Trade to land Cy hopeful Treinen will be remembered as 1 of Billy’s all-time heists

A’s closer angling to become 1st reliever to win honor since 2003

Karl Buscheck
September 25, 2018 - 1:33 pm

A little over 14 months ago, Billy Beane blew up the Oakland A’s bullpen, jettisoning Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to the Washington Nationals.

Fast forward to the present and it’s clear this wasn’t just a salary dump for the then-rebuilding A’s. This was one of the executive VP’s all-time heists.

Madson, who turned 38 in August, has since moved on to the Dodgers, posting a 5.68 ERA in his two stops in 2018.

Doolittle, admittedly, has been nasty — when available, which has always been his problem. The left-hander has a 1.62 ERA and 25 saves in 26 chances, but a big toe injury left him stranded on the disabled list for two months.

Doolittle’s numbers are nice, but can’t compare to the stat line Treinen has posted. Treinen has 37 saves in 41 tries. He owns a 0.80 ERA. Put in different terms, the closer has surrendered seven earned runs in six months.

He has a remarkable knack for inducing swings-and-misses, piling up 97 strikeouts in 78.1 innings.

Treinen’s compiled the kind of résumé that could make him the first reliever to win a Cy Young Award since Eric Gagne did back in 2003.

The field is fierce.

ESPN’s Cy Young Predictor places Treinen squarely in the running, behind only Corey Kluber and Blake Snell.

Treinen’s positioned to put up Cy-ish performances in the green and gold for the foreseeable future. The reliever is pitching on a $2.1 million salary this season and remains under club control for 2019 and 2020.

Treinen isn’t the only piece the A’s picked up in the swap with the Nats. Beane also plucked a pair of high-upside lottery tickets in Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo.

Neuse, a 2016 second-round selection and current Triple-A infielder, is the team’s No. 10 prospect, per MLB.com.

Luzardo, who pitched his way from High-A to the highest rung of the organizational ladder this summer, is Oakland’s No. 1 farmhand. The 20-year-old left-hander is on track to break into the big league rotation next spring.

With a 2.88 ERA and 129 Ks in 109.1 minor league innings in three 2018 stops, it’s easy to dream about a front-of-the-rotation future for the promising starter.

For Treinen’s part, the idea of snagging the Cy has crossed his mind.

"To say that I haven't thought about it, that'd be kind of a lie," Treinen told ESPN’s Eddie Matz. "But I don't put a lot of stock in it."

History shows that Treinen is smart not to get his hopes up. History will also show that this will go down as one of Beane’s savviest moves in a career full of them.

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