Lou Trivino

Why A's Lou Trivino feels bad for minor league players during MLB halt

Why A's Lou Trivino feels bad for minor league players during MLB halt

Editor's Note: NBC Sports California spoke with Lou Trivino on Friday, May 22, four days before the A's announced they would stop paying $400 weekly stipends to their minor league players for the remainder of the season, and other teams released players.

For reasons of sanity and economy, the return of Major League Baseball this summer is the primary focus of the league and the players' association.

But A’s reliever Lou Trivino also realizes the entire minor league ecosystem would suffer in a multitude of ways, potentially going dormant.

At this point, there are no imminent plans for 242 farm teams and its players across the continent.

“You feel bad for those guys,” Trivino said. “Especially the ones that need the development, that need the reps.”

Most big league players have the advantages of time and accessibility to personal training facilities. They can stay conditioned during shutdowns, without much setback.

But it’s not the same for everyone.

“Some of these minor league guys, they’ve been stuck inside all day and not maybe able to do stuff,” Trivino said. “That really hinders their ability to perform on the field next year.”

Another lesser-discussed aspect to keep an eye on is MLB’s annual amateur draft, which has been reduced from 40 rounds to five rounds.

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“You’re not going to see the 11th round guy like myself maybe make it,” Trivino said. “You’re not going to see the late-round guys potentially get that chance and that’s heartbreaking. I’m that guy.”

Trivino started his minor league career in 2013, appearing in 170 games as a starter and reliever at every level, until getting his first chance at the major leagues with Oakland in 2019.

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Why A's need to address bullpen this offseason, according to MLB.com


Why A's need to address bullpen this offseason, according to MLB.com

The A's bullpen relied on different faces in 2019, but it was once again strong. 

Liam Hendriks emerged as the team's closer, while one-time stalwarts Blake Treinen and Lou Trivino struggled to reach their 2018 heights. Still, the A's finished the season seventh in bullpen ERA (3.89), third in FIP (3.98) and fourth in WAR (6.9). In 2018, the A's ranked third, 11th and sixth in those respective categories. 

Oakland's relievers also led the majors in blown saves (30), and the group could be due for a lot of turnover in 2020. September call-ups Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk are headed to the rotation, while the A's will have to make decisions on Treinen, Jake Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit. Writing for MLB.com Friday, Will Leitch argued that the A's should embrace change in their bullpen this offseason.

"The A’s keep falling short in the AL Wild Card Game, but considering where the Astros are likely to be next year, that may be their ceiling again," Leitch wrote. "So more arms might be the answer for a team whose lineup looks to be terrific top to bottom in 2020."

Relievers like Aroldis Chapman, Will Smith and Kenley Jansen almost certainly will be out of the A's price range this winter, but there is a long list of free-agent options to re-tool their bullpen on the fly. Plus, the A's have intriguing pitching prospects in Daulton Jeffries, James Kaprielian and Grant Holmes who conceivably could follow in Luzardo and Puk's footsteps by making their big league debuts out of the 'pen.

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Given the rollercoaster nature of relief pitching, though, standing pat is an option. Now healthy, Treinen and Trivino seem like good candidates to bounce back in 2020, and regression to their respective career means would give manager Bob Melvin more options in the later innings. 

The A's surely would like more consistency from their bullpen in 2019, but the results weren't all that far off from the group that was Oakland's strength in 2018. A few tweaks might be just what the A's need for perception to match reality.

A's relievers Lou Trivino, Blake Treinen out for season with injuries


A's relievers Lou Trivino, Blake Treinen out for season with injuries

A's relievers Blake Treinen and Lou Trivino both will miss the rest of the season with injuries, Oakland manager Bob Melvin told reporters Tuesday night.

An MRI revealed a stress reaction in Treinen's back, while Trivino has a cracked rib after suffering a fall while he was away from the team.

"It's hard," Melvin said. "It's hard for everybody. We feel that. These guys are not only big on the field for us, but also in the clubhouse. But you know, over the course of the season, things have to be done a little bit differently and we were able to pick up the slack for what have been some injuries and tough years for both of those guys."

It's a rough ending to a brutal season for the right-handers, both of whom were tremendous last year. Treinen, 31, went 6-5 with a 4.91 ERA, the worst of his career, after making the All-Star Game last season and finishing with a 0.78 ERA in 80 1/3 innings.

Trivino, 27, has been even worse this season with a 4-6 record and 5.25 ERA. Last year as a rookie, he went 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA.

Fortunately, the A's have amassed some quality depth in the bullpen, with youngsters Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk, and J.B. Wendelken joining All-Star closer Liam Hendriks and the always-reliable Yusmeiro Petit. Oakland also recently moved starter Chris Bassitt to the pen, where he has been impressive through two scoreless outings -- striking out seven in four innings.

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As for Treinen and Trivino, the A's will have to hope that this year was an aberration and that both find a way to return to last season's form.

"My guess is they'll be back doing their thing again next year and healthy again," Melvin said. "They're both really talented guys."