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Dodgers: Blake Treinen Talks About Kenley Jansen and Closer’s Role in October

Get yourself a teammate like Blake Treinen.



For the most part, Dodgers fans have it great. Maybe like 99.9% great. A great team with great veterans and talented young budding stars have made LA once again a top team in baseball. But still, for fans, it won’t mean much of anything if Clayton Kershaw and co aren’t hoisting the World Series trophy at the end of October. Likely virtually.

The Dodgers have been close in two of the last three seasons. Each time the club has put much of the burden of success on the arms of Kershaw and closer Kenley Jansen. After an early October exit in 2019, the club went out and reloaded, bringing in some help for a shaky backend of the bullpen.

One key signing was that of former Cy Young contender Blake Treinen. Along with Treinen came the questions, is he here to take over for Kenley Jansen? How long of a leash does Kenley have? Should he be our closer? 

After a rough start to September, the outside chatter got awful loud once again.

As the Kenley questions resurfaced, so did the questions to Treinen who was asked about the potential of picking up innings in the 9th in the postseason. Or even potentially flat out taking Kenley’s job. With that, he had some thoughts in defense of Jansen.

With Kenley, you don’t just luck in to Reliever of the Month like he did to start the season. It’s because he’s having a good year. I mean, he’s had, what, two outings that maybe he isn’t happy about … all the way through we have our ups and downs.

People… I think society in general, we’re all just so focused on the negatives. It’s kind of like we’re addicted to negative attention or negative news and all this stuff right now and just in general, I think ‘outside noise’, people expect you to be perfect. They see maybe salaries attached to performances, but none of us in any job that we do is a hundred percent perfect and talking about competing against the best in the world right here… his stuff plays his stuff’s good. … He’s been doing it for 10 years.

Surely you know the numbers by now. For his career, Kenley Jansen owns 312 saves (24th on MLB’s all-time list). His 2.39 ERA is just a bit above the all-time saves leader, Yankees great Mariano Rivera (2.21, 19 seasons). But the last few campaigns haven’t been as friendly for the Dodgers closer.

Since 2018, the ERA has jumped to 3.35. He’s blown 14 saves after blowing just 26 over the first 8 seasons of his career. As we’ve seen with Kenley, the pressure of it does get to him. He feels the pain of letting his teammates and the fans down. And trust that it’s not because he wants to.

Dropping Knowledge

So if Blake Treinen isn’t here to steal the 9th inning from Jansen — something he’s repeated throughout 2020, the wonder is what else could he ofter him?

What can I bring to the table to him? I was a closer for a year and a half, two tops. I can’t really bring a ton of the table. Maybe just like a ‘hey, let’s get our mind off the game a little then just talk about life.’ Kenley’s a good dude. He’s got a level head on his shoulders and he knows how to approach the game or else he wouldn’t have been doing it for as long as he has. I know we’re very blessed to have him and this team doesn’t move forward without him.

Treinen continued his praise of Kenley while reestablishing and important fact.

So the outside noise can say what they want. But you know with all due respect. I mean the people that know the game best are the ones here playing and we’ve been around we’ve seen the ups and downs and I respect fans opinions because they’re the ones that you know, the ones that make this game worth playing and they have the right to have their opinions. But I bet when he closes the World Series, people are going to be saying he’s the greatest closer in Dodger history or whatever. Let’s just throw it out there, he’s one of the greatest of all time.

Seems like these bullpenmates have built up quite the relationship in this short season. And it’s paramount that we note that Blake Treinen is 100% right.

NEXT: Dave Roberts Unsure How Long Joc Pederson Will Remain With the Team

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. I respect Jansen, he’s a great player but a question that comes to mind when he doesn’t his greatest is while he’s warming up in the bullpen does he use all his pitches? Because a couple of games he looked like all he wanted to throw was the fastball. Guys time pitches especially the fastball.

  2. Treinen is saying the right things and being respectful. But I’m not being negative by saying that Jansen isn’t the shutdown closer he used to be. I’m being a realist. You don’t hand the ball to a pitcher based on historical performance. You do it based on present reality. Treinen is the most likely candidate for closer based on conventional wisdom, experience, and current performance. But I continue to prefer Gonsolin for the closer role in the postseason, because a 4 starter may not get shots in the postseason format. Gonsolin is too good to just sit on the bench. He strikes people out. He keeps them off the bases. It wouldn’t be a conventional move to close with Gonsolin. But it’s time to be a little unconventional, and actually win a world series, instead of just showing up. Gatorade should be groomed for the closer spot for next season. He needs to work on an effective 2 pitch to go with the heater. None of this is disrespect for Jansen. He is one of the Dodger all time greats. But time catches up to everyone. And things move on. The best way to show respect for everyone in the Dodger organization is to win a world series. You have to put your best available people in each game to do that.

  3. The old ‘lights out’ Jansen is gone like the sweet bird of youth. The current Jansen is hit or miss. Treinen may be a better option at this point, but Victor Gonzalez has looked as good as any of them.

  4. This with all respect I wonder Two seasons ago Kenley Jansen was blaming catchers when his performance was bad. Those catchers were traded I guess to please him. What is his excuse today ?

    • That will never happen, because based on based post seasons, their offense pretty much doesn’t show up…strikeouts increase. Hopefully they prove us wrong this year.

  5. I agree with all of you, guys.
    Every time Jansen comes in to close a game we the fans just say a prayer because he’s not the same closer he was in years past.
    It’s time for management and Roberts consider another closer, either Treinen, Graterol or Gonsolin.
    Time waits for no one and Jansen is not as reliable as he was in the past. WAKE UP, ROBERTS!!!

  6. Previous commenters have mentioned Gonsolin as closer. To me, he should be starter 3. May is middle relief, Treinen closer. DR, take note.

  7. Roberts has used Kenley in 3 games in 2020 in extra innings. His ERA is 6.00 in those games. His numbers are pretty good otherwise. I think it would be a bad idea to use him in the playoffs in extra innings. He will have problems starting the inning with a baserunner on second base.

    I would like to go on record against continuing that rule. A pitcher can pitch a perfect game, go into extra innings, then The Rule puts a runner on second, two groundouts and you lose the game. But you pitched a perfect game. You never allowed a runner to reach first base.

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