakland is unlikely to bring Diekman back next season for a couple of reasons. Far too often, he just doesn't know where his pitches are going. Throughout his career, Diekman has averaged five walks per nine innings. That's a serious problem for a setup man.

The other factor is Diekman's $5.75 million price tag. That is a high figure for any non-closer, but particularly worrisome for a setup man who has proven to be inconsistent.

The A's would probably be wise to spend that money elsewhere.