Following a 2015 season that was wiped out almost entirely by injury, Jerry Blevins rebounded in impressive fashion in 2016. The 33-year-old posted a 2.79 ERA, and though he was used primarily as a lefty specialist, he was effective against righties as well when given the chance, as he worked to a .182 average against by right-handed batters. Appearing in a career-high 73 games, Blevins also honed in on his command, with an impressive 11.1 K/9 and 3.5 K/BB. His frequent usage may have had an adverse effect though, as Blevins seemed to wear down a bit toward the end of the season with a 7.20 ERA over 10 appearances in September. At 33, Blevins is unlikely to find a new level to his game, but he should at least get steady work after re-signing with the Mets.
Blevins allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one in 0.2 innings of relief to get credited with the win in Monday's 4-3 victory over the Phillies. The veteran lefty specialist is enjoying a solid start to the season, with four of the seven outs he's recorded coming via strikeout. Blevins has yet to pitch a full inning in four appearances, but his role in the Mets' bullpen should still allow him to be a reliable source of holds while also picking up the occasional save or win.
Blevins walked the only batter he faced, Matt Carpenter, on four pitches during Saturday's Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals. The veteran reliever hasn't been particularly sharp this spring, posting a 5.68 ERA and 1.58 WHIP through 6.1 innings, but his 7:3 K:BB suggests bad luck and/or poor defense behind him may be somewhat to blame. Blevins is still expected to be the Mets' top situational lefty this season, a role which could allow him to approach or top last season's career high of 16 holds.
Blevins agreed to a contract with the Mets on Friday, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. The 33-year-old will return to the Mets, with whom he's spent the past two season, and presumably slot right back in as the team's top lefty out of the bullpen. Blevins totaled 42 innings across 73 appearances last season, posting 11.1 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 rates. He has held same-handed hitters to a .214/.266/.322 line in his 10-year major league career.
The Mets are willing to backload a two-year deal for Blevins, as the team is desperate for a reliable lefty reliever out of the pen, the NY Post reports. New York's financial flexibility this year has been reduced by their inability to deal Jay Bruce and his $13-million contract. In order to try and sign Blevins - who wants a contract similar to the three-years, $19 million Mike Dunn got from Miami - the Mets can pay more of the deal in year two of a contract when several salaries come off the books. Blevins went 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 73 appearances last season for the Mets and ironically was better against righties than lefties, but New York wants him for divisional matchups against Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Freddie Freeman to name a few. With J.P. Howell signing a one-year deal with Toronto, a potential landing spot is off the deal for Blevins, possibly making him more amenable to a two-year contract in the $12-million range.
Blevins is being targeted by the the Blue Jays, a team in desperate need for a left-handed specialist, Ben Nicolson-Smith of Sportsnet reports. Behind Aroldis Chapman and Brett Cecil, the long-time Jays' reliever who recently signed a deal with the Cardinals, Blevins is one of the top left-handed relievers available in a limited market. The 33-year-old missed nearly all of 2015 with a fractured forearm, but returned this past season with the Mets and posted some of the strongest numbers of his career. Over 73 appearances (42.0 IP), Blevins posted a 2.79 ERA with a career-best 11.1 K/9.
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