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Washington Nationals officially name Blake Treinen closer

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It took a while, and Dusty Baker got frustrated with everyone asking, but the Washington Nationals finally named their closer for 2017: Blake Treinen.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

While reports last week suggested that hard-throwing 23-year-old reliever Koda Glover was the frontrunner for the Washington Nationals’ open closer job, Dusty Baker announced this morning that the Nats will actually turn to 28-year-old sinker-balling right-hander Blake Treinen.

Baker told reporters earlier this week that there was an ongoing debate in the Nationals’ front office as they tried to decide which reliever to turn to after trying and ultimately failing to land a high-end closer via free agency or trade this winter.

GM Mike Rizzo explained in an MLB Network Radio interview last week that the Nats decided to choose from among their in-house options early this winter after missing out on their top targets.

Treinen is coming off a 2016 campaign in which he posted a 2.28 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 31 walks (4.16 BB/9), 63 Ks (8.46 K/9) and a .220/.314/.333 line against in 67 innings.

Working with pitching coach Mike Maddux, the right-hander also managed to improve on his big weakness from previous seasons.

A year after left-handers put up a .336/.425/.509 line against him, Treinen held lefties to a .218/.348/.390 line in 2016.

Baker said early this winter that he was taking a cautious approach to deciding what role Treinen would fill in the ‘pen this year, though the righty was clearly in the running for the role.

“Is that fair to say that he’s a candidate for that situation or are we rushing him because you want to him evolve rather quickly?” Baker asked.

“You want to evolve and not destroy him. I’ve seen guys’ confidence get destroyed too, and so I’m going to call upon my past and what I’ve seen.”

What Baker and the Nationals saw this Spring, with Treinen tossing 4 23 scoreless, striking out eight and holding opposing hitters to a .063 AVG, apparently convinced them that Treinen was ready for the gig.