Closer Blake Treinen won his arbitration case against the Oakland A’s, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan (via Twitter). Treinen, represented by Sosnick, Cobbe, and Karon, is now slated to make $6.4MM for the 2019 season, with one more season of arbitration eligibility remaining in 2020. The A’s had submitted a bid of $5.6MM.
This is a notable victory for players, as Treinen sets a new record for year-over-year increase in salary for a second-time arb-eligible reliever, a raise of 4.25MM on his 2018 salary. The largest previous increase had been the $3.575MM raise Greg Holland received in his heyday with the Royals. Of course, the Athletics were winners here too, beneficiaries of a significant jump in production from Treinen this season, as their closer recorded 11.2 K/9 en route to his first All-Star appearance, a 6th place finish in Cy Young voting, and a 15th place finish in MVP voting.
Treinen, 30, came to Oakland after a disappointing start to the 2017 season left him sporting a 5.73 ERA in July, struggling to get swings and misses with only 7.6 K/9. The Nationals were counting on him to be a key cog in their late-inning bullpen rotation that year, expecting a big year after he established himself with 73 appearances and a 2.28 ERA the year before. Given the opportunity to reset their bullpen in one fell swoop, the Nats sent Treinen and two minor leaguers (more on them later) to Oakland for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. The deal panned out for Washington, as the duo stabilized the pen en route to an NL East title. Doolittle ably stepped into the closer’s role, affirming himself as both a production and personality fixture in Washington.
The A’s didn’t do so bad on their side of the deal either, as Treinen put together a massively successful 2018 campaign as the A’s closer: 38 saves, 9 wins, and 0.78 ERA. The minor leaguers in the deal look like good gets as well. Southpaw Jesus Luzardo has a real chance at acedom, coming into 2019 as Baseball America’s 7th ranked prospect overall (subscription link). Sheldon Neuse, the other prospect in the deal, lands as the A’s 9th ranked prospect, per BA, as he looks to build upon his first full season in Triple A, where he hit .263/.304/.357 as a 23-year-old.
Notably, in the other arbitration case settled thus far, the Washington Nationals defeated spare outfielder Michael A. Taylor, who will make $3.25MM in 2019 after submitting a bid of $3.5MM.