ORLANDO - One of the biggest needs for the Washington Nationals heading to the Winter Meetings was finding a left-handed reliever. Mission accomplished, as they've landed lefty Jerry Blevins from the Oakland Athletics, per multiple reports (Jeff Passan). The return for the A's? Minor-league speedster Billy Burns.
Blevins, 30, was 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 52 strikeouts and 17 walks in 60 innings pitched last season for the AL West champs. He stranded 64 percent of the runners he inherited and is far from a lefty specialist, as he was actually better against righties (.190/.267/.314) than lefties (.253/.299/.402) last season.
Burns is a 24-year-old outfielder who spent time between High-A (91 games) and Double-A (30 games) last season. He hit .315/.425/.383 with 12 doubles, nine triples and zero homers. His offensive game is getting on base and then running, though, as he stole 74 bases in 81 attempts while scoring 95 runs. He also walked more times (72) than he struck out (54).
Obviously Burns needs to progress through the minors and Blevins needs to perform well for the Nationals, but this feels like a mutually beneficial trade -- given the Nationals outfield depth and the A's bullpen depth.