Treinen was originally drafted by the A's back in 2011, though they traded him to the Nationals as part of the three-team Michael Morse deal with the Mariners in 2013. After parts of four seasons in Washington, Treinen was traded back to the A's in last summer's Sean Doolittle deal. Now he's back at Nationals Park for the All-Star Game. Got all that?
"It's funny," said Treinen with a smile Monday. "I had an opportunity to come back to DC this year. Just one year removed, back with the organization I was originally drafted by."
From 2014-16, Treinen was a reliable middle reliever with the Nationals, throwing 185 1/3 innings with a 2.91 ERA, The club gave him a chance to close at the start of 2017, though six innings and 11 baserunners into the season, Washington made a change at closer and Treinen found himself in the dog house.
Four months later, with his ERA sitting at 5.73, Treinen was traded back to the A's, and they installed him as their closer almost immediately.
"Having a team say, 'Hey, you're our guy, go get it,' I really appreciated that," Treinen said.
The trade is working out very well for both teams. Doolittle is an All-Star himself, and Ryan Madson has been a reliable setup man since the trade as well. Jesus Luzardo, who also went to Oakland in the trade, played in Sunday's Futures Game. And, of course, Treinen is an All-Star closer.
"I can't tell you exactly one reason why things are going better," said Treinen, who owns a 0.94 ERA in 2018 and a 1.47 ERA in 86 innings since the trade. "I think once you have a little success -- create success -- you just try to ride that even-keeled roller coaster all the way through."
Treinen's talent has always been obvious. He throws a heavy upper-90s sinker that dives out of the zone, and he's now manipulating the shape of his slider as well, so much so that it sometimes looks like a cutter. Hitting pitches like this is never easy:
Since getting to Oakland, Treinen has improved his preparation, and not just with the A's help. Treinen also has someone who amounts to an independent analyst to put together scouting reports as well.
"Our staff does really good job with scouting reports," he said. "I've also got a guy on the side who has some pretty good reports that he writes up for me. He's been a huge part of my success. I started using him when I got to Oakland. It gives me confidence in what I want to throw and where I want to throw it. That has been a huge help."
Getting to the All-Star Game was not easy. Treinen went from the A's to the Nationals, then back to the A's, and now he's back in Washington for the All-Star Game. Like most players, he's had his ups and downs, and he's rewarded Oakland's faith him in with a dominant All-Star caliber season.
"A lot of people don't get an opportunity to close," Treinen said. "I've gotten two and I'm really grateful."